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Pat McCormick (actor)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

For other, similarly named persons, see Pat McCormick (disambiguation)
Pat McCormick
Born(1927-06-30)June 30, 1927
DiedJuly 29, 2005(2005-07-29) (aged 78)
OccupationActor, comedy writer
Years active1957–1997
Height6 ft 7 in (2.01 m)
ChildrenBen McCormick

Pat McCormick (June 30, 1927 – July 29, 2005)[1] 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 6'7" tall, weighing 250 lbs and having a walrus mustache.

Early life

McCormick was born in Lakewood, Ohio on June 30, 1927. He was a 1945 graduate of Rocky River High School.[2]


McCormick was a high school athlete and served in the United States Army during World War II. 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, including Jonathan Winters. Eventually, he became a writer for The Jack Paar Show. He 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.[3][4][5][6]

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 in 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." As part of a skit on a Jonathan Winters special McCormick, as a court jester, quipped to the regally-attired Winters "Is that a scepter in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?" a quite risque line for early 1970s television.[3][5][6]

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.[7]

He 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.[citation needed]

Retirement and death

Living in Palm Springs, California in 1996, McCormick retired in 1998 after being left partly paralyzed by a stroke.[8] According to fellow writer Mark Evanier, McCormick was driving to the Beverly Hilton Hotel when he suffered a stroke and crashed his car into a concrete wall. The vehicle caught fire, but a woman named Danielle Villegas pulled him out and dragged him to safety before the car exploded.[9] McCormick was admitted to the Motion Picture and Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, California, where he spent the remainder of his life. He died there seven years later, aged 78.

He was interred in Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Hollywood Hills. He was survived by a son, Ben, and a grandson. There is no evidence that, as has been claimed, that Pat had a twin brother (who assumed a different surname), Sgt. James McKittrick, of Chicago.


Year Title Role Notes
1970 The Phynx Father O'Hoolihan
1975 If You Don't Stop It... You'll Go Blind Himself - Awards Emcee
1976 Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull's History Lesson President of the United States
1976 The Shaggy D.A. Bartender
1977 Smokey and the Bandit Big Enos
1977 Can I Do It... 'Til I Need Glasses? Himself
1978 A Wedding Mackenzie Goddard
1979 Hot Stuff Man with Cigars
1979 Scavenger Hunt Carnival Barker
1980 Smokey and the Bandit II Big Enos
1980 The Gong Show Movie Himself
1981 History of the World, Part I Plumbing Salesman - The Roman Empire
1981 Under the Rainbow Tiny
1983 Smokey and the Bandit Part 3 Big Enos Burdette
1983 Likely Stories, Vol. 3 Doctor
1984 E. Nick: A Legend in His Own Mind Sonny Patterson
1985 Doin' Time Fallis
1985 Bombs Away The Dispatcher
1988 Rented Lips Winky
1988 Scrooged Ghost of Christmas Present (TV)
1988 Beverly Hills Vamp Prof. Sommerset
1990 Nerds of a Feather Professor
1990 Chinatown Connection Flynn
1991 Ted & Venus Marcia's Elderly Boyfriend


  1. ^ Although media reports of his death state he was 78, states that he was born on July 17, 1934. The Social Security Death Index lists a Patrick B. McCormick born June 30, 1927 who died July 29, 2005.
  2. ^ Although and have reported that McCormick was born in Rocky River, Ohio, this is not supported by his obituaries in the New York Times and Los Angeles Times (cited below), nor by stories in the Cleveland Plain Dealer during his lifetime (cited below) that stated he was born in Lakewood, Ohio, and then grew up in Rocky River, Ohio, a neighboring town to Lakewood.
  3. ^ a b Hickey, William. "Pat McCormick: Jolly Green Giant", Cleveland Plain Dealer, September 13, 1968, PD Action Tab magazine section, p. 3.
  4. ^ "McCormick Giving Radio Static", Cleveland Plain Dealer, October 23, 1977, Section 5, p. 17.
  5. ^ a b Heffernan, Virginia. (August 2, 2005}. "Pat McCormick, 78, Comedian and Writer for 'Tonight Show', Dies", The New York Times.
  6. ^ a b Thurber, Jon (July 30, 2005). "Pat McCormick, 78; Comedy Writer Had a Gift for Wacky Humor". Los Angeles Times.
  7. ^ "Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull's History Lesson". IMDb. 24 June 1976. Retrieved 21 December 2017.
  8. ^ Meeks, Eric G. (2012). The Best Guide Ever to Palm Springs Celebrity Homes. Horatio Limburger Oglethorpe. p. 231. ISBN 978-1479328598.
  9. ^ Evanier, Mark (July 30, 2005). "Pat McCormick, R.I.P.". News from Me.

External links

This page was last edited on 27 August 2020, at 00:08
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