Archive for the ‘Comedians’ Category

Damon Kyle Wayans, Comedian and Actor   Leave a comment


Damon Kyle Wayans

Damon Kyle Wayans ( /ˈdeɪmən ˈweɪ.ənz/;[1] born September 4, 1960) is an American stand-up comedian, writer and actor, one of the Wayans family.

Early lifeWayans was born in New York City, New York, the son of Elvira, a homemaker and social worker, and Howell Wayans, a supermarket manager.[2][3][4] He has five sisters, Elvira, Vonnie, Nadia, Kim, Diedre, and four brothers, actors Marlon Wayans, Keenen Ivory Wayans, Shawn Wayans, and Dwayne Wayans. He had a clubbed foot as a child. This attribute would also be given to his character in My Wife & Kids and his character on the cartoon series Waynehead. Wayans attended Murry Bergtraum High School.[5]

[edit] CareerDamon started doing stand-up comedy in 1982. His earliest film appearance was a brief cameo as an effeminate hotel employee in the 1984 Eddie Murphy film Beverly Hills Cop. He was briefly on Saturday Night Live as a featured performer, before getting fired for playing his character as a flamboyant gay cop instead of a straight cop. He went against the script during the live performance. In the SNL book Live From New York, it was stated that Wayans did this largely due to growing frustrations that his sketches were not being considered for the show and increasing stress. He also appeared in the syndicated TV series Solid Gold during the 1980s as a stand-up comedian. After that, he went on to co-create and appear in the TV-show In Living Color from 1990 to 1992, part of a team that was nominated for Emmy Awards all three years.

After In Living Color, he starred in films such as The Last Boy Scout, Major Payne and The Great White Hype and wrote and starred in the film Blankman. He also appeared in Janet Jackson’s video “The Best Things in Life Are Free” and was considered for the role of The Riddler in Batman Forever (the role went to Jim Carrey, his co-star from In Living Color and Earth Girls Are Easy).

In 1996, he produced Waynehead, a cartoon for the WB, loosely based on his own childhood growing up in a large family, starring a poor boy with a club foot. The show only lasted a season due to poor ratings. From 1997 to 1998, he was the executive producer of 413 Hope St., a short-lived drama on the FOX network starring Richard Roundtree and Jesse L. Martin.

In 1998, he starred in a short-lived comedy titled Damon, in which he played a Chicago detective. It aired on FOX. In 1999, his New York Times bestselling book Bootleg with co-author David Asbery was published; it is a humorous compilation of his observations about family.[6]

In 2006, he began starring in The Underground, a sketch comedy series on Showtime. His son, Damon, Jr. also stars on the show. He hosted the 2006 BET Awards which was held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California on June 27, 2006.

For his outstanding role in the ABC comedy series My Wife and Kids, Wayans earned four International Press Academy “Golden Satellite Award” nominations and four Emmy awards nominations for his acting and directing in the 1990s’ series In Living Color. He also added author of a serious fictional novel to his credits this past year with “Red Hats” which is the story of a suicidal 65-year-old woman who finds friendship and happiness when she joins The Red Hat Society.

[edit] Personal lifeWayans was married to Lisa Thorner, however they divorced in 2000. He has four children, sons Damon Wayans, Jr., Michael Wayans and daughters Cara Mia Wayans, and Kyla Wayans. He is the uncle of Damien Dante Wayans, Chaunté Wayans and Craig Wayans.

Wayans is a close personal friend of both NBA legend Michael Jordan and fellow In Living Color star Jim Carrey.

He won the People’s Choice Awards for Favorite Male.

Posted February 26, 2012 by pennylibertygbow in Comedians, Hollywood

J.J. Walker, Comedian   Leave a comment


J.J. Walker

James Carter “Jimmie” Walker (born June 25, 1947) is an American actor and stand-up comedian, known for portraying J. J. Evans on the television series Good Times, which ran from 1974 to 1979. While on the show, Walker’s character was known for the catchphrase, “Dy-no-mite!”, which he also used in his mid-1970s TV commercial for a Panasonic line of cassette and 8-track tape players.

Early lifeWalker was born in The Bronx, New York. He is a graduate of Theodore Roosevelt High School, in New York City. Through a federal program known as SEEK, or “Search for Education, Evaluation, and Knowledge”, he continued his studies and entered into the field of radio engineering with WRVR.

As a young man, Walker was a vendor at Yankee Stadium, starting with the 1964 World Series. He was given a silver dollar by Mickey Mantle, which he still has. Walker was very friendly with Gary Cohen, who went on to be operations manager at Yankee Stadium. In 1967, Walker began working full-time with WRVR, the radio station of the Riverside Church. Walker has been married to Jere Fields since 1980.

