Bad news from a name everyone knows: George Wendt, best known for his work as Norm on the long-running Cheers, was hospitalized after suffering chest pains, the Chicago Tribune reports. The actor, who was set to star in a Chicago stage production of The Odd Couple, checked in Sunday.
According to Timothy Evans, executive director of the Northlight Theatre — which is hosting The Odd Couple — Wendt “is getting medical attention and will eventually make a full recovery.” Unfortunately, that recovery will have to happen off the stage — the actor will no longer be starring as Oscar Madison in The Odd Couple, which was set to begin Nov. 9.
The Odd Couple director B.J. Jones told the Chicago Sun-Times, “George is family to us at the Northlight and we wish him well for a complete and speedy recovery … He will be missed in the rehearsal room and on stage.”
The Cheers cast reunited earlier this month to celebrate the show’s 30th anniversary. In an oral history with GQ to mark the occasion, Wendt talked about the genesis of his role on the series: “My agent said, ‘It’s a small role, honey. It’s one line. Actually, it’s one word.’ The word was ‘beer.’ I was having a hard time believing I was right for the role of ‘the guy who looked like he wanted a beer.’ [laughs] So I went in, and they said, ‘It’s too small a role. Why don’t you read this other one?’ And it was a guy who never left the bar.” Cheers to that.
[Image Credit: Joseph Marzullo/Wenn]