A bad audition for Cheers created Cliff Clavin
TV's most famous mailman Cliff Clavin is adored by fans for being the friendly, talkative know-it-all everyone can relate to. Cliff's mailbag of fun facts would lead him being not only a comedy legend, but a postal industry hero having his own uniform on display at the National Postal Museum.
Cliff may be John Ratzenberger's most recognizable role, but it wasn't the one he initially auditioned for, mainly because it didn’t exist yet.
In 1982, the producers of Cheers began their 6-month process of casting for the first season. Among those who auditioned was John Ratzenberger, who flew all the way from England to try out for the part of Norm.
Ratzenberger didn't get the laughs that he was looking for as Norm and bombed his audition. On his way out the door he asked the producers if they had written in a "bar know-it-all" for the series yet. Without recieving much of an answer to his question he began to improvise his version of a talkative guy at a bar in the hope of getting one last laugh.
The producers gave Ratzenberger a call back just days after the audition. Instead of Norm, they wanted him to come back as the character he improvised as for a few episodes of Cheers. Those episodes quickly expanded and Cliff Clavin was seen in every episode but 1 that first season.
Born from a last ditch effort for laughs, Cliff would stay on with Cheers for all 11 seasons and become the sitcom legend we know and love.
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