Show business careerIn 1969, Walker began performing as a stand-up comedian and was eventually discovered by the casting director for Good Times, after making appearances on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh In and on the Jack Paar Show. He eventually released one stand-up comedy album during the height of his “Good Times” popularity: “Dyn-o-mite” on Buddah Records (5635).

Good TimesDuring Good Times’ 1974-75 season, Walker was 26 years old, though his character was much younger. (John Amos, the actor who portrayed Walker’s father on Good Times, was in real life just eight years older than Walker.) Walker was 32 years old when the show ended its run at the end of the 1978-79 season.

He also starred in Let’s Do It Again with Amos, and The Greatest Thing That Almost Happened with James Earl Jones.

Later career Walker appeared on The Tonight Show and Match Game during the 1970s and early 1980s. He also appeared on the 1990 revival of Match Game and other various game shows during that era as well.

Walker has made guest appearances on Badge 373, The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, The Larry Sanders Show, Son of the Beach, The Drew Carey Show, The John Larroquette Show, In the House, Cagney & Lacey, The Fall Guy, Scrubs, Star Dates, Everybody Hates Chris, The George Lopez Show, Chelsea Lately and Lincoln Heights. He also appeared in films such as Airplane! and the parody Plump Fiction.

Aside from guest appearances, he starred in the short-lived television series At Ease in 1983 and Bustin’ Loose in 1987.

In 2010 Walker made a cameo appaearence in the movie Big Money Rustlas.

Walker continues to tour the country with his stand-up comedy routine.[1][2]

Posted February 24, 2012 by pennylibertygbow in Comedians

Damon Kyle Wayans, Comedian Actor   Leave a comment


Damon Kyle Wayans

Damon Kyle Wayans born September 4, 1960) is an American stand-up comedian, writer and actor, one of the Wayans family.

Wayans was born in New York City, New York, the son of Elvira, a homemaker and social worker, and Howell Wayans, a supermarket manager.[2][3][4] He has five sisters, Elvira, Vonnie, Nadia, Kim, Diedre, and four brothers, actors Marlon Wayans, Keenen Ivory Wayans, Shawn Wayans, and Dwayne Wayans. He had a clubbed foot as a child. This attribute would also be given to his character in My Wife & Kids and his character on the cartoon series Waynehead. Wayans attended Murry Bergtraum High School.[5]

[edit] CareerDamon started doing stand-up comedy in 1982. His earliest film appearance was a brief cameo as an effeminate hotel employee in the 1984 Eddie Murphy film Beverly Hills Cop. He was briefly on Saturday Night Live as a featured performer, before getting fired for playing his character as a flamboyant gay cop instead of a straight cop. He went against the script during the live performance. In the SNL book Live From New York, it was stated that Wayans did this largely due to growing frustrations that his sketches were not being considered for the show and increasing stress. He also appeared in the syndicated TV series Solid Gold during the 1980s as a stand-up comedian. After that, he went on to co-create and appear in the TV-show In Living Color from 1990 to 1992, part of a team that was nominated for Emmy Awards all three years.

After In Living Color, he starred in films such as The Last Boy Scout, Major Payne and The Great White Hype and wrote and starred in the film Blankman. He also appeared in Janet Jackson’s video “The Best Things in Life Are Free” and was considered for the role of The Riddler in Batman Forever (the role went to Jim Carrey, his co-star from In Living Color and Earth Girls Are Easy).

In 1996, he produced Waynehead, a cartoon for the WB, loosely based on his own childhood growing up in a large family, starring a poor boy with a club foot. The show only lasted a season due to poor ratings. From 1997 to 1998, he was the executive producer of 413 Hope St., a short-lived drama on the FOX network starring Richard Roundtree and Jesse L. Martin.

In 1998, he starred in a short-lived comedy titled Damon, in which he played a Chicago detective. It aired on FOX. In 1999, his New York Times bestselling book Bootleg with co-author David Asbery was published; it is a humorous compilation of his observations about family.[6]

In 2006, he began starring in The Underground, a sketch comedy series on Showtime. His son, Damon, Jr. also stars on the show. He hosted the 2006 BET Awards which was held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California on June 27, 2006.

For his outstanding role in the ABC comedy series My Wife and Kids, Wayans earned four International Press Academy “Golden Satellite Award” nominations and four Emmy awards nominations for his acting and directing in the 1990s’ series In Living Color. He also added author of a serious fictional novel to his credits this past year with “Red Hats” which is the story of a suicidal 65-year-old woman who finds friendship and happiness when she joins The Red Hat Society.

