Pat Brymer, a well-known puppeteer and puppet builder who manipulated Bill Murray’s irrepressible nemesis, that damn gopher, to Caddyshack, is dead. He was 70 years old.
Brymer died on April 12 after a battle with cardiomyopathy at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, family friend Stephen Dolainski said Hollywood journalist. The novel coronavirus pandemic has delayed the announcement of his death.
Brymer created an updated version of the woolly character Lamb Chop for famous puppeteer and ventriloquist Shari Lewis. In the 1990s, they collaborated on PBS shows Lamb Chop’s Play-Along and Charlie Horse musical pizza and on Lamb chop on Broadway.
Brymer was also a principal puppeteer on Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s Team America: Global Politicse (2004), for which he also “played” Baxter, the bartender and limousine driver.
His credits included other features such as Short circuit (1986), My stepmom is an alien (1988), So I married an ax murderer (1993), Extreme movie (2008) and Carve a life (2017), a 1995 episode of The nanny and the “McDonaldland” advertising campaign for the fast food chain.
James Patrick Brymer was born March 17, 1950 in Highland Park, Illinois. After four years of theater studies at Illinois State University, he moved to St. Louis to work for the Sid and Marty Krofft Puppet Theater at Six Flags Over Mid-America, building puppets and traveling figures and playing as a puppeteer.
He worked with the brothers on many other projects including the children’s TV series Split bananas and the Happy Hour Hanna-Barbera, on a Las Vegas show starring Raquel Welch and on puppets for an indoor Atlanta amusement park started by the Krofft.
Star wars veteran John Dykstra led the team that built the Bushwood Country Club animatronic gopher that tormented Murray’s Carl Spackler in Caddyshack (1980), but it was Brymer, as the main puppeteer, who brought it to life.
He started Pat Brymer Creations in 1983 to design puppets and characters for commercials, TV shows, and promotions. He has also taught puppet building workshops through the Los Angeles Guild of Puppetry, for which he served as a board member and treasurer.
Survivors include her 47-year-old partner, her husband James T. McDermott. A memory of his life will be celebrated at a later date.