John Ratzenberger visits West Shore Middle School Wednesday

John Ratzenberger, famous TV and film personality, will be visiting West Shore’s sixth grade students on Wednesday morning.

The purpose of Ratzenberger’s visit is to talk about the importance of the skills the children will need in the future.  Ratzenberger has had a long and notable interest in working and teaching children about the world of manufacturing, engineering, and the world of skilled trades.

Most of us will instantly remember Ratzenberger for the character of Cliff Claven that he played in the long-running sit-com, Cheers.  Following his successes there, Ratzenberger was involved in several other TV shows, including John Ratzenberger’s Made in America (an ‘on the road’ type of show where John visits various manufacturing companies with cameras and shows viewers how common products are made); as well as Dancing With the Stars (4th season).

For the children attending tomorrow’s visit, the more recognizable part of Ratzenberger’s career will be his voice parts in all of the Pixar films that have been created, to date.  Some of the more recognizable parts John has played are Hamm, The Piggy Bank in the Toy Story series of films, P.T. Flea in A Bug’s Life, The Abominable Snowman in the Monsters, Inc. series of films, and Mack the Truck in the Cars film series.

His passion, however, is with ‘how things work.’  The owner of several patents, Ratzenberger created a company that produced an eco-friendly alternative to ‘styrofoam packing peanuts’ used to ship items around the world.

Most notably is his co-founding of the Nuts, Bolts, and Thingamajigs Foundation, an organization dedicated to raising awareness of skilled trades and engineering disciplines among young people.

Ratzenberger was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut and graduated from Sacred Heart University.