High School nickname of Norman “Norm” Peterson, (George Wendt), a portly accountant who spends most of his waking hours sipping beer at Cheers, a local Boston tavern on the sitcom CHEERS/NBC/1982-93. Norm’s real first name is Hilary.
When Norm enters Cheers, everyone screams “Norrrm!” Then as Norm” I never met a beer I didn’t drink” Peterson saddles up to his favorite stool, the bartender on duty greets him and Norm imparts some funny one liners. For example:
- “How’s a beer sound, Norm?” “I dunno. I usually finish them before they get a word in.”
- “What’s new, Normie?” “Terrorists, Sam. They’ve taken over my stomach and they’re demanding beer.”
- “What would you say to a beer, Normie?” “Daddy wuvs you.”
- “Hey, Mr. Peterson, Jack Frost nipping at your nose?” “Yep, now let’s get Joe Beer nipping at my liver, huh?”
- “What’s going on, Mr. Peterson?” “The question is, ‘What’s going IN Mr. Peterson.’ A beer please, Woody.”
- “How’s it going, Mr. Peterson?” “It’s a dog eat dog world, Woody and I’m wearing Milk Bone underwear.”
To get around Boston, Norm drives a blue Honda Civic [License: CR 4584]. Its bumper stickler reads: “Accountants do it with interest.”
Norm is married to Vera [née Kreitzer]. They met in high school. Vera was famous all over the Midwest for her hickeys. Norm got her attention when a wrestling opponent pulled down his trunks. Vera’s parents live in “one of those rectangular states.” Norm jokes about Vera but as he said, “She’s all I got. I don’t know what I’d do with out her.”
Vera is actually never seen but only heard. During a Thanksgiving food fight, Cheer’s waitress Diane Chambers accidentally threw a pie in Vera’s face, thus depriving everybody from seeing what she looked like. When Norm broke up with Vera, he dated Arlene Horsley and had been tempted to have an affair with his neighbor’s wife, Phyllis Henshaw.
During his many careers Norm has worked as an accountant for H. W. Sawyer & Associates; a dishwasher at Melville’s Fine Sea Food; a Corporate Executioner for Talbot International Accounting [he fired people]; a Department Store Santa; an accountant for the firm of Masters, Holly and Dickson on the 22nd second floor of the Boston Tower [room 2511]; and finally as a house and painting decorator at K. P. Painting and Co. formerly known as AAAA Painting. One of Norm’s first’ decorating clients was his friend psychiatrist Frasier Crane.
To make some extra money Norm pooled resources with friends Cliff Clavin and Sam Malone to invest in a coin-operated laundry and tanning salon called ‘Tan ‘n Wash.” The business became successful but not before his original investors pulled out for fear of losing their money. Norm had the last laugh on them.
If Norm wants to get jewelry and other cut-rate prices, he contacts his shady friend Bruce. And when Norm wants something to eat he goes to Wally’s Pup burgers or his favorite eatery The Happy Heifer. He loves their ‘Carnivore Platter’ that consists of a steak, topped off with pork chops [On Thursday nights they do a tribute to swine]. Norm concludes every letter he writes with the message “And I hope the Red Sox win the pennant.”
Norm’s favorite stool at Cheers was covered with red leather and rested on the opposite end of the bar. On the series finale, Norm confesses to bartender Sam Malone (Ted Danson) that he loved “that” stool and upon his death, if that stool was not in Heaven, it just wouldn’t be Heaven. And Norm further informed Sam that God better not be sitting on the stool when he gets there.
Note: The stool and the bar used on the series is now housed at the Hollywood Entertainment Museum at 7021 Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles located one block east of La Brea Avenue in the Hollywood Galaxy complex.
Born October 17, 1948, George Wendt, aka “Norm Peterson” grew up in the Windy City (Chicago, Illinois). He graduated from Rockhurst College in Kansas City, MO. and then attended Notre Dame University in South Bend, Indiana for two years, but dropped out.
From 1974-80, Norm honed his comedy skills as a member of Second City comedy troupe. George married actress Bernadette Birkett, who later provided the voice of Norm’s never seen wife, Vera on the CHEERS TV series.
Wendt’s other TV credits included a starring role in THE GEORGE WENDT SHOW (1995) as garage mechanic George Coleman; a recurring role of Les Polonsky, a magazine owner during the 1997 season of the sitcom THE NAKED TRUTH (1995); and as Mike Shelby, a regular on the sitcom SABRINA THE TEENAGE WITCH (from 2001-2002).
George has also made appearances on SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE in the 1990s as Bob Swerski, a devoted Chicago football team fan who sat around in a bar, smoked cigars, and drank beer with a bunch of other superfans who repeated with pride the catchphrase “Da Bears!”