List of recurring characters in Cheers

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This is a list of recurring characters in the sitcom Cheers, which originally ran from 1982 to 1993.

Recurring Barflies[edit]

A number of recurring characters were "barflies", i.e. they hung out at the bar nearly as much as Norm and Cliff. Generally speaking, the barflies only received a line or two in any given appearance, and did not figure in the plots—although there are exceptions to this rule, notably with the characters of Paul Krapence and Tom Babson. The character of Cliff was originally a recurring "barfly" character, but was quickly developed into a featured character.

In the order in which they joined the cast, barflies who were seen in more than three episodes were:

Tom[edit]

Thomas W. Babson portrays Tom in seasons 1-6. He is an aspiring lawyer who has failed the bar exam more than once. He finally passes the bar after his 11th try in season 5, and played a major role in the episode "Chambers Vs. Malone". In this episode, the character gives his full name as "Thomas Babson" (the same name as the actor that plays him). Previously, the credits had listed the character's name as "Barney", "Tom Sherry" or "Tom Ballard", although he had never been called anything but Tom on-screen.

Harry The Hat[edit]

Harry (played by actor Harry Anderson), better known as Harry The Hat for his signature fedora, is a con artist and frequent jailbird. An occasional visitor to Cheers, Harry often attempts to swindle its customers and employees with various short cons. Sam has standing orders to have Harry thrown out of the bar on sight, but Harry will help out the gang at Cheers upon occasion—partly out of sentiment, and partly to protect the Cheers gang from operators even more unscrupulous than himself. As Harry notes, "I don't like the idea of someone else plucking my pigeons."

Harry appeared four times in the series’ first and second seasons, after which he disappeared until season six's "A Kiss is Still a Kiss". This was actually due to the fact that the actor-magician had achieved fame in his own right by starring in his own series Night Court, which followed Cheers on the Thursday Night's "Must See TV" line up on NBC. (Harry casually explained his long absence—when asked how long it had been since his last visit to Cheers, he replied it had been "two to ten, with time off for good behavior") After another long layoff, his final appearance was in the eleventh and final season ("Bar Wars VII: The Naked Prey"), during which he swindles Gary out of his bar as an act of revenge for making the central characters perform naked.

The character's last name was never spoken by any character, although he is referred to as "Harry Gittes" in the closing credits of one episode. He was referred to by Sam as Harry the Hat in the opening of "A Kiss is Still a Kiss".

Paul[edit]

Paul, played by Paul Vaughn during the first two seasons, is a loud-voiced character with a distinct New England accent who particularly enjoys getting on Cliff's case. Not to be confused with recurring barfly Paul Krapence, a completely different character.

Tim[edit]

Portrayed by Tim Cunningham, Tim is seen throughout the series run. In several early appearances the character is referred to in the credits as first "Chuck", then "Greg", but he is only referred to as "Chuck" twice on the show, and he was always called "Tim" on-screen otherwise.

Paul Krapence[edit]

Seen throughout the series run, Paul (played by Paul Willson) would generally hang around with Norm and Cliff in the hopes of being included in their activities.

Paul was frequently not included with the rest of the group, something that upset him deeply. He was often treated as if he didn't matter, had no friends, and was generally used and mistreated by the rest of the series characters. He did, however, have a certain amount of success with women, and was seen on dates in a few episodes. In the final season, it was suggested in the episode "Is There a Doctor in the Howe?" that Paul may be gay, but in the episode "It's Lonely on the Top" (five episodes later) he has a passionate one night stand with Carla.

The character was first called Paul in season four. In his first appearance, in season 1, Coach calls Willson's character "Glenn" (confusingly, the credits identify the character as "Gregg"), and in another early appearance, Willson is credited as "Tom", although this name is not spoken aloud in the episode. Towards the end of the series' run, a reference by Paul that he's been drinking at Cheers for 10 years makes it plausible that Coach had mistaken his name in his first appearance 10 years prior, and that "Glenn" and Paul are meant to be one and the same person.

In the season 10 episode "The Norm Who Came to Dinner", Norm explains that Paul (years earlier) had been an athlete who had been brought into the bar to try to get him and Cliff into shape, implying that Paul instead conformed to become the frumpy, smoking bar patron we see throughout the show's run. It was later revealed that Paul works as a toll both operator.

