More John Ratzenberger Bios & Profiles
Biography #2 (for Kickin' It Old Skool)John Ratzenberger is one of the beloved characters from the long-running hit series Cheers, and he has played his famous character Cliff Clavin on six different television series including Cheers, Frasier, Wings, The Torellis, The Simpsons and St. Elsewhere. The only Cheers cast member to have actually lived in Boston, specifically in the Combat Zone red-light district, Ratzenberger is also the only person to voice a character in all of Pixar Animation's feature films. He was Hamm in Toy Story and Toy Story 2, PT Flea in A Bug's Life, The Abominable Snowman in Monsters, Inc., Fish School in Finding Nemo, Underminer in The Incredibles and numerous voices including Mack and Hamm Truck in John Lasseter's Cars.
Bio courtesy Yari Film Group for "Kickin' It Old Skool" (04-Jun-2007)
Biography #3 (for Spirited Away)John Ratzenberger is the only actor to voice a role in all four Pixar features, and has brought wit and charm to such memorable characters as Hamm the piggy bank in the two Toy Story films, the somewhat charred flea-circus ringmaster P.T. Flea in A Bug's Life, and the cuddly charades-loving Yeti in Monsters, Inc. His role in Spirited Away is the latest in a series of otherworldly characters for Ratzenberger, all of whom deal with their often bizarre surroundings with great aplomb.
Following a hugely successful stint in the role of Cliff Clavin, mailman extraordinaire and trivia king on the hit television show Cheers, Ratzenberger has moved on to producing, directing and writing. His company, Fiddlers Bay Productions, is currently producing a series based on the incredible life of the legendary FBI undercover agent Willie Reagan.
Born in Bridgeport and raised in Black Rock, Connecticut, Ratzenberger attended Sacred Heart University where he was an English major, studied karate and was an archery instructor. In his spare time, he joined the drama club where he made his stage debut in Summer and Smoke. He followed up that part with subsequent leading roles in West Side Story and Waiting for Godot.
Ratzenberger left school after four years, taking a job on an oyster boat until one day he discovered a group of his former college chums waiting at the dock. His pals had tracked him down to replace the lead actor in their production of Murray Schisgal's comedy Luv at the Stowe Playhouse. He stayed on with the playhouse and performed in various one-man shows until the theater burned down (John was out of town at the time). He then took a job as a blacksmith and carpenter in North Wolcott, Vermont. After almost two years there, he took a trip to England for a three-week visit and remained there for ten years.
In London he formed an improvisational theatre group, Sal's Meat Market, for which he co-wrote, directed and acted, portraying as many as 15 characters per show. After attracting the attention of the British Arts Council, he and a partner were given a grant to tour clubs and theaters throughout Europe.
The actor signed for his first motion picture role in 1974 in The Ritz, starring Rita Moreno. He has since appeared in over twenty films including A Bridge Too Far, Yanks, Superman, Superman II, Ragtime, The Empire Strikes Back, Outland and Gandhi.
On his return to the U.S. in 1981, Ratzenberger became more involved in television series and telefilms such as Hill Street Blues, Code Red, the NBC television movie Wedding Bell Blues, and of course Cheers. He has directed various films and TV series including Sister Sister, Madman of the People and Evening Shade.
Ratzenberger is Chairman of Childrenwithdiabetes.com, a nexus for the exchange of information regarding Juvenile Diabetes whose fundraising efforts have secured over $100 million for disease research. An avid environmentalist, he created Eco-Pak Industries, a manufacturer of environmentally safe packaging materials that are sold worldwide.
He lives in the Los Angeles area with his wife and two children. Ratzenberger is currently a board member of Pepperdine University and on Wednesday nights he plays drums for the Sons of the Desert bagpipe band.
Bio courtesy Disney for "Spirited Away" (14-Sep-2002)