[edit] Personal lifeWayans was married to Lisa Thorner, however they divorced in 2000. He has four children, sons Damon Wayans, Jr., Michael Wayans and daughters Cara Mia Wayans, and Kyla Wayans. He is the uncle of Damien Dante Wayans, Chaunté Wayans and Craig Wayans.

Wayans is a close personal friend of both NBA legend Michael Jordan and fellow In Living Color star Jim Carrey.

He won the People’s Choice Awards for Favorite Male.

Posted February 24, 2012 by pennylibertygbow in Comedians, Hollywood

Nell Carter, Actress, Comedian   Leave a comment


Nell Carter (September 13, 1948 – January 23, 2003) was an American singer, and film, stage, and television actress. She won a Tony Award for her performance in the Broadway musical Ain’t Misbehavin’, as well as an Emmy Award for her reprisal of the role on television. She also received Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for her starring role in the long-running 1980s’ sitcom Gimme a Break!.

 

 

 Biography

[edit] Early life

Born Nell Ruth Hardy to Horace and Edna Mae Hardy in Birmingham, Alabama, Carter was one of nine children. She overcame adversity and personal hardships before finding success as an actress. Her father died in an accident with a power line. A man raped her when she was 16, and she became pregnant from the attack, giving birth to a daughter, Tracey.

[edit] Career

She was in the 1971 rock opera Soon, which closed after three performances. She was the Music Director for the 1974 Westbeth Playwrights Feminist Collective‘s production of “What Time of Night It Is”. Carter appeared alongside Bette Davis in the 1974 stage musical Miss Moffat, based on Davis’ earlier film The Corn Is Green. The show closed before making it to Broadway. She broke into stardom in the musical Ain’t Misbehavin, for which she won a Tony Award in 1978. She also won an Emmy for the same role in a televised performance in 1982. Additional Broadway credits included Dude and Annie.

In 1979, she had a part in the Miloš Forman-directed musical film adaptation of Hair. Her vocal talents are showcased throughout the motion picture soundtrack. One of the more memorable moments in the film involves her rendition of the song “White Boys” where she can be seen dancing playfully as she performs the song (alongside Ain’t Misbehavin co-star, Charlayne Woodard).

In 1978, Carter was cast as Effie White in the Broadway musical Dreamgirls, but departed the production during development to take a television role on the ABC-TV soap opera, Ryan’s Hope in New York. When Dreamgirls premiered in late 1981, Jennifer Holliday had taken over the lead. Carter also took a role on television’s The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo, before landing a steady role as housekeeper Nell Harper on the sitcom Gimme a Break!, for which she earned Golden Globe and Emmy Award nominations. The popular show lasted from 1981 to 1987.

Within a couple of a years after Gimme a Break!, Carter pursued new TV series projects. In 1989, she shot a pilot for NBC entitled Morton’s By the Bay, which aired as a one-time special in May of that year. In this, Carter played the assistant to the owner of a banquet hall, and the focus was on her and her mad-cap staff. Alan Ruck and Jann Karam co-starred. NBC passed on the series development. The following year, Carter surfaced as the star of the CBS comedy You Take the Kids. The series, which was perceived as being the black answer to Roseanne due to its portrayal of a working-class African-American family, featured Carter as a crass, no-nonsense mother and wife. You Take the Kids faced poor ratings and reviews, and had a month’s run from December 1990 to January 1991.

During the early 1990s, Carter appeared in low-budget films, TV specials, and on game shows such as Match Game ’90 and To Tell the Truth. She also co-starred in Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper. She appeared as a special guest star on the pilot episode of the new WB show Reba and continued with the show, making a total of three appearances in season one.

In the mid-1990s, Carter appeared on Broadway in a revival of Annie as Miss Hannigan. She was very upset when commercials promoting the show used a different actress, Marcia Lewis, a white actress, as Miss Hannigan. The producers claimed that the commercials, which were made during an earlier production, were too costly to reshoot. Carter felt that racism played a part in the decision. “Maybe they don’t want audiences to know Nell Carter is black”,[1] she told the New York Post. However, the ads did mention that Carter was in the show. “It hurts a lot”, Carter told the Post, “I’ve asked them nicely to stop it — it’s insulting to me as a black woman.”[citation needed] Carter was later replaced by another white actress, Sally Struthers.

In 2002, Carter made two appearances on the show Ally McBeal. The following year had her rehearsing for a production of Raisin, a stage musical of A Raisin in the Sun in Long Beach, California, and filming a movie, Swing.

