George Wendt

Active - 1980 - 2020  |   Born - Oct 17, 1948 in Chicago, Illinois, United States  |   Genres - Comedy

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Biography by Hal Erickson

There's no mystery concerning the hometown of George Wendt. The heavyset, curly haired actor never misses a talk show opportunity to cheer on his beloved Chicago "Cubbies" or "Da Bears." After theater work in Chicago and New York and a handful of TV appearances on sitcoms like M*A*S*H and Alice, Wendt inaugurated his signature role of burly, unemployed barfly Norm Peterson on TV's long-running Cheers (1983-1993); so far as it can be determined, he still hasn't paid his bar tab, which according to TV Guide totalled up to 64,218 dollars at the end of 11 seasons. He starred in the short-lived The George Wendt Show, and continued to work steadily on both the small and big screen in a variety of projects including Spice World, Outside Providence, Teddy Bears' Picnic, and Edmond. He also reprised his iconic role of Norm on an episode of the successful Cheers spinoff Frasier.

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  • Grandfather Tom Howard, a news photographer, snapped the infamous 1928 picture of murderer Ruth Snyder at the moment of her execution in the electric chair at Sing Sing Prison. It appeared on the New York Daily News' front page.
  • Met his wife while both were members of Chicago's Second City comedy troupe.
  • Made his film debut in 1980's My Bodyguard.
  • Also played his beer-swilling Cheers character, Norm, on St. Elsewhere, The Tortellis, The Simpsons, Wings, Frasier, and Family Guy.
  • Is one of three original cast members to have appeared in all 273 episodes of Cheers; Ted Danson and Rhea Perlman are the other two.
  • Played Macaulay Culkin's father in Michael Jackson's "Black or White" video. Also appeared in videos for Ray Parker Jr.'s "Ghostbusters" and Soul Asylum's "Black Gold."