Paul is mentioned in the Frasier episode "The Show Where Sam Shows Up". It is revealed that he had slept with Sam's then-fiancée, which did not bother Sam as much as learning that Cliff had also slept with her. This caused Sam to call off the engagement. He later features in the episode "Cheerful Goodbyes" with several other Cheers regulars.

Alan[edit]

Alan, portrayed by Alan Koss in seasons 1-8 and 11. The character of Alan is known to be single, and lives in a room with a Murphy bed. In an early appearance the character is referred to in the credits as "Mike", but this name is never spoken aloud, and he is always called "Alan" on-screen.

Al[edit]

Al is played by Al Rosen in seasons 1–8. He is an older man, always seen in a battered fedora and sports jacket (usually plaid). Despite his semi-decrepit appearance, Al considered himself a real ladies' man. Al had a distinct gravelly voice and often unexpectedly commented on the action around him. It is mentioned by Phil in the Frasier episode "Cheerful Goodbyes" that Al had died 14 years earlier.

Steve[edit]

Steve is played by Steve Gianelli in seasons 2–8 and 11. He is usually wearing a T-shirt and goading bar regulars or staff.

Phil[edit]

Philip Perlman plays Phil, an older gentleman with large glasses who would make the occasional acerbic comment. He is seen as an extra as early as season 4, though he did not receive a line until season 6. He later appeared in the Frasier episode "Cheerful Goodbyes". Philip Perlman is the father of Cheers regular Rhea Perlman.

Barry[edit]

Barry, played by Barry Zajac starting in season 8, is an effeminate, openly gay character who occasionally chimed in with a catty remark. Played by Barry Zajac, a long-time production assistant on the show.

Others[edit]

  • Jack, played by Jack Knight (season 1).
  • Jackie, played by Jacqueline Cassel (seasons 1–5).
The only semi-regular female barfly, though seldom seen (only four speaking appearances in five years).
  • Larry, played by Larry Harpel (seasons 3–5).
Nosy guy who would often irritate Norm by asking ridiculously personal questions.
  • Pete, played by Peter Schreiner (seasons 5–11)
Friendly blonde man usually seen in casual clothing. In the season 8 episode "Indoor Fun with Sammy and Robby," Pete lends Sam some surveillance equipment that he owns because his "wife sleeps around a lot."
  • Hugh, played by Hugh Maguire (seasons 5–7).
Tall, balding man (with a fringe of dark hair) almost always seen in a beige or brown sport jacket and tie.
  • Joe, played by Michael Holden (seasons 5–10).
  • Tony, played by Tony Di Benedetto (seasons 8–9).

Father Barry[edit]

Father Barry (Eric Christmas) was a priest who appeared in several episodes. He presided over Eddie LeBec's funeral and gave spiritual advice to the main characters.

Robin Colcord[edit]

Robin Colcord, played by Roger Rees, was an English multi-millionaire industrialist, who spent most of his time on Cheers as a love interest for the gold-digging Rebecca Howe. This led to his developing something of a rivalry with Sam Malone because of Sam's own romantic interest in Rebecca.

Robin had a high sense of self-importance, was somewhat manipulative, and often made condescending remarks. He felt he could buy off anyone, which, at Cheers, often proved to be true.

In season 8, Rebecca and Sam discovered that Robin was plotting a hostile takeover of the company for which they worked, and to aid him, had been secretly and illegally using Rebecca's access to the company's confidential information. Rebecca chose to conceal Robin's activities for the sake of their relationship. However, Sam discovered that the company suspected Rebecca of being a willing corporate spy. To protect her, Sam revealed Robin's crimes.

Amidst the ensuing scandal, Robin was arrested and briefly sent to prison as well as losing his business positions and money. He and Rebecca planned to marry on his release, despite his new humble status. She chose not to go through with this, after which he revealed he still had some of his fortune in a secret stash but that he would not marry her if she had only wanted his money. He appeared a final time in the last season claiming to be a broke vagabond, and a petty fugitive, and asking to reunite with Rebecca. The episode ended with him and Rebecca attempting to hitchhike out of town, Rebecca convinced this was a second test.

Rebecca's pet name for Robin is "Sweet Baby".

Evan Drake[edit]

Evan Gregory Drake is a recurring character on the television series Cheers, portrayed by Tom Skerritt. Appearing as Rebecca Howe's boss when she was first introduced in 1987, it was revealed she had an unrequited crush on him for two years, so extreme that she had stopped dating. She wanted desperately to impress him enough so he would notice her on a romantic level.

