Hollywood has a great track record of launching funny named people to fame. From Sylvester Gardenzio Stallone to Archibald Leach and beyond, amusingly monikered folk have made themselves into household names from the beginnings of the film industry. Today’s subject is one of those professionals who is definitely not known around the world, but whose name should be more famous just because it’s so damn fun.
Kerry McCluggage is a film and TV executive who has worked at some of the biggest studios and production entities in Hollywood. He was formerly Chairman of Paramount Television and also President of Universal’s TV division. At the age of just 25, he became the youngest Vice President in Universal’s history, perhaps because the higher-ups were just tickled by Mr. McCluggage’s great name. Either way, that’s pretty impressive. Certainly it became “Mr. McCluggage” as a result of his subsequent promotions. (I won’t make any puns about suitcase-shaped fast food items in this post….other than this one. It’s possible that’s the prevalent image in my mind, and my mind only.)
During his time in TV, he oversaw the development of such shows as The A-Team, Frasier, JAG, Law & Order, Miami Vice and Murder, She Wrote, which is definitely one of my top eight favorite shows in the underrated “adorable old lady solving crimes” genre.
Significantly, he was also involved in the production of the film Cocktail while he worked at Universal. Significantly, because that 1988 movie, in spite of its 9% Rotten Tomatoes rating and two Razzie Awards, is a genuine cultural treasure from the 80’s.
In case you haven’t seen it, it features Tom Cruise as the world’s greatest young flash bartender, who dreams of the fame and riches of the guy who invented straws and is taken under the wing of an eccentric Australian veteran bartender who teaches him how to live. A bunch of 80’s stuff then happens and he goes to the Bahamas to pursue a young Elizabeth Shue, because that’s where the “real money” is for bartenders, evidently. It’s great stuff. We owe Mr. McCluggage a lot for whatever his involvement with the film may have been.
I should also mention that his IMDb page mentions an acting credit in a show called “Duckman : Private Dick/Family Man” in an episode titled “Papa Oom M.O.W.W.O.W”. I don’t know what to really say about that, so I think I’ll just let that speak for itself.
McCluggage is now an independent producer and most recently was involved in the production of The Tudors. We salute Kerry McCluggage, his work, and the fact that his name is McCluggage.