Ratzenberger began his theatrical career with a ten year stay in London, England where he toured Europe as part of a comedy troupe; wrote, produced and directed numerous shows for stage, the BBC and Granada Television as well as appearing in over 22 major motion pictures including Gandhi, A Bridge Too Far and Star Wars.
Aside from John’s corporate position with Fiddlers Bay Entertainment, he still continues to be in demand as an accomplished actor and director. Among his recent feature acting work is Mike Figgis’ One Night Stand with Wesley Snipes, Largo Entertainment’s Under Pressure with Charlie Sheen, Pixar’s Bug's Life as the voice of flea circus ringmaster P.T. Flea and Toy Story I and II as the voice of Hamm the piggy bank.
On the small screen, aside from his multi emmy nominated role on Cheers, Ratzenberger has guest starred on "Murphy Brown", "Caroline in the City", "Sister, Sister", "Sabrina the Teen-age Witch" and starred in the recently completed, award winning AMC signature series, "Remember Wenn" to name a few.
As a director, John has demonstrated his skills in various ways with over 30 television series including "Cheers", "Evening Shade", "Madman of the People", "Sister, Sister" and "Pearl", numerous commercials and even the 1998 Superbowl promotion with Dennis Franz and Jerome Bettis.
Being an environmentalist for over thirty years, John founded Eco-Pac Industries in 1989 as a company dedicated to creating environmentally responsible alternatives to existing products. Its first product, QuadraPak, a biodegradable, non-toxic, recycled paper material, has proven a popular and superior packaging alternative to polystyrene peanuts. Eco-Pak Industries soon merged with the Ranpak Corporation and now the products are being used worldwide by such clients as Elizabeth Arden Cosmetics, Hallmark Cards and Nordstrom Department Stores with distribution throughout the U.S., Japan, Holland and Europe.
In 1994, Eco-Litter was developed by both Ratzenberger and Ranpak as a fully self contained, disposable, biodegradable kitty-litter and box. Ratzenberger still continues his work as part of the management team at Ranpak. He also has developed other new products though such ventures as Coach Master International, a producer of interactive educational and training systems for the home, office and commercial facilities.
With all of John’s experience as a product developer and inventor, he was asked by the American Marketing Association to be the Grand Edison New Product Marketer of the Year Award presenter to this years winner. This prestigious award was attended by most of the corporate executives of the top fortune 500 companies.
John Ratzenberger also continues to lend his name and support to a variety of charities as well. He made history by being the first person ever to row a wooden boat, non-stop for 16 hours, around the 35 mile perimeter of Washington’s Vashon Island to raise money for the Special Olympics. John has also helped raise millions of dollars for diabetes research as a National Walk Chairman and recently founded the Ratzenberger Diabetes Research Fund to raise money for an internet network that will for the first time, connect diabetes researchers worldwide and enable them to share information. The John Ratzenberger hosted celebrity 8 ball tournament last year and a cross country ride on a Harley Davidson Motorcycle this year are two of the ways this fund has raised both dollars and awareness for diabetes research.
In June 1996, John was honored as Father of the Year, by the Father’s Day Council of America. Along with his wife Georgia and their two children, John divides his time between his homes in Southern California and the Pacific Northwest. He takes pride in building a new project every summer, enlisting the aid of his children. Their accomplishments range from storage sheds to an actual school that John founded in Vashon.
The constants in Ratzenberger’s life are his commitments to creating quality entertainment, helping others in need, finding a cure for diabetes and spending time with his family.
It was his well-honed improvisational skills that landed him the role on “Cheers,” a role which brought him international prominence. Lovable Postman Cliff Clavin did not exist, in fact, until Ratzenberger improvised the role and within ten minutes created the character that has become part of television history. As he notes, “I explained to them that every neighborhood bar has a resident know-it-all and then demonstrated my version of him.” In addition to early guest starring roles on “Hill Street Blues”, “Wings”, and the Masterpiece Theater production of “The Good Soldier”, Ratzenberger made his motion picture debut in The Ritz in 1974 and has subsequently appeared in upwards of twenty feature films including, Superman I and II, Ragtime, Gandhi, A Bridge Too Far, Yanks, and The Empire Strikes Back.