[edit] Personal life

After Gimme a Break! began, Carter’s life took a turbulent turn. She married mathematician and lumber executive George Krynicki, and converted to Judaism in 1982 (she had been born Roman Catholic and raised Presbyterian).[2][3][4] She attempted suicide in the early 1980s, and entered a drug detoxification facility around 1985. Her brother, Bernard, died of AIDS in 1989.

Carter had three children: daughter Tracy and two sons, Daniel and Joshua (now Tiffany, a transgender woman). She adopted both her sons as newborns over a four-month period. She attempted to adopt twice more but both adoptions fell through. In one case she brought home a child, Mary, but the birth parents demanded money before they would sign the adoption papers. In her final attempt, she allowed a young pregnant woman to move into her home with the plan that she would adopt the child, but the mother decided to keep her baby.

In 1992, Carter had surgery to repair two aneurysms. She divorced Krynicki and married Roger Larocque the same year, divorcing Larocque the next year. She declared bankruptcy in 1995 and again in 2002. She also endured three miscarriages.

Appearing emotional and tearful on an episode of the Sally Jessy Raphael Show, Carter explained how she went to a Liza Minnelli concert during a turbulent time of her life. Carter told Raphael how Minnelli, seeing Carter in an agonized state, ran offstage to tell her sister, Lorna Luft, to go out and take Carter backstage so that she could get some help. Minnelli and Luft helped get Carter into rehab for her cocaine problem, which she conquered.

  Death

Having previously survived two brain aneurysms, Carter died at the age of 54 on January 23, 2003, from heart disease complicated by diabetes in her Beverly Hills home that she shared with her partner Ann Kaser, and her two 13-year-old boys, Joshua and Daniel. Her daughter Tracy Ruth lived away from their California home. She is interred in the Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery in Culver City, California.

Posted February 24, 2012 by pennylibertygbow in Actor/Actress, Comedians

Martin Lawrence, Actor, Comedian   Leave a comment


Martin Lawrence

Martin Fitzgerald Lawrence[2] (born April 16, 1965) is an American actor, film director, film producer, screenwriter, and stand up comedian. He came to fame during the 1990s, establishing a Hollywood career as a leading actor, most notably the films Bad Boys, Blue Streak, and Big Momma’s House. Lawrence has acted in numerous film roles and starred in his own television series, Martin, which ran from 1992 to 1997.

Lawrence was born in Frankfurt am Main, Hesse in Germany on April 16, 1965, to American parents. He was given his first name after civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. and his middle name after US President John F. Kennedy.[2] His father, John Lawrence, served in the US Military.[2] After his parents divorced when he was eight,[3] Lawrence rarely saw his father, who worked as a police officer at the time.[4] His mother, Chlora (née Bailey), began working several jobs to support her family.[5][6] During his teen years, Lawrence excelled at boxing.[2] He lived in Maryland, and attended Thomas G. Pullen School of Creative and Performing Arts (Landover, Maryland), Fairmont Heights High School (Fairmount Heights, Maryland), Eleanor Roosevelt High School,[2] and also Friendly High School in Fort Washington, Maryland, becoming a Mid-Atlantic Golden Gloves boxing contender.

[edit] CareerLawrence moved to Denver and found his way to the legendary Kings Wood comedy club.[citation needed] Shortly after appearing at the Wood, he won a performance spot on Star Search, a popular show in the United States.[2] He did well on the show and made it to the final round before ultimately losing. However, executives at Columbia TriStar Television saw Martin’s performance and offered him the role of “Maurice” on the television sitcom What’s Happening Now!!; this was his first acting job.[2] Upon cancellation of that show, Lawrence found bit parts in various films and television roles. His breakthrough role was as Cee in the Spike Lee film Do the Right Thing. Other roles followed in films such as the House Party series and the Eddie Murphy vehicle Boomerang. During this period, entertainment mogul Russell Simmons selected him to host the groundbreaking series Def Comedy Jam on HBO. Def Comedy Jam gave many comedians (including Chris Tucker, Dave Chappelle, Bernie Mac and Cedric the Entertainer) mainstream exposure.

During his stint with Def Comedy Jam, Lawrence appeared in his own hit series, Martin, which aired on Fox TV.[2] The show ran from 1992 to 1997 and was an enormous success. Martin was the flagship of Fox’s Thursday-night line-up, which drew millions of viewers away from NBC’s “Must See TV” line-up. He hosted Saturday Night Live on February 19, 1994, where he made crude remarks about women’s genitalia and personal hygiene; the monologue was completely edited out of NBC reruns and syndicated versions, and Lawrence was banned from the show for life. Martin’s ratings continued to skyrocket so much that Fox became more of a contender against NBC and came closer to being considered among the top television networks.

