Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Bernard Jeffrey McCollough  

Pen Name: Bernie Mac

Genre: Non-Fiction

Audience: Adult;

Born: 1957 in Chicago, Illlinois

-- Bernard Jeffrey McCollough on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Bernie was raised on the south side of Chicago and always called it home.

Biographical and Professional Information

Besides his work in film and television Bernie Mac also authored two books. His second book described his impoverished childhood, strict upbringing and his mother's belief in him.In 1977 at age 19, Mac married his high school sweetheart, Rhonda, whom he credits with much of his success, particularly as the young couple struggled through the early years of Mac's fledgling career. They had a daughter, Je'Niece, and a granddaughter. Bernie was in many television and movie productions and he was a comedian that refused to change his image for Hollywood and said that his life in Chicago was who he was and there was nothing that could change that. He was a mature comedian who was very intelligent and very engaging in his TV, movie and stand-up appearances.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Maybe You Never Cry Again
ISBN: 0060529288

HarperEntertainment. 2003

One night, I come in and find my mama in front of the TV, cryin'. And you know how it is when you're a little kid: your mama cryin', you gonna be cryin' in a minute.

"What's wrong, Mama?" I ask her.

"It's nothin', Bean. Sometimes I think sad thoughts."

"What thoughts?"

She didn't answer. She was lookin' at the TV. Black guy's talkin' to Ed Sullivan. I look at him, but I don't hear but a few words. And I can't make them out anyway, see, because suddenly my mama's laughin' to bust a gut. Her whole lap's shakin'. I got to hold on tight or get thrown clear across the room.

I turn to look at her -- this is the same woman that was cryin' a second ago? -- then turn back to the TV. "Who that man, Mama?"

She's still laughin'. Takes her a while to catch her breath. "Bill Cosby, son. He's a comedian."

A comedian?

"What's that?"

I look over at this Bill Cosby. I don't know what he's talkin' about -- but I know that, whatever it is, it's got power.

"That's what I want to be, Mama. A comedian. Make you laugh like that, maybe you never cry again."

By the tender age of five, Bernie Mac had found his calling: making others laugh. Now this amazing comedian delves deep inside to tell the poignant story of his childhood and the people who helped shape him into the comedian -- and the strong and self-reliant man -- he is today.

When Bernie was just sixteen, he lost his beloved mother to breast cancer. As he was growing up, she was a tough but loving teacher of life lessons and "Mac-isms," which would carry him through many hardships: You have to meet all of the challenges, big and small. Because how you start is how you finish. The loudest, clearest voice needs to be the one inside your own self. These lessons gave him the strength to choose hope over despair and to follow his dream of becoming a comedian.

Bernie recounts his slow rise to stardom, from doing stand-up at a church dinner at age eight to performing in amateur open-mike nights to earning a regular gig at Chicago's Cotton Club, and eventually to entertaining huge audiences onstage and in film and on television.

An inspiring memoir filled with hope-restoring humor, Maybe You Never Cry Again is a powerful testament to how a mother's love makes everything possible.