Bernie Mac, the tough-talking, controversial, big teddy bear of a comedian died Saturday at a hospital due to complications from pneumonia. Mac had a rough childhood growing up on the South Side of Chicago, but rose to prominence doing standup, ultimately shining in television (The Bernie Mac Show, in which he played a grumpy dad who often directly addressed the viewer) and starring in movies (Ocean's 11, Charlie's Angel's, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner). The anti-Bill Cosby, Mac was a straight talker whose salty talk and bawdy topics got him into trouble just as recently as the past month during a fund-raiser for Barack Obama. And, like many people of color doing comedy, the question of race and audience were a dilemma. About The Bernie Mac show, he said in an AP interview in 2001, "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?'" As the above clip shows, Mac wasn't afraid to show that he wasn't perfect, but did his best. Rest in peace, Bernie!
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