He gained popularity as a comedian and won the 2002 Television Critics Association Award for Individual Achievement in Comedy for The Bernie Mac Show.
Born Bernard Jeffrey McCullough, he worked as a furniture mover and a UPS agent while in his 20s.
He was raised by a single mother, Mary, who died of cancer when he was 16 years old. He married Rhonda McCullough in 1977 and they had a child named Je'neice McCullough together.
He provided the voice of Zuba, Alex's father in the 2008 film, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, alongside Ben Stiller.