|Education St. Ann's School|
Height 1.75 m
|Name John Ratzenberger|
Years active 1976–present
|Full Name John Deszo Ratzenberger|
Born April 6, 1947 (age 68) (1947-04-06) Bridgeport, Connecticut, U.S.
Alma mater Sacred Heart University
Occupation Actor, voice actor, entrepreneur
Known for Cliff Clavin Various Pixar film roles
Television Cheers John Ratzenberger's Made in America
Spouse Julie Blichfeldt (m. 2012), Georgia Stiny (m. 1985–2004), Caroline Ratzenberger (m. ?–1983)
Children James John Ratzenberger, Nina Kathrine Ratzenberger
Parents Dezso Alexander Ratzenberger, Bertha Grochowski
Movies and TV shows Toy Story, Cheers, Cars, Monsters - Inc, Toy Story 3
Similar People George Wendt, Rhea Perlman, Shelley Long, John Lasseter, Bob Peterson
John Dezso Ratzenberger (born April 6, 1947) is an American actor, voice actor, and entrepreneur. He is best known as Cliff Clavin in Cheers. He is also known for his extensive vocal work in Pixar Animation Studios' films, notably Hamm in the Toy Story franchise and Mack in the Cars franchise.
- John ratzenberger
- cars john ratzenberger
- Early life
- Reality show appearances
- Additional voice TV and film work
- Other work
- Personal life
- Political views
cars john ratzenberger
Ratzenberger was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, the son of Bertha Veronica (née Grochowski), who worked for Remington Arms, and Dezso Alexander Ratzenberger, a Texaco truck driver. His father was of Austrian and Hungarian descent, and his mother was of Polish ancestry. He attended St. Ann's School in Bridgeport and Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut. In 1969, Ratzenberger was a tractor operator at the Woodstock Festival. He moved to London in 1971 and stayed there for 10 years.
Ratzenberger was a house framer living in London when he began his career in the performing arts. Through the 1970s, he performed with Ray Hassett as the comedic theatrical duo Sal’s Meat Market, which toured across the UK. Peter Richardson and Nigel Planer as The Outer Limits and in The Comic Strip were heavily influenced by Sal’s Meat Market. 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, as Lieutenant James Megellas; 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 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 were not 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. Ratzenberger also came up with the idea for Cliff's trademark white socks, which he wore as a tribute to French comedian Jacques Tati. 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 sixth-season episode "Fear of Flying".
When Paramount Television licensed the look of the Cheers bar to the Host International subsidiary of Host Marriott Services for use in airports in the U.S. and New Zealand, the group also created animatronic barflies. They were called "Hank" and "Bob"; Ratzenberger and George Wendt claimed Hank and Bob resembled them, and in January 1993, sued Host for using their likenesses without permission. The case languished in court for eight years before all sides settled in 2001.
Ratzenberger has had a voice part in all of Pixar's feature films made to date, ranging from main characters to characters who appear in only one scene. His roles include:
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, "They're just using the same actor over and over," and asks "What kind of cut-rate production is this?!"
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." Although technically not Pixar films, Ratzenberger also voiced Harland the jet tug in DisneyToon Studios' Planes (2013) and a mustached plane named Brodi in its sequel, Planes: Fire & Rescue (2014).
Reality show appearances
During season six of Last Comic Standing, Ratzenberger was a talent scout with his former Cheers co-star George Wendt.
On March 2, 2007, he replaced Vincent Pastore (who had quit after one week of training) on the fourth season of the American version of Dancing with the Stars. 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.
On December 3, 2009, Ratzenberger appeared on an episode of American Chopper to help promote awareness of the Iraq Star Foundation.
On June 26, 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 April 23, 2015, Ratzenberger appeared as a guest judge on the 14th season of Hell's Kitchen for an alcohol challenge, in nod to his appearances on Cheers.
Additional voice, TV, and film work
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.
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.
He also co-founded the Nuts, Bolts and Thingamajigs Foundation, dedicated to raising awareness among young people of skilled trades and engineering disciplines.
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. He joined as a Board Member in 2010. 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." CFA creates multi-media educational programs, publications, and website features that reach millions of Americans through radio, television, and the internet."
In 2016, Ratzenberger launched thegiftbox.com, an e-commerce website that allows customers to subscribe to a variety of monthly boxes.
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.
After dating for nearly four years, Ratzenberger married Julie Blichfeldt (then 46 years old) on November 6, 2012. Both Ratzenberger and Blichfeldt were described as "avid outdoors enthusiasts, philanthropists, and activists".
Ratzenberger, a Republican, said he considered running for the U.S. Senate in Connecticut in 2012.
During the 2008 presidential race, Ratzenberger campaigned for John McCain, appearing with former Cheers co-star Kelsey Grammer at several Republican party events. He also has been outspoken in opposition of the 2010 health care reform bill, referring to it as socialism. He endorsed Mitt Romney in 2012. He appeared on Your World with Neil Cavuto to support Donald Trump's candidacy during the 2016 presidential race, shortly after Trump was declared the presumptive Republican nominee.
On January 17, 2010, he appeared and endorsed Scott Brown for the United States Senate at Mechanics Hall in Worcester, Massachusetts.
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.
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."