Patrick Warburton is known to many for his live-action roles, like Seinfeld's David Puddy or Rules of Engagement's Jeff Bingham, and his voiceover roles, like Family's Guy's Joe Swanson or Kronk in The Emperor's New Groove. However, he's also quietly helped organize one of the most successful charity golf tournaments in the U.S. The tournament, known as The Warburton, started in 2011 and has raised more than $15 million for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, becoming the top highest grossing golf tournament for the Memphis, Tennessee-based facility. This year's event, held in Palm Desert, California, contributed to that legacy with a whopping $3.6 million — a new record for the tournament. This is especially mind-blowing as The Warburton, held on March 5 to 8, went down just as the U.S. was starting to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic.
"We just had our event over the weekend in Palm Springs, probably one of the last gatherings in the nation of over 1,000 since they're all getting canceled, but everybody showed up, and we beat our old record of 2.6 million, [raising] 3.6 million," Warburton told PopCulture.com in a March 10 phone interview. "It's kind of a miracle that we're able to raise that much for [St. Jude] in a day when everybody's freaking out, the stock market's crashing, and for some reason we raised a million dollars more than we ever had for St. Jude's. There's one feel good story out there, huh?"
There are two days of golf during The Warburton, accompanied by musical showcases. Over the years they've had Alice Cooper, Toby Keith, Michael McDonald, The Doors' Robby Krieger, Rush's Alex Lifeson, R.E.M.'s Mike Mills, The Romantics' Wally Palmer, Kool & the Gang's Al Paris and Ted Nugent's former vocalist Derrick St. Holmes. It's a big celebration for an amazing cause that was thankfully able to be held before California limiting events and activities.
"It's just like it's a big full weekend sort of golf tourney parties, concerts, and I think we just got in right under the gun as they say, because they're canceling everything now," he said.
While the actor, 55, lends his name to the tournament, he does not do it alone. He was beyond thankful for all the people who helped him and his wife, Cathy Jennings, pull the tournament off.
"It's such a huge joint effort. I got the ball rolling on this, but the smartest thing I did was I got a great chairman, and we have a great board, and everything just works so hard on this event," he said. "We take a lot of pride in the fact that we got a good one, and we got everybody to show up and to give to what we all know is the best hospital in the whole world, you know? It's a good thing."
However, Warburton and Jennings, don't just stop at raising money for St. Jude. They also take time to go see the great work done as the hospital, spending time with some of the children under St. Jude's care.
"One of the days we spent some time hanging out with my buddy, Ty, and his family. He was a patient there. He's doing OK. He's in remission," Warburton said of their latest visit. "We try to get to the hospital at least once every two years or year or so. But it's always very meaningful to be at the hospital and see everything that they're doing there. It's a remarkable place."
Aside from the tournament, Warburton has been promoting one of his films, but it's not a blockbuster headed to theaters or a Netflix-produced comedy set for a streaming premiere. It's actually a film he appeared in back in 1999 called The Woman Chaser. In honor of the flick, which was directed by Robinson Devor, turning 20 back in October, Warburton has been pushing for more eyes to be put on the indie gem. It was one of his earliest and meatiest roles, with Warburton playing a charismatic car salesman who gets drunk with power and decide to create a disturbing and provocative movie.
Filmed in black-and-white and on a shoestring budget, it's unlike anything Warburton has done in the years since. It was a worthwhile challenge to make the film, and stands as one of Warburton's best performances to date.
"I would paint best memories in maybe broad strokes as to just the tremendous effort everybody put into it, because since the entire film was made for less than half a million dollars, and most of that was film stock and what not everybody made great sacrifice with their time and effort since we had to steal locations, we had to work long hours. We had to stick to that. Otherwise, we wouldn't get this movie done," Warburton told PopCulture.com. "I always love to hear people's feedback on that one, because I get some interesting looks after that film. It's usually — probably — interesting, not positive [or] fascinated. They were intrigued. There's been some really kind of cool reviews about the film later, more just about sort of the cult aspect of it, the staying power of this film and how it's had an impact, but yet so few people have seen it. This is one of those things that I love when people see it, and fans see it, and I get to talk to them about it, because of course, everybody wants to talk about either Seinfeld or Rules or Ted or Family Guy."0comments
He added, "Throughout the years, talking about The Tick is fun, but when somebody comes up and wants to talk about The Woman Chaser, that always gets my ears to perk up, because those few people have seen it. We are all proud of that effort, you know? I'm glad to see that it's still got some legs and that it's out there and maybe it can get rediscovered a little bit."
More information on The Warburton can be found at thewarburton.com. The Woman Chaser is available for rent or purchase wherever you consume digital movies.