Man Behind Jack Black's 'Bernie' Released From Jail
Bernie was the movie that catapulted the small town of Carthage, Texas, to international notoriety.
Jack Black played Bernie, the big-hearted mortician. Shirley MacLaine played a wealthy, mean old widow named Mrs. Nugent who was despised by everyone.
Real townspeople appeared in the movie, describing Bernie as sweet natured and kind, a true gentleman.
Bernie became Mrs. Nugent's constant companion. They traveled the world together, always on her dime. But she could also be controlling and verbally abusive. One day Bernie snapped and shot her dead—a scene vividly depicted in the movie.
The real Bernie Tiede was sentenced to life in prison in 1999, but the story was far from over.
Bernie was based on a Texas Monthly magazine article written by Skip Hollandsworth.
Hollandsworth told INSIDE EDITION, “It was remarkable the love this town had for Bernie. When the script was first shown to Hollywood studios, they all turned it down. They said, 'This isn't real! This can't happen!'"
The movie was released in 2012 and Jack Black was nominated for a Golden Globe.
Meanwhile, the real Bernie hired a new attorney who discovered that he had been sexually abused as a child.
Hollandsworth said, "When he got into this verbally abusive relationship with Mrs. Nugent all the anger from his childhood abuse came out roaring again and he shot her!"
Prosecutors agreed to consider reducing Bernie's conviction from 1st degree murder to 2nd degree murder, and just last week he was released from prison on the condition that he move in with, of all people, movie director Richard Linklater, the man who made Bernie!
Bernie is now living in an apartment above Linklater's garage in Austin, Texas.
"Myself and others are determined to help him in any way we can," the director says.
Hollandsworth said, "Bernie has this effect on people that they probably didn't even know he was going to have when they first met him."
INSIDE EDITION spoke to some of the folks back in Carthage where there is still a lot of love for Bernie. Town resident James Buckley has even written a song about Bernie, a name that will live in infamy in one corner of Texas.
Another part of Bernie's release is that he is not allowed to go anywhere near firearms.