Rebecca became increasingly neurotic around Mr. Drake, and she found herself having to explain herself out of ridiculous situations. For example, Drake made her hire a young woman as a waitress, and Rebecca assumed she was his mistress. After confronting her and hitting her across the face, it was revealed that the woman was Drake's daughter, not his lover. She explained away the punch with a phony "nerve disorder" diagnosis. Another time, when Norm was hired to paint Drake's bedroom, Rebecca came along to see "where he sleeps," in a vain effort to be closer to him. When Drake came back unexpectedly from a business trip, Rebecca was forced to stay in the closet while he slept. When trying to escape, she only got as far as his bed, where she had to roll under and stay captive yet another time. She was finally freed after she climbed out a window when Norm persuaded a delirious Drake to "let [him] carry a rich man across the lawn in his pajamas."

Rebecca never got to tell Drake how she felt, as he left for a job in Japan with his new lover. She did, however, drive his limousine to the airport and crash into a 7-Eleven when she was blinded with jealousy (she had seen him make out with his companion).

Kelly Gaines[edit]

Kelly Susan Gaines Boyd is a character on the American television show Cheers, portrayed by Jackie Swanson.[1] Kelly joined Cheers in the middle of the seventh season as Woody Boyd’s love interest. She appeared in 24 episodes.

Kelly and Woody first meet in the 13th episode of the 7th season (159, "Golden Boyd", first aired on February 9, 1989). Woody and Sam are bartending at a private party to celebrate Kelly’s return from Europe. Kelly is a rich and sheltered girl, but Woody is able to open her eyes to new experiences, the first being a monster truck pull. Again in Kelly’s third appearance in the 19th episode of the 7th season (165, "The Gift of the Woodi", first aired April 6, 1989), Woody teaches her a lesson from his world. Instead of buying her an expensive gift for her birthday, he writes her a memorable song.

Kelly and Woody marry in the 10th season’s finale episode. The marriage, at the Gaines' mansion, was a fiasco: The minister died; Kelly's flirtatious cousin Monika (Colleen Morris) teased Sam until her fanatically-jealous husband brandished a sword; Rebecca's petulance caused the French chef to quit, leaving Miss Howe in charge of the food; Carla kept getting pushed down the shaft in the dumbwaiter; Woody could not keep his hands (and other things) off Kelly before the ceremony; and two attack dogs (cf. "The Lads" on Magnum, P.I.) menaced everyone who dared exit the kitchen to the patio, until the super-infuriated Carla chased them inside, at which time they whimpered like puppies and scampered away. To top it off, the dead body of the minister tipped over and toppled the wedding cake to the floor.

Kelly and Woody were expecting their first child when Cheers ended.

In the 16th episode of the 2nd season of Frasier, Sam visits and it is revealed that Kelly and Woody's first child was a baby boy. In the 13th episode of the 6th season, Woody visits Seattle and reveals that he and Kelly have had another child, a girl.

Eddie LeBec[edit]

Eddie LeBec, husband of Carla, superstitious goaltender for the Boston Bruins. For entry of this character, see Carla Tortelli.

The Tortellis[edit]

  • Nick Tortelli (Dan Hedaya) – Carla's scumbag first husband, who occasionally stopped by Cheers for one reason or another. Nick married Loretta in the season 2 episode "Battle of the Exes". Nick was generally used as comic relief, appearing as a caricature of a deadbeat dad and ex-husband and a negative stereotype of Italian-Americans. This was sometimes taken to extremes, such as Frasier once asking if Nick was featured at a World's Fair as a missing link. Nick has occasionally, unsuccessfully, tried to reunite with Carla.
  • Loretta Tortelli (Jean Kasem) – Nick's blonde-airhead wife, who was generally a side character despite significant screen time. Although Nick tries to rub his new wife's beauty in Carla's face, Carla becomes friends with Loretta as she begins to notice Nick's horrible characteristics.[2] Before marrying Nick, Loretta had dreamed of becoming a singer; she once described herself as a "taller, blonder, less Mormon Marie Osmond". Although she lacked talent, she performed with two groups: "The Grinning Americans" (described as an Up with People-type group), and The Lemon Sisters (deliberately named to be confused with The Lennon Sisters).
Loretta was also featured in Nick's short-lived spin-off series, The Tortellis. [3]
  • Anthony Tortelli – Carla's eldest child. He first appeared wanting Carla's permission to marry his girlfriend when they were both only 16 years old.
  • Serafina Tortelli (Leah Remini)– Carla's eldest daughter. She becomes pregnant by a retired police officer.
  • Gino Tortelli (Joshua Lozoff) – To keep the family peace between Carla and her mother, he agrees to keep the family tradition alive and change his name to Benito Mussolini. Carla refuses.
  • Anne Marie Tortelli
  • Lucinda Tortelli

