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John Ratzenberger

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Title: John Ratzenberger  
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Subject: List of Pixar characters, Cheers, List of Cars characters, Toy Story 3, List of Pixar awards and nominations (feature films)
Collection: 1947 Births, 20Th-Century American Male Actors, 21St-Century American Male Actors, American Expatriates in the United Kingdom, American Male Film Actors, American Male Television Actors, American Male Voice Actors, American People of Austrian Descent, American People of Hungarian Descent, American People of Polish Descent, Connecticut Republicans, Dancing with the Stars (U.S. Tv Series) Participants, Living People, Male Actors from Bridgeport, Connecticut, Participants in American Reality Television Series, Sacred Heart University Alumni
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John Ratzenberger

John Ratzenberger
Ratzenberger at the 2011 Time 100 gala
Born John Deszo Ratzenberger[1]
(1947-04-06) April 6, 1947
Bridgeport, Connecticut, U.S.
Education St. Ann's School
Alma mater Sacred Heart University
Occupation Actor, voice actor, entrepreneur
Years active 1976–present
Known for Pixar
Television Cheers,
John Ratzenberger's Made in America
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Georgia Stiny (1985–2004; divorced)
Julie Blichfeldt (2012-present)
Children James John (b. 1987),
Nina Kathrine (b. 1989)
Website .com.ratzenbergerwww

John Deszo Ratzenberger (born April 6, 1947)[1] is an American actor, voice actor and entrepreneur. He is best known as Cliff Clavin in Cheers and for his recurring supporting cast roles in Pixar films.


  • Early life 1
  • Career 2
    • Cheers 2.1
    • Pixar 2.2
    • Reality show appearances 2.3
    • Additional voice, TV and film work 2.4
  • Other work 3
  • Personal life 4
  • Political activity 5
  • Filmography 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Early life

Ratzenberger was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, the son of Bertha Veronica (née Grochowski), who worked for Remington Arms, and Deszo Alexander Ratzenberger, a Texaco truck driver.[2][3] His father was of Austrian and Hungarian descent, and his mother was of Polish ancestry.[4] He attended St. Ann's School in Bridgeport and Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut.[1] In 1969, Ratzenberger was a tractor operator at the Woodstock Festival.[5] He moved to London in 1971 and stayed there for 10 years.[1]


Ratzenberger was a house framer[6] living in London when he began his career in the performing arts.[1]Through the 1970s, he performed with Ray Hassett as the comedic theatrical duo Sal’s Meat Market which toured across the UK.[7] Peter Richardson and Nigel Planer as The Outer Limits and in The Comic Strip were heavily influenced by Sal’s Meat Market.[8] His first role was a patron in The Ritz (1976). Throughout the late 1970s and early 1980s Ratzenberger appeared in various minor roles in major feature films, including Firefox; A Bridge Too Far; Superman as a missile controller; Superman II as the NASA control man; Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back as "Major Bren Derlin"; Motel Hell as a drummer; Outland as a doomed mine worker named Tarlow; and Gandhi, playing an American Lieutenant.


Ratzenberger at the 1992 Primetime Emmy Awards

Ratzenberger is well known for playing mail carrier Cliff Clavin on the sitcom Cheers. He had read for the part of Norm Peterson, but after the audition, he sensed that they weren't going to give him the part. Sensing an opportunity, he asked if they had written a bar know-it-all, which the producers decided was a great idea.[9] Ratzenberger also came up with the idea for Cliff's trademark white socks, which he wore as a tribute to French comedian Jacques Tati.[10] Cliff became known for his outlandish stories of plausible half-truths, uninteresting trivia, and misinformation, and in general for being a pretentious blowhard. Cliff and Norm, the primary customer characters, became iconic bar buddies. Ratzenberger provided the voice for an animated version of Cliff on The Simpsons 6th season episode "Fear of Flying".


