I’m getting a lot of e-mail on the sudden death of comedian Bernie Mac, who passed away today at 50 from pneumonia, as well as comments in the other threads. Mac suffered from a chronic lung condition, but apparently the pneumonia wasn’t related to the sarcoidosis:
Bernie Mac, the Emmy and Golden Globe nominated actor and comedian who worked his way to Hollywood success from an impoverished upbringing on Chicago’s South Side, died Saturday at age 50.
“Actor/comedian Bernie Mac passed away this morning from complications due to pneumonia in a Chicago area hospital,” his publicist, Danica Smith, said in a statement from Los Angeles. ….
The comedian 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.
Recently, Mac’s brand of comedy caught him flack when he was heckled during a surprise appearance at a July fundraiser for Democratic presidential candidate and fellow Chicagoan Barack Obama.
I wrote about that incident four weeks ago, and noted that the Obama campaign should have thought better of inviting Mac to speak if they were going to get nervous about content. Mac was a terrific comedian, and his genre was well known to millions. Inviting Mac would have been the same as inviting Redd Foxx in another generation — guaranteed laughs, but with a repertoire that doesn’t exactly overlap Sinbad’s.
Not having followed Mac closely, I mostly know him from his movie appearances and television shows, with an occasional stand-up appearance on cable shows. He had talent, personality, and a cutting perspective, and he left us far too soon.