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SPIRITED AWAY

JOHN RATZENBERGER (Assistant Manager) is the only actor to voice a role in all four Pixar features, and has brought wit and charm to such memorable characters as Hamm the piggy bank in the two "Toy Story" films, the somewhat charred flea-circus ringmaster P.T. Flea in "A Bug's Life," and the cuddly charades-loving Yeti in "Monsters, Inc." His role in "Spirited Away" is the latest in a series of otherworldly characters for Ratzenberger, all of whom deal with their often bizarre surroundings with great aplomb.

Following a hugely successful stint in the role of Cliff Clavin, mailman extraordinaire and trivia king on the hit television show "Cheers," Ratzenberger has moved on to producing, directing and writing. His company, Fiddlers Bay Productions, is currently producing a series based on the incredible life of the legendary FBI undercover agent Willie Reagan.

Born in Bridgeport and raised in Black Rock, Connecticut, Ratzenberger attended Sacred Heart University where he was an English major, studied karate and was an archery instructor. In his spare time, he joined the drama club where he made his stage debut in "Summer and Smoke." He followed up that part with subsequent leading roles in "West Side Story" and "Waiting for Godot."

Ratzenberger left school after four years, taking a job on an oyster boat until one day he discovered a group of his former college chums waiting at the dock. His pals had tracked him down to replace the lead actor in their production of Murray Schisgal's comedy "Luv" at the Stowe Playhouse. He stayed on with the playhouse and performed in various one-man shows until the theater burned down (John was out of town at the time). He then took a job as a blacksmith and carpenter in North Wolcott, Vermont. After almost two years there, he took a trip to England for a three-week visit and remained there for ten years.

In London he formed an improvisational theatre group, Sal's Meat Market, for which he co-wrote, directed and acted, portraying as many as 15 characters per show. After attracting the attention of the British Arts Council, he and a partner were given a grant to tour clubs and theaters throughout Europe.

The actor signed for his first motion picture role in 1974 in "The Ritz," starring Rita Moreno. He has since appeared in over twenty films including "A Bridge Too Far," "Yanks," "Superman," "Superman II," "Ragtime," "The Empire Strikes Back," "Outland" and "Gandhi."

On his return to the U.S. in 1981, Ratzenberger became more involved in television series and telefilms such as "Hill Street Blues," "Code Red," the NBC television movie "Wedding Bell Blues," and of course "Cheers." He has directed various films and TV series including "Sister Sister," "Madman of the People" and "Evening Shade."

Ratzenberger is Chairman of Childrenwithdiabetes.com, a nexus for the exchange of information regarding Juvenile Diabetes whose fundraising efforts have secured over $100 million for disease research. An avid environmentalist, he created Eco-Pak Industries, a manufacturer of environmentally safe packaging materials that are sold worldwide.

He lives in the Los Angeles area with his wife and two children. Ratzenberger is currently a board member of Pepperdine University and on Wednesday nights he plays drums for the Sons of the Desert bagpipe band.

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