Childhood & Early Life
Born on October 17, 1948, in Chicago, Illinois, George Robert Wendt III is the son of Loretta Mary and George Robert Wendt. His father was a navy officer and realtor.
He received his formal education from ‘Campion High School,’ Wisconsin. He enrolled at the ‘University of Notre Dame,’ but was soon expelled after he failed in all the subjects in the first semester.
Thereafter, he attended the ‘Rockhurst College’ in Kansas City, Missouri, and earned his bachelor’s degree in Economics.
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He was working in his father’s real estate firm when he came across the idea of pursuing a career in acting. He started working with ‘The Second City’ troupe in 1975 and eventually became main stage cast of the company.
He made his first on-screen appearance in the film ‘A Wedding’ in 1978. His role, however, went uncredited. His first credited film is ‘My Bodyguard,’ which was released in 1980.
In 1981, he appeared in an episode of ‘Tax.’ He starred in TV series ‘M A S H’ in 1982.
In 1982, Wendt portrayed ‘Norm Peterson’ in the TV sitcom ‘Cheers.’ The show became a hit, and so did his character. The show was about a bar set in Boston where a group of people met and socialize. ‘Cheers’ ran from 1982 to 1993.
His character became so popular that Wendt did a lot of crossover episodes in other TV shows such as ‘The Simpsons,’ ‘St. Elsewhere,’ ‘The Tortellis,’ ‘Family Guy’ and ‘Frasier.’
His role in ‘Cheers’ got him six ‘Emmy Award’ nominations for ‘Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series.’ Wendt remained a part of the show in all seasons.
While starring in ‘Cheers,’ Wendt had an opportunity to appear on ‘Saturday Night Live’ in 1985. In the 90s, he made several appearances as ‘Bob Swerski,’ a Chicago Superfan, on ‘SNL.’
After ‘Cheers’ ended in 1993, Wendt had his own show called ‘The George Wendt Show’ where he played a mechanic for a radio show. The show was similar to the radio show ‘Car Talk.’ His show didn’t run for too long, so Wendt moved on to explore other opportunities. In 1994, he starred in the film ‘Man of the House.’
In 1999, he became a part of the film ‘Outside Province’ where he played a homosexual named ‘Joey.’ He also appeared in Michael Jackson’s music video ‘Black & White.’
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From 2000 to 2010, he appeared in many TV shows, such as ‘Sabrina, The Teenage Witch’ (2001), ‘Becker’ (2002), ‘House of Dreams’ (2004), ‘Modern Men’ (2006), ‘Masters of Horror’ (2006), and ‘Saturday Morning’ (2007).
He starred as ‘Edna Turnblad’ in the Broadway musical ‘Hairspray’ in 2008. He also made an appearance in the horror film ‘Bryan Loves You.’
From 2010 onward, Wendt focused more on Broadway, and played Santa in ‘Elf the Musical.’ He reprised his role as ‘Edna Turnblad’ in a production of ‘Hairspray,’ in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
He also appeared in several series, such as ‘The Ghost Whisperer’ and ‘Cubed.’ In 2011, he guest starred in TV series ‘Hot in Cleveland’ as ‘Yoder,’ which was based on his character in ‘Cheers.’
In 2013, he made a short appearance as a news reporter on ‘Portlandia.’ He also appeared in TV show ‘Harry’s Law.’ In the same year, Wendt starred in another successful play ‘Never Too Late,’ alongside his wife. He played a lumber yard owner whose life turns messy after his wife returns from a doctor’s appointment with life-changing news.
He also starred in the stage adaptation of ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ with Emilia Clarke and Cory Michael Smith. In 2015, he appeared in another TV show ‘Clipped.’
In 2017, he starred in ‘The Fabulous Lipitones,’ at ‘New Theatre Restaurant,’ in Overland Park, Kansas. The same year, he starred in another play ‘Death of a Salesman,’ in Ontario, Canada, where he played the role of ‘Willy Loman.’
He is currently starring in web series ‘Verdene and Glenada.’