There is this moment early on in Ocean’s Eleven, where the crew is being put together. Frank Catton (Bernie Mac), a dealer in Atlantic City, “has developed a bad case of bronchitis and is putting in for a transfer to warmer climates.” Warmer climates, of course, being Las Vegas where a heist is about to be pulled.
There is no dialogue, only a voice-over by Danny Ocean, yet Bernie Mac makes it one of the most memorable scenes from the movie. He makes puppy-dog eyes, even the beginnings of a pout, and it’s just magic.
Bernie Mac created magic in so many more ways, but that’s the one that created a lasting memory of him in my pop-culture overloaded brain. I always found it a fantastic comedic scene, never pushing it too far as it easily could have been. Now, it’s a bittersweet reminder of what we have lost.
Comedian, South Sider Bernie Mac dies at 50