Wednesday, November 21, 2007

George WendtGeorge Wendt
George Robert Wendt (born October 17, 1948) is an American actor perhaps best known for the role of Norm Peterson on the television show Cheers.

Early life
He is also an alumnus of The Second City which he discovered shortly after college. A viewing had inspired him to join and on his first day of employment, he showed up promptly at 11:30AM as he was instructed. The woman working there handed him a broom and said "Welcome to the theater, kid"; thus, his first job in showbiz was sweeping up cigarette butts off the floors. Second City was also where he met his future wife, Bernadette Birkett, who was to later play the voice of Norm's never-seen wife, Vera, on Cheers. In 1989, Wendt appeared as the eponymous protagonist in a BBC TV dramatization of Ivan Goncharov's novel Oblomov. He has also appeared twice (two episodes were made from one day's filming) on the original British edition of Whose Line Is It Anyway?.
George Wendt first appeared on the NBC sketch show Saturday Night Live in a Season 11 (1985–1986) episode where he shared hosting duties with director Francis Ford Coppola. (Coppola only appeared on the episode in sketches that pertain to a running gag throughout the episode where Coppola, Lorne Michaels, and then-writer/castmember Terry Sweeney work to "retool" SNL's sketches for better ratings, a reference to SNL's ratings being so low in the 1985-1986 season due to the young, inexperienced cast Lorne hired that Brandon Tartikoff considered cancelling the show.) In the early 1990s, Wendt made cameo appearances on several episodes of SNL as Bob Swerski, one of the Chicago Superfans (along with castmembers Chris Farley, Mike Myers, Robert Smigel, and one-time host, Joe Mantegna). Also, Wendt is the uncle of current SNL writer and cast member Jason Sudeikis.
Wendt has since appeared as himself on Seinfeld and has reprised the character Norm Peterson on the The Simpsons as well as the Frasier episode "Cheerful Goodbyes". In 2003, Wendt appeared as a celebrity fisherman in the music video for Corba Verde's "Riot Industry" along with Rudy Ray Moore (of "Dolemite" fame) and The Minutemen's Mike Watt. He appeared in several episodes of Sabrina, The Teenage Witch as the title character's boss. He also was the host of the A&E reality show, House of Dreams in 2004. In January 2006, Wendt was seen again on television screens as part of the cast of Modern Men.
In May 2006, Wendt was seen yet again on television. He made several appearances on Late Night with Conan O'Brien where he performed short skits to the audience's delight. His appearance on Late Night was in all likelihood due to the fact that the show was having a week long event in his hometown of Chicago where he is beloved. He starred in a 2006 episode of Masters of Horror entitled "Family", directed by John Landis. Wendt performed alongside Richard Thomas in Twelve Angry Men in October 2006 in the Eisenhower Theater in Washington, DC. After the show opened, Wendt was interviewed by local movie critic Arch Campbell for a piece on the NBC Washington affiliate WRC. Wendt was asked, "What should people do when they see you around town?" After hesitating for a moment, Wendt held his thumbs up and replied, "If their impulse is to buy me a beer, then by all means, follow that impulse." In Spring 2007, Wendt performed in Twelve Angry Men in Los Angeles.

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