The comedian and actor died this morning from complications due to pneumonia. He was 50.
The comic born Bernard Jeffrey McCullough could cut an imposing figure. He stood 6-foot-3, was built like a fullback and carried himself with a bouncer’s reticence. But perhaps the strongest weapon in the Chicago comedian’s arsenal was that voice, that amalgam of thought and a delivery that could rise like a tidal wave, outpace a Gatling gun and remained, to his last days, loud and unapologetic.
He wasn’t scared, he told us time and again, to tell anyone what he thought, to say what others were afraid to say. That fearlessness wasn’t always welcome, considering Mac didn’t get his big break until his 30s. But when he did, the comic skyrocketed to success in stand-up, television and the big screen.
Bernie was among my favorite comedians. In addition to his tell-it-like-it-is style, he was down-to-earth and a class act off-screen and off-stage. He will be missed by many a fan.
Update (8/11): Although he was a proud, lifelong Democrat, Bernie once quipped, “I’m a Republican at tax time.” Good one!