Over 6,000 family, friends and fans assembled on Chicago's South Side Saturday to give a fair well bid to actor and comedian Bernie Mac. His comrade, Cedric the Entertainer, kept Mac's laughter a live by jokingly saying the comedy king was "still the hottest ticket in town." The service was held at the House of Hope megachurch to say goodbye to one of Chicago's unforgotten. Mayor Richard Daley recalled that Mac was in his office recently, asking how he could help fight violent crime in the city. "He wanted to help get children away from a life of crime and violence," Daley said during the service. "That's why he's the king of comedy. He never lost his soul in Chicago." Mac died Aug. 9 at age 50 of what his publicist said were complications from pneumonia. He had been at Chicago's Northwestern Memorial Hospital since the middle of July.
According to the director of Bernie Mac's last film "Soul Men," the actor had quite the singing voice, which fans will be able to hear for the first time in the film. Soul Men, also starring Samuel L. Jackson and Issac Hayes is slated for release later this year. The movie's director Malcolm D. Lee says "He definitely can carry a tune. He does a great falsetto in the movie, and a baritone and alto as well. He has a range. He plays a range of emotions in the film as well as octaves." According to E!, Mac and Samuel L. Jackson star as soul singers who agree to reunite and perform at a tribute for their recently deceased band leader after being estranged for a couple of decades. "They do their own singing and their own dancing in the film," says Lee. "You get the opportunity to see both of these guys go for it in a real way that's fun and energetic." Lee last spoke to Mac on the final day of shooting in April. "When I went to shake his hand and tell him how much I loved him and what a great job he did, he hugged me back and looked me in the eye and said, 'Make a great film, man,' " Lee remembered. "I promised him that I would." Lee also has special memories of Isaac Hayes. The music legend plays himself in Soul Men. "He was written into the script as himself," Lee said. "When I came on, they asked, 'Do you want him in the movie?' and I was like, 'Of course.' Not to include him in the movie would have been sacrilege. I had to have Isaac in the film."
Actor and comedian Bernie Mac, know best for the Bernie Mac show, reportedly died this morning at age 50. According to his publicist Danica Smith, passed away from complications due to pneumonia in a Chicago area hospital. She said no other details were available and asked that his family's privacy be respected. 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. Mac worked his way to Hollywood success from an impoverished upbringing on Chicago's South Side. He began doing standup as a child, and his film career started with a small role as a club doorman in the Damon Wayans comedy "Mo' Money" in 1992. In 1996, he appeared in the Spike Lee drama "Get on the Bus." He was one of "The Original Kings of Comedy" in the 2000 documentary of that title that brought a new generation of black standup comedy stars to a wider audience. "The majority of his core fan base will remember that when they paid their money to see Bernie Mac ... he gave them their money's worth," Steve Harvey, one of his costars in "Original Kings," told CNN on Saturday. Mac also had starring roles in "Ocean's Eleven," "Bad Santa," "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle" and "Transformers." Mac will definitely be missed.