Breaking: Actor/Comedian Bernie Mac dead at 50

Sad news this morning:

Bernie Mac blended style, authority and a touch of self-aware bluster to make audiences laugh as well as connect with him. For Mac, who died Saturday at age 50, it was a winning mix, delivering him from a poor childhood to stardom as a standup comedian, in films including the casino heist caper “Ocean’s Eleven” and his acclaimed sitcom “The Bernie Mac Show.”

Though his comedy drew on tough experiences as a black man, he had mainstream appeal — befitting inspiration he found in a wide range of humorists: Harpo Marx as well as Moms Mabley; squeaky-clean Red Skelton, but also the raw Redd Foxx.

Mac died Saturday morning from complications due to pneumonia in a Chicago area hospital, his publicist, Danica Smith, said in a statement from Los Angeles. She said no other details were available.

“The world just got a little less funny,” said “Oceans” co-star George Clooney.

Don Cheadle, another member of the “Oceans” gang, concurred: “This is a very sad day for many of us who knew and loved Bernie. He brought so much joy to so many. He will be missed, but heaven just got funnier.”

“This is a very sad day for many of us who knew and loved Bernie,” said Don Cheadle, a member of the “Oceans” gang. “He brought so much joy to so many. He will be missed but heaven just got funnier.”

Mac suffered from sarcoidosis, an inflammatory lung disease that produces tiny lumps of cells in the body’s organs, but had said the condition went into remission in 2005. He recently was hospitalized and treated for pneumonia, which his publicist said was not related to the disease.
Bernie Mac was a rarity in Hollywood, having signed an anti-terror petition (rather than wanting to cuddle with dictators and terrorists), a proud gun owner (rather than wanting the entire world to be at the mercy of criminals with no problems using guns), and thought there was too much skin and sex in movies today (rather than thinking the more shameless nudity you could use, the better). He wasn’t your typical celebrity. He didn’t toe the Hollywood line, he wasn’t a mindless liberal Hollywood zombie, was himself 100% of the time, and was unafraid to express unconventional opinions. He was a great actor, a hilarious comedian, and his death is a great loss.

Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers. In the meantime, here’s a clip from The Bernie Mac Show, for which he won four Emmys and was nominated for many more.

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