Pat McCormick (actor)
- For other, similarly named persons, see Pat McCormick (disambiguation)
|Born||June 30, 1927
Rocky River, Ohio
|Died||July 29, 2005 (aged 78)
Woodland Hills, Los Angeles
|Height||6 ft 7 in (2.01 m)|
Pat McCormick (June 30, 1927 – July 29, 2005) was an American actor and comedy writer known for playing Big Enos Burdette in Smokey and the Bandit and its two sequels. He wrote for a number of performers such as Red Skelton, Phyllis Diller and Johnny Carson as well as for shows including Get Smart. McCormick had a distinctive appearance being six feet, seven inches tall, weighing 250 pounds and having a walrus mustache.
Early life and career
McCormick was born in Rocky River, Ohio and was a 1945 graduate of Rocky River High School. He was a high school athlete and served in the Army. He then enrolled at Harvard as a freshman in the fall of 1947 where he played basketball that year. He later dropped basketball to concentrate on track (hurdles). He dropped out of Harvard Law School for a career in advertising but abandoned that career as well when he started writing jokes for television and standup comedians. Eventually, he became a writer for Jack Paar on The Jack Paar Show. He also wrote for Get Smart, The Danny Kaye Show and wrote and appeared on Candid Camera. He was also a member of the I've Got a Secret production staff in the early 1960s.
McCormick was both the announcer and straight man for Don Rickles on The Don Rickles Show in 1968. He was a regular on The New Bill Cosby Show on 1972. Behind the scenes, he was one of the lead writers on The Tonight Show writing many of its most well-known lines. He wrote the line "Due to today's earthquake, the God is Dead rally has been canceled."
His first screen performance was in The Shaggy D.A. in 1976. He played President Grover Cleveland in Robert Altman's Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull's History Lesson in the same year. In 1977, he appeared in Smokey and the Bandit and appeared in the sequels in both 1980 and 1983, alongside Paul Williams as wealthy con men Big and Little Enos Burdette respectively. Pat appeared in the 1982 TV movie Rooster, which also starred Williams. He appeared as the Ghost of Christmas Present in a TV production in the Bill Murray comedy Scrooged in 1988, with his final appearance being in Ted & Venus.
He also made frequent appearances as a panelist on innumerable television game shows including I've Got a Secret and The Gong Show. He also enjoyed a successful radio and television voice-over career. McCormick also wrote for Jonathan Winters in the late 50's/early 60's.
Retirement and death
Living in Palm Springs, California in 1996, McCormick retired in 1998 after being left partly paralyzed by a stroke leading to his admission to the Motion Picture and Television Fund's hospital in Woodland Hills, California in that year. He died there seven years later, aged 77. His interment was located in Forest Lawn – Hollywood Hills Cemetery.
He was survived by a son, Ben, and a grandson. He had a twin brother (who assumed a different surname), Sgt. James McKittrick, of Chicago.
- Although media reports of his death state he was 78, Allmovie.com states that he was born on July 17, 1934 in Rocky River, Ohio. The Social Security Death Index lists a Patrick B. McCormick born June 30, 1927 who died July 29, 2005.
- Meeks, Eric G. (2012). The Best Guide Ever to Palm Springs Celebrity Homes. Horatio Limburger Oglethorpe. p. 231. ISBN 978-1479328598.
- Pat McCormick at the Internet Movie Database
- New York Times filmography for McCormick featuring material from Allmovie.com
- MTV movies article
- UPI International report on McCormick's death Washington Times July 30, 2005
- Pat McCormick at Find a Grave