Chicago Street Dedicated to Chicago Funny Man

February 28, 2012

A stretch of Chicago real estate has been renamed after a famous Chicago comedian.

Years after his tragic passing, Bernie Mac got the street where he grew up named after him on Tuesday.

A stretch of West 69th Street in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood has been renamed Bernie Mac Street. A dedication ceremony was held at 69th and Sangamon streets, just steps from his boyhood home.

“I hope that this street naming is a beacon of light in this community, that when you look at that street name you realize that you can do whatever you want to do,” said Mac’s daughter, Je’Niece McCullough, at Tuesday’s dedication.

Mac was born Bernard Jeffrey McCullough on October 5, 1957 in Chicago and was raised on the South Side.

According to his website, “Bernard or ‘Beanie,’ as he was affectionately named, grew up in the gang-ridden Englewood Community of Chicago. Always being a leader and not a follower, however, he gained the respect of most of the gang members without ever joining. He was forever the clown and always known for making people laugh.”

He attended Chicago Vocational High School, where he met wife, Rhonda Gore. He worked many jobs while launching his comedic career in Chicago, and he performed stand-up comedy at clubs around the South Side, including the Cotton Club and the Regal Theater.

Mac went on to have a successful television career and was the star of the Bernie Mac Show, for which he received multiple honors, including four NAACP Image Awards and two Emmy nominations for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series.

His character, “Uncle Bernie,” was ranked at #47 in TV Guide’s list of the “50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time.”

He also appeared in several movies.

Mac was very influential in the Chicago Public School system and other local youth organizations, as he gave back to the city where he lived his life.

Bernie Mac died of complications from pneumonia on August 9, 2008 at Northwestern Memorial Hospital after an ongoing battle with sarcoidosis. He was only 50 years old.

But he will live forever in Chicago on Bernie Mac Street.

For more information on Bernie Mac and his foundation, which is dedicated to improving care for sarcoidosis patients and to finding a cure for this auto-immune disease, visit berniemacfoundation.org.

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