Bernie Mac’s colleagues and co-stars were quick to pay tribute to the late comedian and actor after his death at age 50 from complications of pneumonia early Saturday .
“Today and tomorrow will never be as funny as yesterday, without Bernie Mac, a true original,” Ice Cube, who directed Mac in his first significant movie role as Pastor Clever in 1995’s “Friday,” told MTV News.
Mac’s “Ocean’s Eleven,” “Twelve” and “Thirteen” co-star George Clooney echoed Ice Cube’s lament. “The world just got a little less funny,” he said in a statement to “Entertainment Tonight.” “He will be dearly missed.”
Fellow “Ocean’s” co-star Brad Pitt added in a statement to E! Online: “I lament the loss of a ferociously funny and hard-core family man. My thoughts are with [his wife], Rhonda, and their family. Bernie Mac, you are already missed.”
Chris Rock, who worked with Mac in “Head of State,” called him “one of the best and funniest comedians to ever live, but that was the second-best thing he did. Bernie was one of the greatest friends a person could have,” he told E!. “Losing him is like losing 12 people, because he absolutely filled up any room he was in. I’m gonna miss the Mac Man.”
Later this fall, Mac will be seen in “Soul Men” opposite Samuel L. Jackson, but in a statement to People, Jackson emphasized the actor’s personal qualities. “He was also an attentive husband, a great father and loving grandfather,” Jackson said. “I feel blessed to have shared years of friendship with Bernie Mac, and I’m honored to have finally co-starred with him in what I consider to be his finest cinematic acting achievement.”
Cedric the Entertainer — who appeared with Mac on “The Original Kings of Comedy” tour, which was made into a movie and a Grammy-nominated album in 2001 — called Mac “a brother, a friend and one of the comic masters of our time. Sharing the marquee with him during the phenomenon of the ’Kings of Comedy’ tour bonded us like family, and created a unique moment in comic history, marking some of the most meaningful, memorable and fun times of our lives,” Cedric told E!. “His comedic approach was his own brand and will definitely stand the test of time. The level of his talent always inspired me, and other comedians, to ’bring their A-game.’ I promise you that you never wanted to be the guy who had to follow Bernie’s set!”
Niecy Nash, who played Mac’s little sister on his Emmy-winning Fox sitcom “The Bernie Mac Show” from 2001-2006, told Us, “Bernie Mac was the personification of the word ’real.’ He kept it real,” she said. “That kind of genuine spirit that he carried all time cannot be easily duplicated, but I will do my very best to try.”
Mac is survived by his wife, Rhonda McCullough, their daughter, Je’Niece, a son-in-law and a granddaughter. According to People, his funeral is scheduled for this Friday at an undisclosed location, and the family requests that donations be made to the Bernie Mac Foundation for Sarcoidosis, 40 E. Ninth St., Suite 601, Chicago, Illinois, 60605.