External links

  1. ^ a b c d e About John from Ratzenberger's official website
  2. ^ John Ratzenberger Biography (1947–) from
  3. ^ "Last Night's Dancing with the Stars: What You Didn't See". 
  4. ^ "The Ratzenberger Attic". 
  5. ^ The Mark Levin Show (wma) (Radio). May 8, 2008. Retrieved December 6, 2008. 
  6. ^ a b Spelling, Ian (May 21, 2009). "John Ratzenberger, Pixar's good luck charm, on Up, Bugs and Toys 3".  
  7. ^]
  8. ^ Wilmut, Roger (1989). Didn't You Kill My Mother in Law?- the story of alternative comedy in Britain from the Comedy Store to Saturday Night Live. UK: Methuen. p. 58.  
  9. ^ Toasting Cheers, Dennis A. Bjorklund, p.7
  10. ^ a b The Joe Cook Program (Radio). July 26, 2012. Retrieved July 29, 2012.
  11. ^ "Norm and Cliff Fight Cheers Robots". 
  12. ^ robot lawsuitCheersBar Association Plus, Norm and Cliff settle from the Entertainment Weekly website
  13. ^ "Pixar's secret weapon: John Ratzenberger, slideshow
  14. ^ "Disney's "Planes" Hi-res Stills, Fun Facts and Activity Sheets". Stitch Kingdom. May 9, 2013. Retrieved May 11, 2013. 
  15. ^ Hill, Jim (August 6, 2013). "World premiere of Disney "Planes" turns Hollywood Boulevard into a celebrity-filled landing strip". Jim Hill Media. Retrieved January 24, 2014. 
  16. ^ "Planes Fire & Rescue (2014)". British Film Institute. Retrieved August 24, 2014. 
  17. ^ "'Dancing' adds Cliff from 'Cheers'". CNN. Associated Press. February 20, 2007. Archived from the original on March 4, 2007. Retrieved March 2, 2007. 
  18. ^
  19. ^ "育毛や発毛に効果があるシャンプーの種類についてヰミゼゥ". 
  20. ^ "Cheerful Goodbyes". Frasier. Season 9. Episode 21. April 30, 2002.  
  21. ^ About John: Innovator from Ratzenberger's official website
  22. ^ Official website of the Nuts, Bolts & Thingamajigs Foundation
  23. ^ "Early recruitment: Foundation draws youth to careers in manufacturing". Industrial Engineer. May 2009. p. 12.
  24. ^ a b "John Ratzenberger – Fiddlers Bay Productions". 
  25. ^ a b "". 
  26. ^ a b "John Ratzenberger weds Julie Blichfeldt". UPI. November 30, 2012. Retrieved September 19, 2014. 
  27. ^ Rachel E. Stassen-Berger (November 5, 2009). "Pawlenty draws wallets fat … and famous".  
  28. ^ John Ratzenberger and  
  29. ^ "Stars stump in Las Vegas Valley".  
  30. ^ "Tea Party activists hit the Hill, arrested outside Pelosi's office". CNN Political Ticker. November 5, 2009. Retrieved November 5, 2009. 
  31. ^ Obama, Romney turn to star power for help in NV – San Jose Mercury News
  32. ^ John Ratzenberger at the Internet Movie Database