Lawrence’s Martin co-star, Tisha Campbell-Martin, filed a lawsuit against Lawrence and the show’s producers for sexual harassment and verbal and physical assaults. HBO Studios settled the lawsuit so the show’s final season could be completed. Campbell-Martin agreed to complete the season on the condition that she not appear in any scenes in the last two episodes with Lawrence.[7][citation needed] No criminal charges were ever filed and the accusations were never brought to court.

After Martin ended its run, Lawrence found ample work in comedy films. He often starred as the second lead opposite actors including Eddie Murphy, Will Smith, and Tim Robbins.[2] Many of his films were blockbusters at the box office, including Boomerang (1992), (also with him again in Life) Bad Boys (1995), Blue Streak (1999), Big Momma’s House (2000) and Bad Boys 2 (2003). He also starred in critical and box office failures including Black Knight (2001) and National Security (2002). Regardless, his salary steadily increased to over $10 million per film role. He continues to work in film, with such films as Big Momma’s House 2, which opened #1 at the North American box office and grossed almost $28 million its first weekend,[8] and Wild Hogs (2007), in which he plays a bored suburbanite seeking adventure on the open road in a biker comedy alongside John Travolta, Tim Allen and William H. Macy.

In 2006, Lawrence appeared on Inside the Actors Studio, during which Lawrence briefly brought back to life some of the characters he’d portrayed on Martin.

In 2008, Lawrence starred in Disney’s College Road Trip co-starring with Raven Symone. This particular film was his first G-rated film. Even though it was his first film to be G-rated, it is not his first time appearing in a children’s film. as well as a voiceover role in Open Season (2006) opposite Ashton Kutcher.

At the 2009 BET Awards he appeared in a spoof movie trailer with Jamie Foxx for a fictional movie The Skank Robbers that featured, their respective television characters Sheneneh Jenkins and Ugly Wanda. in 2010, Fox announced that it was producing a film based on the sketch, featuring Foxx, Lawrence, and actress Halle Berry.[9]

In 2010, it was announced that Lawrence would reprise his role as FBI agent Malcolm Turner in Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son, the third film in the Big Momma’s House series, which was released in 2011.[10]

[edit] Personal lifeLawrence was engaged to actress Lark Voorhies in 1993.

He married Patricia Southall, a former Miss Virginia USA, in 1995. The couple had one child, Jasmine Page (January 15, 1996). They divorced in 1997.

In July 1995, while on the set filming A Thin Line Between Love and Hate, Lawrence lashed out in a violent rage and was then hospitalized at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. [11]

On May 8, 1996, he became increasingly erratic and was arrested after he reportedly brandished a pistol and screamed at tourists on Ventura Boulevard in Los Angeles and was then hospitalized, with his PR stating “exhaustion and dehydration”.[2] On August 19, 1996, he was arrested at Burbank Airport for carrying a loaded gun in his suitcase. In March 1997, Lawrence was arrested again after punching a man in a Hollywood nightclub.[2]

During August 1999, Lawrence slipped into a three-day coma after collapsing from heat exhaustion while jogging in 100-degree heat while wearing several layers of heavy clothing.[2] He recovered in the hospital after nearly dying from a body temperature of 107 °F (41.7 °C), his breathing assisted by a respirator.

With Shamika Gibbs he has daughters Amara (2001) and Iyana (2003). On July 10, 2010, Lawrence married longtime girlfriend Shamika Gibbs at his Beverly Hills home. Actors Eddie Murphy and Denzel Washington were among the 120 wedding guests;[12] Shanice serenaded the couple by singing the Minnie Riperton classic “Lovin’ You”.[13].

In addition to his Beverly Hills home, Lawrence also owns a farm near Purcellville, Virginia

Posted February 24, 2012 by pennylibertygbow in Actor/Actress, Comedians, Hollywood

Bernie Mac, Comedian   2 comments


Bernard Jeffrey McCullough (October 5, 1957 – August 9, 2008), better known by his stage name, Bernie Mac, was an American actor and comedian. Born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, Mac gained popularity as a stand-up comedian. He joined comedians Steve Harvey, Cedric the Entertainer, and D. L. Hughley as The Original Kings of Comedy.

After briefly hosting the HBO show Midnight Mac, Mac appeared in several films in smaller roles. His most noted film role was as Frank Catton in the remake Ocean’s Eleven and the titular character of Mr. 3000. He was the star of The Bernie Mac Show, which ran from 2001 through 2006, earning him two Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. His other films included starring roles in Booty Call, Friday, The Players Club, Head of State, Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, Bad Santa, Guess Who, Pride, Soul Men, Transformers and Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa.

