Sunday, August 10, 2008

R.I.P. Bernie Mac

Comedian Bernie Mac died at Northwestern Memorial hospital early Saturday morning, according to Sun-Times Columnist, Stella Foster. He was 50.

Though the cause of death has not been confirmed, Mac had been hospitalized recently for pneumonia. Foster said that she received calls early Saturday morning from a close friend of the Mac family, confirming the reports of Mac's death.

Comedian Bernie Mac, whose career began in Chicago's comedy clubs, died at Northwestern Memorial hospital early Saturday morning, according to Sun-Times columnist Stella Foster. He was 50.

The columnist also said she was deeply saddened to receive such a phone call just an hour after Mac was pronounced dead. "It brought tears to my eyes because Bernie Mac has always been my all-time favorite entertainer and comedian. It pains me to have to report that," Foster said during a phone interview on Saturday morning.

On Friday, a spokeswoman for the actor, whose real name is, Bernard McCullough, said that he had been responding well to treatment for the illness. Publicist Danica Smith said Thursday in a statement that Mac's condition is ''stable.'' Smith first announced on August 1st that Mac was hospitalized in Chicago. Smith has said the pneumonia isn't related to an inflammatory lung disease Mac also has. That condition has been in remission since 2005.

Foster noted that last weekend, several web sites reported wrongly that the comedian died. Mac made waves last month with off-color jokes during a fundraiser for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

The comedian starred in the critically acclaimed Fox television series ''The Bernie Mac Show.'' His film credits include roles in the ''Ocean's Eleven'' franchise. Foster says she was remembers Bernie's comedic beginnings through his show, "Midnight Mac," which aired for four shows on HBO and was taped in Chicago in 1995.

"It was a variety entertainment show," she said, "He even had dancers called Macaroni's. That was my first exposure to how talented Bernie Mac was. And after that show, that's when Hollywood started beating down his door."

The actor's upcoming movies include "Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa" starring Ben Stiller, Chris Rock and David Schwimmer; and "Soul Men" with Samuel L. Jackson and Isaac Hayes.

There is no word on whether public services will be held.

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