- For other, similarly named persons, see Pat McCormick (disambiguation)
Pat McCormick (June 30, 1927 â" 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 Lakewood, Ohio as Arley D. McCormick, 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 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.
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 Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, California in that year. He died there seven years later, aged 78. His interment was located in Forest Lawn â" 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.
- 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