Really? Bernie Mac?

In happier times, obviouslySurprising news: Bernie Mac has died in a Chicago hospital, of complications due to pneumonia. He was just fifty years old.

I met him on the junket for Chris Rock’s “Head of State”, about five years ago; he was a big, blustery and very entertaining man, and I remember wishing the film had done more with his talent. You could say the same thing about the “Ocean’s Eleven” films, too, I guess; Mac was hard to fit into conventional narratives.

He needed a format that could breathe with him, like the fourth-wall-breaking conceit of his eponymous sitcom. Or stand-up; he was always a killer stand-up. And I have to admit that he was a good fit for the racially-flipped remake of “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”, opposite Ashton Kutcher; the movie wasn’t particularly good, but their chemistry was surprising.

This is sad. Mac always seemed on the verge of breaking bigger, and now the last thing we have to remember him by is a walk-on in “Transformers”.

I’m sure he was paid well for his time, but it still doesn’t seem fair at all.