George Wendt enjoyed being ''large'' for a living

George Wendt is best known for his role as Norm in the 1982 sitcom Cheers. He was loveable, laid-back and most of all, loved beer. 

Cheers was a highly successful series that originally aired on NBC for a total of 11 seasons. The regulars of the Boston bar featured in the series also became regulars in our own living rooms, and soon, everybody knew their names. 

Although Cheers had an all-star cast that featured names like Ted Danson, Rhea Perlman, John Ratzenberger and Woody Harrelson, one name stood out among the rest in terms of popularity: Norm Peterson. 

Norm was your average guy at a bar in your hometown. He looked it, acted like it and became a relatable character for many viewers because of it. The love for Norm grew with each season. If you didn't fall in love with him in season one, by season two, you were wishing you could get a beer with him. 

Besides having a large personality, Wendt was also known for being large in size. According to a 1985 interview with the Tampa Bay Times, Wendt's weight may have helped contribute to his popularity. 

Wendt said he realized that his weight played no small part in his acting career — his silhouette and Norm's popularity kept the acting offers flowing.

"One nice thing about being fat for a living is that you don't worry about losing weight or dieting," Wendt said. "I don't know how much I'd have to lose before it was noticeable. Anyhow, if I lost 100 pounds people would say 'Oh, no, not another fat comedian wanting to be a leading man!'"

"The downside of being heavy is it makes it tough to hide," Wendt continued. "Dark glasses and a hat won't do it. People recognize me from behind. I've had it happen. I have no plans to lose weight."

Wendt was proud of being plus size. According to the interview, Wendt was a heavy beer drinker before he started Cheers. He said beer may have contributed to his weight. 

"I was a beer drinker long before Cheers," Wendt said. "When I put a couple of six packs on top of my grocery shopping cart, people are pleased. I tell 'em I'm taking them home to rehearse."

Wendt's size didn't stop him, in fact, he used it to his advantage. He became one of the most recognizable faces, silhouettes and beer drinkers of not only the 1980s but also today.

Wendt was a product of Chicago's famous Second City troupe where he spent six years as a professional satirist. He arrived in Hollywood only a few years before he landed his role on Cheers. 

According to the interview, Wendt said that Norm was slowly being built during his time at Second City, even if he didn't know Norm existed yet.

"The Norm you see in Cheers has been years in the making," Wendt said. "I have some characteristics in common with him besides our fondness for beer. But I think I'm a lot happier than Norm."

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