Mac suffered from sarcoidosis, an inflammatory lung disease that produces tiny lumps of cells in the solid organs, but had said the condition was in remission in 2005. His death on August 9, 2008 was caused by complications from pneumonia.

Contents

 [show

[edit] Early life

Bernie Mac was born and raised in southern Chicago, Illinois by his single mother, Mary, who died of cancer when he was 16.

He put on shows for neighborhood kids on the city’s South Side. He attended Chicago Vocational Career Academy. Later, he moved to Tampa, Florida.[1] During his 20s, he worked in a variety of jobs, including furniture mover and a UPS agent.[1]

[edit] Career

Bernie Mac’s influences were from The Three Stooges and listening to stand-up comedians Richard Pryor and Redd Foxx. Mac started as a stand-up comedian in Chicago’s Cotton Club. After he won the Miller Lite Comedy Search at the age of 32, his popularity as a comedian began to grow. A performance on HBO‘s Def Comedy Jam thrust him into the spotlight. He opened for Dionne Warwick, Redd Foxx and Natalie Cole. He played a small role in 1994’s House Party 3 as Uncle Vester, and sang the song: “I like big butts and I cannot lie” He married BIG Moma, and he decided to have kids. He later joined the band Big Daddy Weave. He also had a short-lived talk show on HBO titled Midnight Mac. Later, Mac also acted in minor roles and got his big break as “Pastor Clever” in Ice Cube‘s 1994 film Friday. Following that role, Mac had his first starring role as “Dollar Bill”, a silly, slick-talking club owner in The Players Club. Mac was able to break from the traditional “black comedy” genre, having roles in the 2001 remake of Ocean’s Eleven and becoming the new Bosley for the Charlie’s Angels sequel, Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle. In 2001, he gave an impressive performance in a supporting role as the villain “Gin Slagel, The Store Dick” in Bad Santa. He also starred in Guess Who?, a comedic remake of the film Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, and made an appearance in the 2007 film Transformers as the car salesman “Bobby Bolivia”. In his later years, he hosted the reality television talent show Last Comic Standing. He also served as the voice of Zuba, Alex the Lion’s long lost father in Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa. He co-starred with Samuel L. Jackson in the 2008 musical comedy Soul Men as “Floyd Henderson”. His final film role was as “Jimmy Lunchbox”, a flamboyant children’s entertainer in the 2009 Disney film Old Dogs which was released a year after his death. He starred alongside John Travolta and Robin Williams in that particular film.

Bernie Mac at the Transformers premiere in 2007

In 2001, the Fox network gave Mac his own semi-autobiographical sitcom called The Bernie Mac Show portraying a fictional version of himself. In the show, he suddenly becomes custodian of his sister’s three children after she enters rehab. It was a success, in part because it allowed Mac to stay true to his stand-up comedy roots, breaking the fourth wall to communicate his thoughts to the audience. The show contained many parodies of events in Bernie’s actual life. It was not renewed after the 2005–2006 season. The series finale aired on April 14, 2006. However, the finale barely left a conclusion for the series, and no ending to the storyline of Bernie and Wanda trying to have a baby which had been abandoned a few episodes earlier. Among other awards, the show won an Emmy[2] for “Outstanding Writing”, the Peabody Award for excellence in broadcasting, and the Humanitas Prize for television writing that promotes human dignity.[3] His character on The Bernie Mac Show was ranked #47 in TV Guide‘s list of the “50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time”.[4]

In 2002, Bernie Mac starred as a retired baseball player in the film Mr. 3000. In the 2003 National League Championship Series, Mac sang “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” at Wrigley Field with the Chicago Cubs leading the Florida Marlins in the series 3 games to 2 and in Game 6 by a 2–0 score at the time (it would soon be 3–0 in the bottom of the 7th). Instead of saying “root, root, root for the Cubbies” Mac said, “root, root, root for the champions!” The Cubs lost the game and the series, with some fans claiming that Mac helped jinx the Cubs. Mac later admitted that he had hated the North Side’s Cubs his whole life, being a die-hard fan of the South Side’s White Sox, and was seen during the White Sox’ 2005 World Series victory at U.S. Cellular Field.

