What is John Ratzenberger up to these days? I really enjoyed him on 'Cheers.'
—Arnold Pike, Prescott, Ariz.
In the almost 20 years since 'Cheers' has been off the air, Ratzenberger, who played mailman and bar patron Cliff Clavin, has worked almost nonstop, but a dozen of the films he has been a part of have been animated, so you would hear him but not see him.
The latest is the just-released Brave, in which he voices a Scottish castle guard.
“When Pixar was doing Toy Story, they thought of me for the voice of Hamm, the piggy bank,” says the 65-year-old actor, a native of Bridgeport, Conn. “That was almost 18 years ago. I have worked with them on every film since. It is a dream job.”
Something you actually will be able to see him in is the upcoming Hallmark Channel holiday film Matchmaker Santa, airing in late 2012, in which he plays the mechanic/ mayor opposite Lacey Chabert and Florence Henderson. He also made recent appearances on 'Drop Dead Diva' and 'Melissa & Joey.'
Even though there is no shortage of acting gigs for Ratzenberger, he has spent a great deal of time over the past decade bringing attention to an issue about which he is passionate: the skilled worker shortage facing the United States. “The problem is no one has trained people in high school for the past 30 years in how to use tools,” he explains. “We are running out of people who know how to build things. The average age of someone who works in manufacturing is 57 years old. They are going to be retiring soon.”
So Ratzenberger donates his time and energy to M.O.S.T., an organization which identifies job needs via direct contact with manufacturers, trains unemployed vets in mobile classrooms and, through its efforts, has put 11,000 veterans back to work.
With as much as he has on his plate, the divorced father of two adult children says he wouldn’t mind if NBC put together a 'Cheers' reunion. “It is a head-scratcher to me why they haven’t done it yet, because you are never too old to sit at a bar. You can be propped up at a bar until they put you in the ground.”