Year Film Role Notes
1976 The Ritz Patron
1977 A Bridge Too Far Lt James Megellas
Twilight's Last Gleaming Sgt. Kopecki
1978 Superman Missile controller
Warlords of Atlantis Fenn
1979 Hanover Street Sergeant John Lucas
1980 Superman II NASA control man
The Empire Strikes Back Major Bren Derlin
Motel Hell Drummer
1981 Outland Tarlow
The Good Soldier Jimmy
1982 Firefox Chief Peck
Warlords of the 21st Century Rusty
Gandhi American Lt. Driver for Bourke-White
Hill Street Blues (episode "Some Like it Hot-Wired") Conman – police impersonator TV Series
1982–1993 Cheers Cliff Clavin
1987 House II: The Second Story Bill
1990 Camp Cucamonga Marvin Schector
1990 The Earth Day Special Cliff Clavin
1990–1992 Captain Planet and the Planeteers Rigger Voice
TV Series
1994 The Simpsons (episode: "Fear of Flying") Cliff Clavin Cameo
1995 Toy Story Hamm the Piggy Bank Voice
1997 That Darn Cat Dusty
Sabrina, the Teenage Witch (episode "Sabrina Claus") Bob/Santa Claus TV Series
One Night Stand Phil
The Detectives (episode "Go West Old Man") Edsel TV Series
1998 A Bug's Life P.T. Flea, the Circus Ring Leader Voice
1999 Toy Story 2 Hamm, the piggy bank
2001 Monsters, Inc. The Abominable Snowman
That '70s Show Glen[32] TV Series
The Drew Carey Show Himself/Various
2002 Spirited Away Assistant Manager Voice
Frasier Cliff Clavin TV Series
2002–2005 8 Simple Rules Paul Hennessy's neighbor, Fred Doyle
2003 Finding Nemo School of Fish Voice
2004 The Incredibles The Underminer
2006 Cars Mack the truck/Hamm Car/Yeti Snowplow/P.T. Flea Car
2007 Ratatouille Mustafa the waiter
2008 The Village Barbershop Art Leroldi
WALL-E John Voice
2009 Up Tom, the construction worker
2010 Toy Story 3 Hamm, the piggy bank
What If... Mike the Angel
2011 Hawaiian Vacation Hamm, the piggy bank Voice
Cars 2 Mack the truck
Melissa & Joey Arnie TV Series
Small Fry Hamm, the piggy bank Voice
2012 Drop Dead Diva Larry Kaswell TV Series
Brave Gordon, the guard Voice
Partysaurus Rex Hamm, the piggy bank
The Woodcarver Ernest
2013 Legit Walter Nugent TV Series
Franklin & Bash Judge Elliot Reid
Monsters University Yeti, the Abominable Snowman Voice
Planes Harland, the pitty
Super Buddies Marvin "Gramps" Livingstone
2014 Planes: Fire & Rescue Brodie Voice
The Simpsons (episode: "Treehouse of Horror XXV") CGI Homer Simpson Cameo
How Murray Saved Christmas Officer Bender Voice
2015 Inside Out Fritz
Russell Madness Mick Vaughn
The Good Dinosaur TBA
2016 Finding Dory School of Fish
2017 Cars 3 Mack the truck
Coco TBA
2018 Toy Story 4 Hamm, the piggy bank


In response to the 2012 Aurora shooting, he said "Hollywood has to, at some point, admit that what they produce does affect the minds of people.... If you just want to shock 'em... society will pay the price for that at some point."[10]

Ratzenberger campaigned for Republican Josh Mandel of Ohio for the State Treasurer position during the 2010 election and on January 10, 2011, served as master of ceremonies for Mandel's swearing into office.

On January 17, 2010, he appeared and endorsed Scott Brown for the United States Senate at Mechanics Hall in Worcester, Massachusetts.

During the 2008 presidential race, Ratzenberger campaigned for John McCain, appearing with former Cheers co-star Kelsey Grammer at several Republican party events.[28][29] He also has been outspoken in opposition of the 2010 health care reform bill, referring to it as socialism.[30] He endorsed Mitt Romney in 2012.[31]

Ratzenberger, a Republican, said he considered running for the U.S. Senate in Connecticut in 2012.[27]

Political activity

After dating for nearly four years, Ratzenberger married Julie Blichfeldt (then 46 years old) on November 6, 2012.[26] Both Ratzenberger and Blichfeldt were described as "avid outdoors enthusiasts, philanthropists and activists".[26]

Ratzenberger has two children, James John born in 1987, and Nina Kathrine born in 1989, both from a 19-year marriage to Georgia Stiny that ended in divorce in 2004.

Personal life

In 2010, Ratzenberger became affiliated with and now represents the Center for America (formerly the Foundation for Fair Civil Justice) to further develop his work and increase awareness about the skilled worker shortage facing the United States and the changes needed to positively impact and increase the number of skilled workers.[24] He joined as a Board Member in 2010.[24] CFA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to "educate, motivate and empower the American people to understand they have the greatest stake in removing obstacles to a fair civil justice system, innovation, entrepreneurism, and job creation."[25] CFA creates multi-media educational programs, publications and website features that reach millions of Americans through radio, television and the internet."[25]

He also co-founded the Nuts, Bolts and Thingamajigs Foundation,[22] dedicated to raising awareness of skilled trades and engineering disciplines among young people.[23]

Ratzenberger co-authored We've Got it Made in America: A Common Man's Salute to an Uncommon Country (ISBN 1-931722-84-6), published in 2006.