Carla also has 3 children from other men:

  • Bennett "Lud" Ludlow, Jr. (Carla's son with Dr. Bennett Ludlow)
  • Elvis Lebec and Jesse Lebec (Carla's twin sons with Eddie Lebec)

John Allen Hill[edit]

John Allen Hill (Keene Curtis) is the owner of Melville's, the seafood restaurant located directly above Cheers. Though Melville's was mentioned a lot throughout the series, Hill did not first appear until season 9 (during which he bought the restaurant and first became its owner.)

Hill is a pompous, uptight old man who has a deep disdain for the Cheers gang, and considers them to be low-class. In the season nine episode entitled "Achilles Hill," Sam dated Hill's daughter Valerie as a way to get back at Hill for his evil attitude towards the Cheers bar. He and Carla have a complicated love-hate relationship; they frequently insult and curse at each other even during their frequent bouts of sex.

Gary[edit]

Gary was the owner of Gary's Old Towne Tavern, which frequently competed in contests against Cheers. After the rivalry was established in season 4, beginning in season 6 one episode per year—generally called "Bar Wars" – featured a contest between the two drinking holes for customers. The Cheers gang almost invariably lost to Gary, with the exception of season 4's bowling competition, season 7's Bloody Mary contest, season 9's basketball competition, and season 11's Bar Wars finale, in which Harry tricked Gary into demolishing Gary's Olde Towne Tavern.

Gary was played alternately by both Joel Polis and Robert Desiderio.

Andy Schroeder[edit]

Andrew Schroeder, or Andy Andy, played by Derek McGrath was an ex-con that murdered a cocktail waitress at Via Milano, an Italian restaurant. Sam hired Andy to date Diane in the episode, "Diane's Perfect Date" without knowing his past. He appeared in two more episodes through the show's first four seasons. He returned again during the final season in an opening tease. He entered the bar wearing dynamite and demanded to see Diane. When informed that Diane no longer worked there, Andy calmly left.

Henri[edit]

Kelly Gaines's French friend, who would often mock Woody with the phrase "I'm going to steal your girlfriend!". Kelly repetitively tried to convince Woody that Henri was merely joking, but it was later revealed that he wasn't joking, and that he did indeed intend to steal Kelly away.

Henri first appeared in season 9 when Kelly got back from France and brought Henri along with her. In the season 9 episode 'It's a Wonderful Wife', Henri mocks Lilith's French pronunciation --he affects not understanding her poor pronunciation and corrects her "tres bien" with a better accent.

Henri and Sam were good friends, until the final season, when Henri challenged Sam to a contest; whoever got the most phone numbers of women by midnight would be "acknowledged as the world's greatest ladies' man". Henri ended up winning by just one point, only to have Sam walk out with three more women.

Henri was portrayed by Anthony Cistaro.

Esther Clavin[edit]

Cliff's overprotective mother. It is first mentioned in season 3 that Cliff lives with his mother, for which the other barflies often mocked him. In the episode "Coach in Love Part 2" (season 3), Cliff's mother is first heard in a voice-over at Cliff's house. When she asked if she could stop by and meet the gang, Cliff whispered under his breath "When hell freezes over". Regardless, Esther showed up at the bar in season 5, when Cliff tries to set her up with a wealthy Cheers patron. She appeared numerous times afterward, through to the final season.

In the episode "Last Angry Mailman" (season 6), it was revealed that Cliff, contrary to his usual know-it-all personality at the bar, is actually quiet at home, and his mother is actually "the real yapper in the family". Cliff, after listening to his mother drone on and on, shares his mother's knowledge with the gang at the bar. This gives the gang the source of all Cliff's "knowledge" and the font from which it came. This gives them valuable insight into Cliff's infamous know-it-all personality.

