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Master improvisational actor John Deszo Ratzenberger was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut on April 6, 1947. He was raised in a hard working, blue-collar family neighborhood as one of three children. In grade school, John attended St. Ann's school where he got his first taste of the stage.

John attended Sacred Heart University, majoring in English literature. During these college years, John joined the drama club and starred in his first lead. As an understudy placed in the lead at the last moment, he forgot his lines and entirely improvised the second and third act of Tennessee William's "Summer and Smoke," bringing the audience to a standing ovation. He continued with lead roles in subsequent plays.

After college, John performed various one-man shows and directed at the Stowe Playhouse in Vermont. It was here that he developed his low key acting style that combines wit with the assured presence of old Hollywood types. After the playhouse closed, John moved to London where he enjoyed great success as an actor, writer and director in Europe from 1971 to 1981.

John formed the improvisational theatre duo, "Sal's Meat Market," in which he co-wrote, directed, and starred. After the first year, "Sal's Meat Market" performed to standing room only crowds throughout Europe. During these years, John became a master at integrating mime, dance, song and improv in 634 performances. Tight theatre schedules and good training shaped John's talent into the master improvisational acting for which he is famous. The British Arts Council awarded John and his partner a full grant to tour clubs and theatres throughout Europe, recognizing his comic talent from 1973 to 1978.

London's Evening Standard wrote, "the current show demands at least 20 fact, they are all two men...they are like two musicians who skid around at great speed to give the impression that a full orchestra is playing. It's done with incisive timing and a hard-edged wit that stops short only this side of hysteria."

To this day, John's comedy troupe is the only American group to have received a grant from the British Arts Council.

In between his theatre touring in Europe, John was a producer and screenwriter for the BBC, Paravision, Royal Court Theater, Hampstead Theater Club, Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, and Granada TV. Projects he penned include: 5 Minutes in America, The Golden Dreamboat, Friends in Space, Crown Court and Winner Take All.

On the silver screen, John's first motion picture role was in the Golden Globe nominated The Ritz (1976), directed by Richard Lester and starring Rita Moreno and Jack Weston.

During this time in England, John appeared in over 22 major motion pictures making him not just a movie star, but also an actor to be reckoned with. His credits also include Gandhi (1982) and Star Wars' Empire Strikes Back (1980). Additionally, he starred in the Granada TV series, Small World.

His unparalleled professionalism has been described as, "John seemed to always have tremendous ease in front of the camera. This is part of his film prowess, too." 

In 1982, he took a writing assignment for CBS in Los Angeles. On the day he was scheduled to return to London, he auditioned for a role on the upcoming Cheers. The character of the postman did not exist when John auditioned for Cheers. When he finished auditioning for another part, he asked the writers if they had a bar "know-it-all" character.

Since they did not, John described such a character, "I explained to them that every neighborhood bar has a resident know-it-all and then demonstrated my version of him." An American icon was born in just five minutes of improv. John's improvisational skills created the lovable postman and trivia king, "Cliff Clavin." The Cheers team jumped on John's concept immediately, rewriting the pilot to include the quintessential mailman.

John's mastery improvisation as to what "Cliff" would say or do, did not stop at the audition. On the set, John was well known to re-write his own lines, always using the same theme and the same allotted time, so as not to upset the rhythm of the other actors. John is credited with the creation of "Cliff Clavin" on Cheers.

John's hugely successful 11-year role of Cliff achieved iconic status. In the history of TV, only a handful of shows have achieved the worldwide success of Cheers. During its first year, Cheers amassed 28 Emmys, and created legends of its stars and characters. To this day, Cliff Clavin continues as one of America's most loved characters through the daily syndication of Cheers.

How does a mail carrier become a trivia wiz? John explains, "A postman meets people from all walks of life on his route. Since Cliff also reads all the literature he delivers, he really does believe that he knows it all."