Ratzenberger developed a packaging-alternatives product made from biodegradable and non-toxic recycled paper as a safe alternative to styrofoam "peanuts" and plastic bubble wrap. This product was manufactured by his company Eco-Pak Industries, which he later sold.[21]

Ratzenberger at the 2008 Rhode Island International Film Festival

Other work

  • Appeared in the sitcom Sabrina the Teenage Witch as Bob or Santa Claus.
  • Hosted the Travel Channel TV series John Ratzenberger's Made in America, about things made in the USA (2003–2008).
  • Guest-starred in four episodes of the first season of John Ritter's sitcom 8 Simple Rules as Paul Hennessy's overly friendly neighbor Fred Doyle.
  • Hosts the Wildcard section in the PC version of the board game, Trivial Pursuit.
  • Also appeared on That '70s Show as Glen, a man stuck in an awful marriage with his high school sweetheart whose negative example gives Eric second thoughts about marrying Donna.
  • Played Thomas Foy in the TV movie The Pennsylvania Miners' Story.
  • And Shelly Cole star in The Village Barbershop (2008), written and directed by Chris Ford.[18]
  • Made an appearance in Bill Nye the Science Guy.
  • Provided the voice of Rigger in the animated series Captain Planet and the Planeteers.
  • Made an appearance on British show Live from Studio Five (February 17, 2010).
  • Appeared in television commercials promoting the Pitney Bowes personal post office. His sign off tag line is "Hey, I look good in red!"
  • Appeared in commercials for Quality Hotels and Zaxby's restaurant chain (2010).
  • Plays Mike the Angel in What If..., a Pure Flix Entertainment/Jenkins Entertainment movie release in 2010, also starring Kevin Sorbo, Kristy Swanson, and Debby Ryan.[19]
  • Guest starred in Frasier as Cliff Clavin.[20]
  • Hosted the documentary, Industrial Tsunami, intended to wake Americans up to the shortage of skilled workers threatening the existence of American companies and entire industries
  • Appeared in the final episode of Secret Army entitled "The Execution" as a Canadian officer who is bribed by Standartenfuhrer Kessler's mistress Madeleine Duclos to spring Kessler from the POW camp he is incarcerated in.
  • Starred in "A House Divided," the 28th episode of the first season of Melissa & Joey as Arnie the neighbor.
  • Voiced the bathhouse's assistant manager, Aniyaku, in the English dub of Spirited Away.
  • He also made a cameo in the DisneyToon Studios animation "Planes" (2013) playing Harland the pushback vehicle.
  • Made commercials for Ontario's George Wendt

Additional voice, TV and film work

On April 23rd 2015, Ratzenberger appeared as a guest judge on the fourteenth season of Hell's Kitchen for an alcohol challenge, in nod to his appearances on Cheers.

On June 26th 2011, Ratzenberger was asked by NASCAR to give the shouting command for the 2011 Toyota Save-Mart 350 at Sonoma. Ratzenberger accepted and gave the "Gentlemen start your engines" command.

On December 3, 2009, Ratzenberger appeared on an episode of American Chopper to help promote awareness of the Iraq Star Foundation.

On March 2, 2007, it was announced that he would replace Vincent Pastore on the fourth season of the American version of Dancing with the Stars.[17] He was partnered with professional ballroom dancer Edyta Sliwinska, who had been Pastore's partner; the two were the sixth couple to be eliminated from the show.

During George Wendt.

Reality show appearances

His favorite of his Pixar characters was P.T. Flea, because "in real life I always get a kick out of those kinds of characters, people who just go into a rage for [no] explicable reason. He was always on edge. His blood pressure was always way over the top, and everything that he did was done in a panicked state. So it was a lot of fun to play him."[6] Although, technically not Pixar films, Ratzenberger also voiced Harland the jet tug in DisneyToon Studios' Planes (2013)[14][15] and a mustached plane named Brodi in its sequel, Planes: Fire & Rescue (2014).[16]

Ratzenberger's tenure at Pixar was parodied during the end credits of Cars, where his character, Mack, watches car-themed versions of Pixar films (Toy Car Story, Monster Trucks, Inc., and A Bug's Life). Mack notes that all the characters Ratzenberger has played were excellent until he realizes that they are performed by the same actor, at which point he remarks that "They're just using the same actor over and over." and asks "What kind of cut-rate production is this?!"

Ratzenberger has had a voice part in all of Pixar's feature films made to date.[13] His roles include:


[12] The case languished in court for eight years before all sides settled in 2001.[11]

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