Over the past 15 years, Pixar has produced 11 films, starting with 1995’s Toy Story. And John Ratzenberger has lent his voice for all of them.
The aptly dubbed Pixar mascot, Ratzenberger is back for Toy Story 3, reprising his role as Hamm the Piggy Bank.
“For me it’s proof that God exists,” Ratzenberger tells Metro about his tenure with the animation studio. “Because it’s beyond my thinking of how this happened.”
While the folks at Pixar are obviously fans of Ratzenberger, the actor insists the feeling is mutual. “The reason that Pixar is so good is because the standard started out extremely high and it stayed there,” he explains.
“They didn’t get lazy or get full of themselves or say, ‘Let’s just kick this one out because we can.’ They put the same amount of energy and craft into every one of their films. So they keep the standard high, and that’s why it’s so wonderful working with them.”
Still most recognizable for his work as postal worker and barfly Cliff Clavin on Cheers, Ratzenberger has kept busy beyond his Pixar work since the sitcom ended in 1993. A lot of that work, it turns out, has been for various charities and foundations.
“I’m not much for sitting around watching sports on the weekend, watching TV,” he explains. “But if I see something that needs fixing, I like to see what I can do to help out. It goes back to, you know, if someone’s barn burned down, the neighbours got together and helped rebuild it. I’m just one of those neighbours who shows up with the hammers and nails.”
Over the past few years, Ratzenberger has become just as well known for his political outspokenness, even going so far as to suggest he’d run for Senate in his home state of Connecticut in 2012. While he claims those plans are currently on hold — “There’s too much on my plate,” he says — that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a thing or two to say about the state of government.
“Whether it’s Republican or Democrat, we’re running out of people with common sense because everybody was told they needed to go to college and nobody ever got a real job,” he says.