About him nbc comedy Healthnorm was the only word everyone was saying when I would enter the bar. George Wendt played Norm for all 11 seasons, but his original audition for Health it was not for a central character. In fact, it was just for a word himself.
Wendt was a guest at the Going a lot with Bruce Murray podcast from March 4, 2021. Looking back at his time at HealthWendt recounted the story of his one-word audition.
George Wendt was on TV before ‘Cheers’
Wendt already had a connection with Health creators Glen and Les Charles and James Burrows. He appeared in an episode of your previous program, Cab.
“My agent called and said, ‘They want to see you in this new pilot, Health. Remember those guys, you made a Cab,'” Wendt said in go long. “I moved to Los Angeles in 1980 and had luck with some odd jobs. I was in Soap Y cab mash, that kind of thing, just little things. They said: ‘Remember you did it Cab and those guys Glen Charles, Les Charles and Jim Burrows. You like them, right? Yeah they were great. “They want you in, but it’s a very small role, but I don’t know, I think you should do it.” how small is it ‘Well, it’s really just one line.’ Ah OK. ‘Actually,’ she says, ‘is really a word. Well, one syllable. And I’m like, ‘Oh, what’s the syllable?’ Beer.”
George Wendt Couldn’t Audition For ‘Cheers’ With 1 Word
The scene Wendt originally auditioned for still appears in the Health pilot.
So it was meant to be shelley longHe is the first customer on the pilot tag,” Wendt said. “’Hi, I’m Diane, I’ll be his waitress. Well, I’m not actually a waitress. I am an academic. He then goes on for half a page describing his situation. ‘Sorry, I must take his order. What can I get you?’ I say, ‘Beer’. And that was it.”
Casting directors asked Wendt to do some more reading.
“I’m sitting there at Paramount and the casting director says, ‘Yeah, that’s not enough to read. Here, read this other role,’” Wendt said. “It was this character named George. So I started reading it and it’s the character of Norm. They end up offering it to me.”
The creators wanted him to play Norm the whole time.
Decades later, Wendt discovered that the one-word scene was a ruse. The Charles and Burrows wanted Wendt for the role that he became Norm all along. Wendt found out about it when he appeared in a question-and-answer session with them.
“So I’m sitting backstage, someone in the audience says, ‘Now when you were writing HealthDid you have someone in mind for the characters?’” Wendt said. “They’re like, ‘Oh, God, no, we saw everyone in Hollywood.’ They’re talking about Sam and Diane. So they say, ‘New York, Hollywood, mix and match, the chemistry, we spent months. but laugh [Perlman], we had Rhea and George in mind. I’m like what? Now I find out about this? It was literally five years ago. I’m glad I didn’t know they were so into it because I would have screwed it up in a way.”