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This Day in History: October 5th

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Five Things To Know About The Great Bernie Mac

Actor and comedian Bernie Mac grew up in a large family on the south side of Chicago. Bernard Jeffrey McCullough was born on October 5, 1957, and went on to become one of “The Original Kings of Comedy.”

Here are five things to know about the late Bernie Mac!

  1. Bernie Mac Recognized The Importance Of Laughter. Mac made people laugh even as a child. However, after losing his mother and several other relatives not long after, Mac began to realize the healing power of laughter. He began telling jokes as a side hustle, eventually establishing his own weekly variety show at Chicago’s Regal Theatre. Mac joined the comedy club circuit during the late 1970s. 
  1. Battled With Sarcoidosis. The vibrant comedian battled with Sarcoidosis for years. Sarcoidosis is an inflammatory disease with no known or specific cause. In the United States, it is most commonly found in African Americans and people of Scandinavian descent. Most studies suggest that women are at a higher risk. The disease impacts each person differently, but symptoms can include shortness of breath, persistent cough, red bumps on the face, arms, or shins, and inflamed eyes.
  1. Created The Bernie Mac Foundation. Mac believed that he could make a difference in helping to find a cure for sarcoidosis. In 2007 he created the Bernie Mac Foundation with the help of his wife Rhonda. He wanted to use his influence to be a resource as well as start a community for people diagnosed with sarcoidosis. 
  1. Peabody Award Winner. In 2001, Bernie Mac became a Peabody Award winner for his hit sitcom, The Bernie Mac Show. His show resonated with viewers as he addressed issues of family and parenting in a comedic manner. The Bernie Mac Show won the Peabody Award for its sociological insights on family, race and discipline.
  1. Bernie Mac Was A Published Author. Outside of being an actor, comedian and family man, Bernie Mac was also a published author. In 2001 he published, I Ain’t Scared of You: Bernie Mac on How Life Is, which explores the comedian’s thoughts on topics ranging from hygiene to religion. He went on to publish his memoir, Maybe You Never Cry Again, in 2003. 

Over the course of his career, Bernie Mac won multiple Image Awards from the NAACP and several Emmy and Golden Globe nominations. On August 9, 2008, Mac died of pneumonia, and more than 6,000 people attended his memorial service. 

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