Mac was number 72 on Comedy Central’s list of the 100 greatest standups of all time. On March 19, 2007, Mac told David Letterman on the CBS Late Show that he would retire from his 30-year career after he finished shooting the comedy film, The Whole Truth, Nothing but the Truth, So Help Me Mac. “I’m going to still do my producing, my films, but I want to enjoy my life a little bit,” Mac told Letterman. “I missed a lot of things, you know. I was a street performer for two years. I went into clubs in 1977. …I was on the road 47 weeks out of the year.”[5]

[edit] Illness and death

In August 2008, Mac was admitted to the Northwestern Memorial Hospital in his hometown of Chicago, Illinois. After a week of unsuccessful medical treatment, Mac died in the early morning hours of August 9 from sarcoidosis complicated by pneumonia. In the final three years of his life, Mac publicly disclosed that he suffered from sarcoidosis, an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in tissue, most often in his lungs.[6] Mac’s public funeral was held a week later on August 16 at the House of Hope Church with over 9,000 people in attendance. Notable mourners were Chris Rock, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, Samuel L. Jackson, Ashton Kutcher, Don Cheadle, the cast members from his series and his Kings of Comedy fellows D. L. Hughley, Cedric the Entertainer, and Steve Harvey. Mac’s ashes were interred at the Washington Memory Gardens Cemetery in Homewood, Illinois.

[edit] Tributes

The first two of Mac’s posthumous films, Soul Men and Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, were released three months following his death. Mac’s third and final posthumous film, Old Dogs, was released a year later. The 2008 Bud Billiken Parade, which was held in Chicago by the time of his death, was also dedicated to his memory.[6] On the day of Mac’s public funeral, his hometown’s local television station WCIU-TV aired an exclusive television special, A Tribute to Bernie Mac, and had interviews with his former colleagues including Camille Winbush, Tommy Davidson, Guy Torry and some of his family members and close friends. Mac was also honored during “In Memoriam” montages at various award ceremonies following his death.

[edit] Filmography

Year Title Role Notes
Film
1992 Mo’ Money Club doorman Cameo
1993 Who’s the Man? G-George  
1994 Above the Rim Flip  
1994 House Party 3 Uncle Vester  
1995 Friday Pastor Clever  
1995 The Walking Dead Ray  
1996 Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood Officer Self Hatred Cameo
1996 Get on the Bus Jay  
1997 B*A*P*S Mr. Johnson  
1997 Booty Call Judge Peabody  
1997 How to Be a Player Buster  
1998 Players Club, TheThe Players Club Dollar Bill  
1999 Life Jangle Leg  
2000 Original Kings of Comedy, TheThe Original Kings of Comedy Himself Documentary
2001 Ocean’s Eleven Frank Catton  
2001 What’s the Worst That Could Happen? Uncle Jack  
2003 Bad Santa Gin Slagel  
2003 Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle Jimmy Bosley  
2003 Head of State Mitch Gilliam  
2004 Mr. 3000 Stan Ross  
2004 Ocean’s Twelve Frank Catton  
2005 Guess Who Percy Jones  
2007 Ocean’s Thirteen Frank Catton  
2007 Pride Elston  
2007 Transformers Bobby Bolivia  
2008 Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa Zuba the Lion (voice) Released posthumously 
2008 Soul Men Floyd Henderson Released posthumously
2009 Old Dogs Jimmy Lunchbox Released posthumously
Year Title Role Notes
Television
1996–2000 Moesha Uncle Bernie 11 episodes
2001–2006 Bernie Mac Show, TheThe Bernie Mac Show Bernie McCullough 103 episodes
2003 King of the Hill Mack (Voice) 1 episode

[edit] Awards and nominations

Year Award Result Category Work
2005 Black Reel Awards Won Best Actor, Musical or Comedy Mr. 3000
2002 Emmy Award Nominated Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series The Bernie Mac Show
2003 Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series The Bernie Mac Show
2003 Golden Globe Award Nominated Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy The Bernie Mac Show
2004 Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy The Bernie Mac Show
2002 NAACP Image Awards Nominated Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series The Bernie Mac Show
2003 Won Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series The Bernie Mac Show
2004 Nominated Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture Head of State
Won Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series The Bernie Mac Show
2005 Won Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series The Bernie Mac Show
2006 Won Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series The Bernie Mac Show
2007 Nominated Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series The Bernie Mac Show
2003 PRISM Award Won Performance in a Comedy Series The Bernie Mac Show
2003 Satellite Award Won Best Performance by an Actor in a Series, Comedy or Musical The Bernie Mac Show
2004 Won Best Performance by an Actor in a Series, Comedy or Musical The Bernie Mac Show
2005 Nominated Best Performance by an Actor in a Series, Comedy or Musical The Bernie Mac Show
2002 Television Critics Association Award Won Individual Achievement in Comedy The Bernie Mac Show