John has acted in 38 major motion pictures, including Determination of Death (2001), Superman 1 (1978) and 2 (1980), One Night Stand (1997), Tick Tock (1999), That Darn Cat (1997), She's Having a Baby (1988), Protocol (1984), The Falcon and the Snowman (1985), Ragtime (1981), Reds (1981), Outland (1981), Yanks (1979), and A Bridge Too Far (1977).

As Hollywood's most versatile vocal talent, John is the only actor to voice a role in all of the Pixar films. It began with the charming and witty Hamm the piggy bank in Toy Story 1 (1995) and 2 (1999), and then came P.T. Flea, the excitable circus ringmaster in Bug's Life (1998), and the lovable snow monster Yeti in Monsters, Inc.(2002). In the best-selling DVD in history, John plays the ever-changing school of Moonfish in Finding Nemo (2003). Upcoming, he will be heard as the philosophical character in Pixar's Incredibles (2004), and as a Mac-truck in Cars (2005).

Pixar artists always include John's recognizable eyebrows and mustache as part of the animated characters' charm. Pixar has been quoted as saying that "John is our good luck charm." John replies, "as an actor, it's a joy to be working with the Pixar's really refreshing to work with people who know what they're doing and I hope this relationship continues for a long time." Smiling, John can't help but add, "I've already put my application in as a custodian at their new building."

Other animation voice-over roles can be found in Miyazaki's Academy-Award winning Spirited Away (2003), and TBS' series, New Adventures of Captain Planet (1987-1990), among others.

John Ratzenberger is one of TV's most successful and well-known stars. Beginning in 2004, John is starring in John Ratzenberger's Made in America, appearing four times per week on the Travel Channel, part of the Discovery conglomerate. This series, created by John, brings viewers the stories of the best products made in the U.S. It honors American men and women who invent and build products that are the backbone of our economy. John traveled throughout the U.S. to visit the factories and people who put together such products as: Harley Davidson, Chevrolet, Harman luggage, Gatorade, Crayola, Campbell's Soup, John Deere farm equipment, Monopoly, Craftsman tools and Goodyear Tires. John states, "these are the people who really built America, who get up every morning and work their hearts out every day. They get their hands dirty and they are great at what they do. They take pride in their workmanship, and there's nothing like it."

Additionally, he created and hosted Fox's series, Wow! The Most Awesome Acts on Earth (1996). 

On the TV screen, John executive produced and created Fox's The World's Most Incredible Animal Rescues (1997-1999). As host, creator and executive producer, John integrated life and art in Home and Garden TV series American Hobbies and Pastimes with John Ratzenberger (1994). One of the first reality shows, it gave an adventurous look at unusual hobbies, visiting with "regular" Americans in their homes. He created, executive produced, and starred in Fox's situation comedy pilot Locals (1994). He executive produced NBC's And Now You Know (1995), in which he focuses his camera on "people who know how to fix things." 

As a much-loved American icon, John has appeared as himself on live episodes of Fox's Best Damn Sports Show (2004), TV Tales (2002), The Drew Carey Show (2001), E! True Hollywood Story (2000), The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (1993), and Monty Python's Flying Circus: Live at Aspen (1998), as well as endless TV interviews. 

John has guest-starred in a variety of TV shows including: 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter (2003), That 70's Show (2001), Touched By An Angel (2000), Sabrina the Teenage Witch (1997), Caroline in the City (1996), Sister, Sister (1995), Murphy Brown (1994), The Love Boat (1985), Magnum P.I. (1984), and Hill Street Blues (1982), among others.

John portrayed his character "Cliff" in Fraiser (2002), eight NBC TV specials (1986-2002), The Simpson's (1994), Blossom (1993), Wings (1990), The Tortelli's (1987), and St. Elsewhere (1985). 

John has acted in many TV movies as well. He starred as miner Tom Foy in ABC's The Pennsylvania Miners' Story (2002). Other acting credits for TV movies include: Bent Tree Production's A Fare to Remember (1999), AMC's award-winning Remember Wenn (1998), NBC's How I Spent My Summer (1990), Going to the Chapel (1988) and Combat Academy (1986), Largo Entertainment's Under Pressure (1997) with Charlie Sheen, CBS' Timestalkers (1987), PBS Masterpiece Theatre's The Good Soldier (1997) and BBC's Song of a Sourdough (1997) and The Detectives (1997). 

