Military & Veterans News

VetFamily: Cast of “Cheers” is Back

Stars from "Cheers" back in the news

Here’s good news for you 1980s retro fans. The long-running NBC sitcom Cheers is back in bar chats this week as part of the show’s original set goes up for auction. Several actors from the hit 80s tv-show come from military families, including George Wendt and John Ratzenberger, who reunited last week to sit at the familiar wooden countertop that’s up for grabs.

“It was fantastic, so great to see the bar,” Wendt, 74, said in a Heritage Auction video aired on Boston’s 7 News.

Famous for his character Norm, Wendt was one of nine children and grew up with a father who served as an officer in the Navy. George Robert Wendt, made a few appearances with his son on Cheers. During the 11 seasons and 275 episodes that Cheers aired, Wendt earned six consecutive nominations for Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. Alongside his television career, he moved into Broadway, performing in Hairspray and Elf the Musical.

Wendt is also uncle to comedian Jason Sudeikis, who plays Ted Lasso in the self-titled hit AppleTV series.

John Ratzenberger played Cliff Clavin, for which he won two Primetime Emmy nominations. His father, Dezső Alexander Ratzenberger, was a WWII veteran of Austrian and Hungarian descent, and served as a combat engineer in the Philippines. The young Ratzenberger began acting in London in the 1970s and landed roles in European films before Cheers. He went on to play voice roles in the first 22 movies that Pixar made. Notable characters include Hamm in all four Toy Story movies, the school of Moonfish in Finding Nemo, and most recently Fenwick, the cyclops construction worker in Onward.

“It’s so impressive what [the Airmen] do here, and most people don’t realize it’s here,” said Ratzenberger when he toured with the USO to Vandenberg Air Force Base for the premiere of “Cars 3”, another Pixar production.

“The rockets, the satellites, and all of the people that put it together make me so proud to be an American. I thank God every day that I was born in this country and to meet people that run this base, and bases like it. It is a very reassuring feeling.”

Their Cheers co-star, the late Kirstie Alley, also came from a military family in Wichita, Kansas. Her father, Robert Alley, was a former Navy submariner before he owned a lumber company.

“I’m one of those people who’s extremely grateful we have defense,” she said in 2004 at McConnell Air Force Base, where she worked as a base lifeguard before her television fame.

“We think about people who are in Iraq. We think about the (servicemembers) a lot in our family. I don’t know how you say thank you for protecting us, but thank you for protecting us,” she said at the time, the height of the war in Iraq.

Aside from bidding of the Cheers set, other high-ticket items from the collection include Batman and Robin’s costumes from the 1960s’ Batman, the directional signpost from M*A*S*H, and Captain Kirk’s tunic from the original Star Trek series, the desks and couches from Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show and David Letterman’s Late Show and the Bunker family’s living room from All in the Family. Online bidding on the items has already begun, and live bidding is scheduled for June 2 to June 4 in Dallas.

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