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John Ratzenberger dishes on 'Dancing with the Stars,' 'Made in America'

By Christopher Rocchio, 04/04/2007 

Many home viewers may feel they resonate with John Ratzenberger during Dancing with the Stars' fourth season because his previous dancing experience is similar to theirs.

"Flailing around at weddings... high-school proms.  I always enjoyed dancing, but I had never taken a lesson," Ratzenberger said during an interview in the April 9 issue of TV Guide.  "I just make stuff up as I go along."

Ratzenberger wasn't an original celebrity participant for Dancing with the Stars' fourth season, and it wasn't until The Sopranos actor Vincent Pastore decided to quit due to the physicality of the competition that Ratzenberger got the nod.

"They had asked me a while back [to compete], but I was on a book tour.  So when the call came this season, I was looking forward to it," he told TV Guide.  "But then the demons said, 'Are you sure you know what you're doing?  You're 59-years-old!'"

Ratzenberger recently lent his voice to several popular animated movies, such as Pixar's Toy Story and Cars, but he's still best known for playing mailman Cliff Clavin on Cheers.

"Usually just drunks and radio talk-show hosts [still recognize me as Cliff]," Ratzenberger told TV Guide.  "Made in America has been a hit, so people know me more as John Ratzenberger now."

The former mailman and current two-stepper is referring to John Ratzenberger's Made In America, a Travel Channel reality series he hosts and produces that takes viewers around the country to see how various American-made products are manufactured.  He said Made in America has impacted his life beyond such astonishments as Campbell's soup actually being cooked in the can.

"It's really the people who affect me," he told TV Guide.  "To get up every morning and work to put food on the table... to me, that's the ultimate heroism."

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