Last Call Came 25+ Years Ago: See The Cast Of ‘Cheers’ Then And Now

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CLIFF CLAVIN (Actor: JOHN RATZENBERGER)

NBC/GETTY IMAGES; DENISE TRUSCELLO/GETTY IMAGES

Every pub has one – that person who has a story for every occasion knows useless and questionable facts and will happily talk to anyone who comes within a few yards of them – whether they want to or not.

For Cheers that was Cliff – a postal worker who lives with his mother and finds it very hard to talk to women and who sees Sam as a hero.

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Despite his numerous annoying tendencies, Cliff had a heart of gold and, although they didn’t always show it, the Cheers gang loved him to bits.

Born in Connecticut, US, Ratzenberger actually made his way into performing while working as a house framer in London.

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He also had small roles in blockbusters Superman, Superman II and The Empire Strikes Back.

You may not necessarily have seen him much after Cheers ended – but you have almost certainly heard him, as Ratzenberger has appeared in every single Pixar film and is known as the studio’s mascot, notably as Hamm the Piggy Bank in the Toy Story series.

ERNIE ‘COACH’ PANTUSSO (Actor: NICHOLAS COLASANTO)

Dim-witted and ‘borderline senile’, Coach was the lovable doofus of Cheers, working behind the bar and generally not understanding anything going on around him.

But everything he did came with a smile on his face and he was probably the definitive ‘lovable loser’ among the gang and a close friend and confident of Sam’s.

Nicholas Colasanto came into the role off the back of a successful stint directing episodes of big-name shows including Starsky and Hutch, CHiPs, Columbo and the original Hawaii Five-O.

A World War Two veteran who served in the US Navy, Colasanto was set to become an accountant in the mid-1950s but changed his mind and went to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts instead.

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His career was put in jeopardy after he developed heart disease in the mid-1970s and he was set to retire before being offered the role in Cheers.

 

Everplans

Colasanto’s health got worse as the show went on, although he kept it a secret from the cast and crew. By January 1985, during the third season of the show, he was hospitalized, and, although he was released in early February, he suffered a fatal heart attack on February 12 at home in Los Angeles.

He was subsequently written out of the show as having died off-screen and a picture from his dressing room of Native American leader Geronimo was placed on the set as a tribute.

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