August 9th, 2008 18:46 EST
Bernie Mac dies at the age of 50
It is a sad day in Hollywood, as Bernie Mac passed away earlier today from complications due to pneumonia at the age of 50. The comedian-actor was suffering from sarcoidosis, an inflammatory lung disease that produces small lumps of cells in the body`s organs. However, Mac stated in 2005 that he has been in remission, and recently checked himself to a Chicago-area hospital for treatment of pneumonia which, according to publicist Danica Smith, wasn`t connected to the disease.
The Mac was known as one of The Kings of Comedy with Steve Harvey, Cedric "The Entertainer", and D.L. Hughley. He was also part of the modern-day Rat Pack with George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, and Don Cheadle in the Ocean film series. Bernie also starred with Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu, and Cameron Diaz in 2003`s Charlie`s Angels: Full Throttle.
"This is a very sad day for many of us who knew and loved Bernie" Cheadle responds. "He brought so much joy to many. He will be missed, but Heaven just got funnier."
But television is where the Mac really attacked, with a recurring role in the UPN Brandy sitcom Moesha, and having his own self-titled series on FOX. The Bernie Mac Show is loosely based on his life, about a comedian and his wife taking in his sister`s three children, airing from 2001 to 2006. His character was also named by TV Guide in a 2004 issue as one of "The 50 Greatest TV Dads".
Mac received both two Golden Globe and Emmy nominations, won three NAACP Awards and a Peabody Award for the show.
On his sitcom, Bernie was always talking to the viewers at home -- breaking the "fourth wall" -- about the trials and tribulations of parenting. Like his onscreen character, the Mac was "the king of his household", according to daughter Je`niece Childress` statement to the Associated Press.
"But television handcuffs you, man" he said in a 2001 interview with AP before his show`s debut. "Now everyone telling me what I CAN`T do, what I CAN say, what I SHOULD do, and asking `Are blacks gonna be mad at you? Are whites gonna accept you? `"
Known for a mixture of style, authority, and a touch of self-aware, Mac always tried to connect with his audience while getting them to laugh. But not without controversy, such as his 10-minute routine at Barack Obama`s fundraiser last month, when he talked about infidelity and sexual promiscuity with occasional foul language. Obama`s campaign sent a letter, stating that what Bernie said was "inappropriate".
Bernie Mac is survived by his wife Rhonda McCullough, their daughter Je`niece, and granddaughter Jasmine.
"The majority of his core fan base", said Kings co-star Harvey, "will remember that when they paid their money to see Bernie Mac ... he gave them their money`s worth."
Source: Yahoo! News