George Wendt (Actor) - Cheers
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Updated: 8/07/23

Name: George Wendt

Birth Name: George Robert Wendt Jr.

Born: October 17, 1948 in Chicago, Illinois, USA

Nickname: Norm

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Claim To Fame: George Wendt is an American actor and comedian best known for playing Norm Peterson on the television sitcom Cheers (1982-1993), which earned him six consecutive nominations for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series.

Family Life: Wendt has been married to Bernadette Birkett since 1978; they have three children: Hilary, Joe, and Daniel.

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Info: Surname pronounced "Went".

His parents were Loretta Mary and George Robert Wendt, an officer in the Navy and a realtor.

He is one of nine children, with six sisters-Nancy, Karen, Mary Ann, Kathryn, Loretta, and Marti-as well as two brothers, Tom and Paul.

His maternal grandfather was photographer Tom Howard.

Wendt is of Irish and one quarter German descent.

He attended Campion High School in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin.

Was expelled from the University of Notre Dame after he received a 0.00 GPA the first semester of his junior year.

He later attended the Jesuit Rockhurst College in Kansas City, Missouri, where he graduated with a B.A. in economics.

Wendt is an uncle of actor and former SNL writer and cast member Jason Sudeikis, his sister Kathryn's son.

Is an avid Notre Dame football fan.

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Trivia: Wendt is a 1975 alumnus of The Second City, which he discovered shortly after college. Seeing the show inspired him to join. On his first day, he showed up promptly at 11:30 am and the woman working there handed him a broom and said "Welcome to the theater, kid".

It's also where he met his future wife, Bernadette Birkett, who played Cliff's Halloween date in the third season of Cheers and later in the series played the voice of Norm's never-seen wife, Vera.

From 1982 to 1993, Wendt appeared as Norm Peterson in every episodes of Cheers. For his work on Cheers, Wendt earned six Primetime Emmy Award nominations for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series.

Has played Norm Peterson on seven different shows: Cheers (1982), St. Elsewhere (1982), The Tortellis (1987), The Simpsons (1989), Wings (1990), Frasier (1993), and Family Guy (1999).

His first appearance on Saturday Night Live was in a season 11 (1985-1986) episode where he shared hosting duties with director Francis Ford Coppola.

In the early 1990s, Wendt made cameo appearances on several episodes of SNL as Bob Swerski, one of the Chicago Superfans (along with cast members Chris Farley, Mike Myers, Robert Smigel, and one-time host, Joe Mantegna). Having grown up as a lifelong fan of his hometown Chicago White Sox and Chicago Bears, Wendt's Bob Swerski character is said to be a "spot-on" characterization of Chicago's south-side citizens.

In 1991, Wendt appeared in Michael Jackson's music video "Black or White".

In 2003, Wendt appeared as a celebrity fisherman in the music video for Cobra Verde's "Riot Industry" along with Rudy Ray Moore (of "Dolemite" fame) and The Minutemen's Mike Watt.

Wendt performed alongside Richard Thomas in Twelve Angry Men in October 2006 in the Eisenhower Theatre in Washington, D.C. After the show opened, Wendt was interviewed by local film 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 12 Angry Men in Los Angeles.

In 2008, and again in 2010, George starred in the Broadway musical Hairspray as the character of Edna Turnblad.

Wendt is among the thespians who participated in a poster campaign touting live theatre in Chicago. Other celebrities included John Mahoney, John Malkovich, Terry Kinney, and Martha Plimpton.

In 2013, Wendt appeared in a television commercial for State Farm Insurance. Wendt and Robert Smigel reprise their roles from SNL as the Chicago Superfans, who encounter quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

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Where Are They Now: In 2023, Wendt competed in season nine of The Masked Singer as "Moose". He was eliminated on "'80s Night" alongside Christine Quinn as "Scorpio".

Wendt also has two projects on the horizon. First, the comedic TV-Movie Compound Fractures and the romantic TV-Movie Love's Second Act, which co-stars Jodie Sweetin.


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