After meeting Cliff's mother, Frasier Crane remarks that he's beginning to see that Cliff is actually almost heroically well-adjusted.

Esther Clavin was played by Frances Sternhagen.

Maggie O'Keefe [edit]

Margaret "Maggie" O'Keefe (Annie Golden) was Cliff's love interest from season 7 onward. Maggie first appeared in season 7 as a rookie postal carrier who was to be trained by Cliff. Maggie asked Cliff out, and he accepted. However, Maggie was later caught taking a postal vehicle to a motel, and was fired from the post office. She then left Cliff to go to Canada, to join the Canadian post office. She made regular appearances from then on, which led to her and Cliff's on-again off-again relationship.

In the episode "Do Not Forsake Me, O' my Postman" (season 11), Maggie reappeared and informed Cliff that she was pregnant with Cliff's child. This forced Cliff to admit that he and Maggie never had sex, causing the other barflies to mock him. Cliff agrees to marry Maggie but before they depart she decides to call her child's real father so he won't worry anymore. She then tells Norm that the father is upset someone else will be raising his child and that he wants to marry her and Cliff is off the hook. However, as she leaves she tells Cliff they did have sex, twice, though he was apparently inebriated and didn't remember. It's left unclear whether or not this was true.

Captain Dobbins[edit]

Captain Dobbins (Robert Machray) was a fire marshall who was often the victim of pranks at Cheers. He appeared in several "Bar Wars" episodes, in which the Cheers gang thought he was from Gary's Olde Town Tavern, only to be proved wrong. He also appeared in the final season, when the Cheers gang suspected Robin Colcord of hiding money belts at Cheers. They suspected Captain Dobbins of stealing the money belts, only to be proved wrong yet again.

Walter Gaines[edit]

Walter Gaines (Richard Doyle) is Kelly Gaines's divorced father. Mr. Gaines usually acted very high-class and snobbish, and would tend to look down upon lower-class people, like Woody and Sam.

Dave Richards[edit]

Dave Richards (Fred Dryer) was an old teammate of Sam's and sports reporter on television. He first appeared in the first season, in which he offered to interview Sam for his "Where are they now?" show. However, Carla later learned that he only chose Sam to interview because no other famous athletes were available. He reappeared in the second season, hoping to chase women with Sam. But after learning that Sam was dating Diane, he tried to break them up, to no avail. He was briefly heard in the third season on the radio, and finally reappeared in the sixth season, offering Sam a temporary job on his sports report show.

Walt Twitchell[edit]

Walt Twitchell (Raye Birk) was Cliff's rival at the post office. He first appeared in season 3 when their rivalry was established, making occasional appearances from then on. Years later, he appeared on the Frasier episode "Cheerful Goodbyes" (Season 9), at Cliff's retirement party, where he and Cliff made up.

Frederick Crane[edit]

Frederick Crane (Christopher and Kevin Graves) is Frasier and Lilith's son. He was born during the eighth season in the back of a taxi. Frasier and Lilith would often bring him to Cheers for a visit. His first word was "Norm."

Although he was also a recurring character on Frasier, the Graves twins were eventually replaced by actor Trevor Einhorn after the first two seasons of Frasier.

Vera Peterson[edit]

Vera Peterson, the wife of Norm Peterson, is never fully seen onscreen, despite a few fleeting appearances and vocal cameos. Her body is seen in the fifth season episode "Thanksgiving Orphans," but her face is covered by pie filling. In the ninth season episode "It's A Wonderful Wife" her legs can be seen through the Cheers front window as she sits crying on the steps after being fired from her job as Melville's hat check girl. Although she is often the butt of Norm's jokes when he visits Cheers, he professes a deep love for her. She is played by Bernadette Birkett, the real-life wife of George Wendt, who played Norm.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Jackie Swanson Cheers | For Jackie Swanson of 'Cheers,' the Naive New Bride Is Just an Act - Los Angeles Times". Articles.latimes.com. 1992-05-09. Retrieved 2012-06-09. 
  2. ^ Buck, Jerry (February 4, 1987). "Loretta Tortelli Isn't Stereotypical Dumb Blonde". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Retrieved 2012-01-06. 
  3. ^ Bjorklund, Dennis A. (1997). Toasting Cheers: An Episode Guide To the 1982-1993 Comedy Series With Cast Biographies and Character Profiles. Praetorian Publishing. p. 17. ISBN 0-89950-962-2.