John continues to direct, produce and write. He currently heads up his own production company, Fiddlers Bay Productions, located in Los Angeles.

He has directed more than 50 TV episodes including several on: Cheers (1982), Down Home (1991), Madman of the People, Pearl (1996) and Sister, Sister (1994). John also directed single episodes of MTM's Evening Shade (1990),and Warner Brother's Sydney (1991).

John has a number of directorial credits in the commercial field, including the Superbowl promo with Dennis Franz and Jerome Bettis (1998), Pitney Bowes, and Cellular One. A series of commercials that John wrote, directed and starred in on the Internet for earned him the coveted Ages Awards. Additionally, two of his TV commercials that he starred in and scripted went on to win the desired Cleo awards. 

Outside the entertainment industry, John's love and respect for nature and the environment influenced his business interests. John founded Eco-pack Industries, Inc. in 1989 to produce packaging alternatives to existing products that are toxic to our environment. The first product, Quadra-pack, became an international success with clients including Hallmark, Elizabeth Arden, and Nordstrom. Made from recycled paper, biodegradable and non-toxic, this product is a safe alternative to styrofoam "peanuts" and plastic bubble wrap. John's motto is, "Because it's the only earth we have."

John has been an environmental activist for over three decades and remains a supporter of the World Wildlife Fund, Natural Resources Defense Council, American Farmland Trust, Environmental Defense Fund, and Long Live the Kings, a salmon-breeding program in the Pacific Northwest. He concludes, "I have never been a member of the cause of the month club. Concern for the environment shouldn't be confined to a one day celebration every 20 years." 

As a humanitarian, John serves as chairman of the world's largest Internet venture connecting diabetes information and research. The web site, receives an average of 3 million hits per month. The organization he developed has a 14 member medical staff available to assist families with questions and coordinate research information with other doctors. As National Walk Chairman, John has raised over $100 million for diabetes, the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. In John's words, "Insulin is not a cure for diabetes; a cure has yet to be found for the 18 million Americans, over 6% of the population, who struggle each day for a normal lifestyle."

Combining his charitable endeavors with his sportsmanship, John drove his Harley Davidson cross-country from NY to Las Vegas to raise awareness for Juvenile Diabetes in 1998. In another fund-raiser in 1993, John rowed a boat nonstop for more than 45 miles around Vashon Island, off Washington State, to raise money for Special Olympics. John holds the record as the only person to ever make this 16-hour trip non-stop.

With a family including one son and one daughter, John is an advocate for other children's organizations. He has promoted literacy through Cities in Schools and established a library at a Los Angeles home for neglected and abused children. He takes pride in his board seat at Pepperdine University, one of the highest quality education universities in America. John is the founder of a private grade school in Washington State, named Harbor School. "The children are our world's future; anything I can do to help them, I'm in," John has been known to say. He also sits on the board of the Willie Ross School for the Deaf in Massachusetts. 

John's awards are as well rounded as he is. In 2002, his alma mater honored him with a doctorate of Humane Letters for his contribution to the American Arts. He earned the "Father of the Year" Award in 1996 by the Father's Day Council of America and John received the Outstanding Roll Model Award from the American Diabetes Association. As a comic talent, he earned outstanding supporting actor Emmy (1985-1986) nominations, with Cheers earning a record 28 Emmys. 

Today, John splits his time between busy Los Angeles and quiet San Diego. Called as a public speaker for the entertainment industry and for his philanthropic charities, he is often traveling. During his free time, john is an avid sailor, fisherman and billiard player. He enjoys international travel, fencing and collecting antiques. He plays the drums and belongs to a bagpipe band, as part of the Emerald Society. Sports such as karate, yoga and skeet shooting keep him active. 

John has an active membership in: Screen Actors Guild, American Federation of TV and Radio Artists, Writers Guild of America, Directors Guild of America and the British Actors' Equity Association.

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