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John  Ratzenberger

John Ratzenberger

Emmy-Nominated Actor, Director, Writer, Producer, Inventor & Philanthropist


A multi-Emmy-nominated actor and accomplished screenwriter, director and author, John Ratzenberger may be best known for playing mail carrier Cliff Clavin on the long-running NBC sitcom Cheers. Though never a postman in real life, he worked as a journeyman carpenter, archery instructor and oyster boat crewman. He created and starred in the Travel Channel series Made in America, which highlighted U.S.-made goods and workers. Ratzenberger is passionate about how important it is for this country to recognize the need for, and to provide the training to produce skilled laborers. Read More >

cognize the need for, and to provide the training to produce skilled laborers.

“My mother used to give us old radios and toasters, with the cords cut off,” said Ratzenberger. “She told us to take them apart. Growing up, everyone we knew could make something, knew how to fix things. We are losing that and we need to get it back.” “Kids today are not making things,” he said. “Instead they are going to college to get degrees and can’t get a job. There are plenty of jobs out there. We just need to teach kids the skills. Many today, do not even know how to use simple tools, hammers and screwdrivers. Manufacturers say they can’t even read a ruler. How are they going to build airplanes?”

With Made in America, Ratzenberger established a television precedent and led the way for a new series of Dirty Jobs, Deadliest Catch and Ice Road Truckers to celebrate the work ethic that built America. He co-authored A Common Man’s Salute to an Uncommon Country. His current foundation, the Foundation for America, exists to educate and prepare American workers, manufacturers, educators, innovators and leaders for an American manufacturing renaissance.

Along with work in feature films, from major studio blockbusters like Superman and Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back to independent films like the recent drama The Woodcarver, animation has been a natural home to his versatile vocal talents. Ratzenberger is the only actor to participate in every Pixar film, voicing the iconic characters of Mack the Truck and Hamm the Piggy Bank.

Ratzenberger is currently in pre-production on a new television series with the purpose to awaken Americans to the shortage of skilled workers that threatens our country as a whole. He has recently been a recurring character on FX’s LEGIT, Drop Dead Diva, Franklin & Bash, Bones and CSI. He attended St. Ann's School and Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT and in 1971, he moved to London. While working as a house framer in London, he began his career in the performing arts. Ratzenberger is also the inventor and founder of ECOPACK, a biodegradable, shipping material used all over the world. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

Improving Education for Manufacturing Jobs

Commencement Address

Booking Reel

Made in America

Speech Topics

Made in America: Educating, Motivating & Empowering Americans to Expand Skills & Entrepreneurship

The Industrial Tsunami Heading Our Way

The Environment & Sustainability