Bernie Mac was born in Chicago in 1957, Bernard Jeffrey McCollough. He grew up in Chicago, in a rougher neighborhood than most others, with a large family living under one roof. This situation provided him with a great insight into his comedy, as his family, and the situations surrounding them would be what dominated his comedy. Mac worked in the Regal Theater, and performed in Chicago parks in his younger days. He became a professional comedian in 1977, at the age of 19. He refused to change his image for television and films, and therefore was not very well known for most of the eighties. In 1992 he made his film debut with a small part with Mo' Money (1992). This started a string of small parts in a string of movies, mostly comedies, including Who's the Man? (1993), House Party 3 (1994) and The Walking Dead (1995). 1995 proved to be a turning point in his career. He did an HBO Special called "Midnight Mac" (1995), and took a part as Pastor Clever in the Chris Tucker comedy Friday (1995). Bernie Mac developed a cult following due to the movie and had many small parts since. In 1996 he starred in the memorable Spike Lee movie Get on the Bus (1996), and was very funny in Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood (1996). About this time he had a recurring role in the TV series "Moesha" (1996). Bernie Mac's star was slowly rising from this point. His next couple of movie parts were more substantial, including How to Be a Player (1997) and The Players Club (1998). In 19 Bernie Mac got his most high profile part up to that point in the film Life (19/I) starring Eddie Murphy.
The new century started a new era for the brash Chicago comedian. He was a featured comedian in The Original Kings of Comedy (20). This performance made him more of a household name, and led to many more major parts. In 2001 he played Martin Lawrence's uncle in What's the Worst That Could Happen? (2001) and later that year, was in the star studded remake of Ocean's Eleven (2001). However his biggest success to this date has been "The Bernie Mac Show" (2001), which debuted in 2001 to instant acclaim.
Bernie Mac is a comedian that refused to change his image for Hollywood and says that his life in Chicago is who he is and there is nothing that will change that. While success was a long time coming, he is now a household name. He is a mature comedian who is very intelligent, very engaging in his TV, movie and stand-up appearances.