Posted February 14, 2012 by pennylibertygbow in Comedians

Flip Wilson, African American Comedian   Leave a comment


Clerow Wilson, Jr. (December 8, 1933 – November 25, 1998), known professionally as Flip Wilson, was an American comedian and actor. In the early 1970s, Wilson hosted his own weekly variety series, The Flip Wilson Show. The series earned Wilson a Golden Globe and two Emmy Awards.[1]

In January 1972, Time magazine featured Wilson’s image on their cover and named him “TV’s first black superstar”.[2]

  Early life

Born in Jersey City, New Jersey, he was one of 18 children in an impoverished household. After years of bouncing from foster homes to reform school, 16-year-old Wilson lied about his age and joined the United States Air Force. His outgoing personality and funny stories made him popular; he was even asked to tour military bases to cheer up other servicemen. Claiming that he was always “flipped out,” Wilson’s barracks mates gave him his famous nickname. Discharged in 1954, Wilson started working as a bellhop in San Francisco‘s Manor Plaza Hotel.

At the Plaza’s nightclub, Wilson found extra work playing a drunken patron in between regularly scheduled acts. His inebriated character proved popular and Wilson began performing it in clubs throughout California. He managed to get jobs at various comedy clubs using his nickname, Flip. At first Wilson would simply ad-lib on-stage, but in time, he added written material and his act became more sophisticated.

 Career

During the 1960s, Wilson became a regular at the Apollo Theater in Harlem and was a favorite guest on The Tonight Show, Laugh-In, and The Ed Sullivan Show. In 1970, Wilson won a Grammy Award for his comedy album The Devil Made Me Buy This Dress.

 The Flip Wilson Show

A routine titled “Columbus,” from the album Cowboys and Colored People, brought Wilson to Hollywood industry attention and would lead to the development of his own television show. In this bit, Wilson re-tells the story of Christopher Columbus from a slightly ‘urban’ perspective, in which Columbus finally convinces the Spanish monarchs to fund his voyage by noting that discovering America means that he can thus also discover Ray Charles. Hearing this, Queen Isabella, sounding not unlike Wilson’s celebrated “Geraldine” character, says that “Chris” can have “all the money you want, honey — You go find Ray Charles!!” When Columbus departs from the dock, a more than slightly inebriated Isabella is there, testifying to one and all that “Chris gonna find Ray Charles!!” In 1970, Wilson’s variety series, The Flip Wilson Show, debuted on NBC. He played host to many African-American entertainers, including The Jackson Five, and The Temptations and performed in comedy sketches. He greeted all his guests with the “Flip Wilson Handshake,”: four hand slaps, two elbow bumps finishing with two hip-bumps. George Carlin was one of the show’s writers along with him. Wilson’s characters included Reverend Leroy, pastor of the ‘Church of What’s Happening Now’, and his most popular character, Geraldine Jones, always referring to boyfriend ‘Killer’ and whose line “The devil made me do it” became a national expression (frequently the “devil” was pronounced as “debbbbil”).

The Flip Wilson Show aired through 1974, generating high ratings and popularity among viewers and winning strong critical acclaim, with an unprecedented eleven Emmy Award nominations during its run, winning two. Wilson also won a Golden Globe award for Best Actor in a Television Series.

  Later years

Wilson as the Fox with Sandy Duncan as Pinocchio and Liz Torres as the Cat.

After the end of The Flip Wilson Show, Wilson went on to make guest appearances on numerous TV comedies and variety shows, such as Here’s Lucy starring Lucille Ball and The Dean Martin Show among others. Ed Sullivan invited Wilson to perform several times on his popular Sunday night show, and Wilson would later single out Sullivan as providing his biggest career boost. Wilson acted in TV and theatrical movies including Uptown Saturday Night and The Fish that Saved Pittsburgh. In 1976, he appeared as the Fox in a television musical adaptation of Pinocchio, starring Sandy Duncan in the title role and Danny Kaye as Mister Geppetto, with songs by Laugh-In composer Billy Barnes.

In 1984, he hosted the remake of People Are Funny. From 1985 to 1986, Wilson played the lead role in the CBS sitcom Charlie & Co.. Wilson’s last role was a cameo appearance in the sitcom Living Single in November 1993.

 Personal life and death

Wilson was married twice; he married first wife, Lovenia Wilson, in 1957: they divorced in 1967. Then, in 1979, he married Tuanchai MacKenzie. They divorced in 1984. After winning custody of his children in 1979, Wilson performed less in order to spend time with his family. Before becoming ill, he was an active lighter-than-air pilot.

On November 25, 1998, Wilson died of liver cancer in Malibu, California, 13 days short of his 65th birthday

Posted February 14, 2012 by pennylibertygbow in Comedians