Pat Brymer, Puppeteer Behind the 'Caddyshack' Gopher, Dead at 70

Pat Brymer, the puppeteer behind Caddyshack's gopher, has passed away at the age of 70. A family told the Hollywood Reporter that he died at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank on April 12 after facing cardiomyopathy. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic delayed the announcement of his death. Brymer is survived by his partner of 47 years, husband James T. McDermott.

Born on March 17, 1950, in Illinois, Brymer studied theater at Illinois State University before moving to St. Louis and joining a puppet theater. He worked at Six Flags Over Mid-America and built both puppets and walk-around characters. Brymer also served as a puppeteer during this time. He continued to work with brothers Sid and Marty Krofft on several projects, including a children's show called The Banana Splits.

Brymer had several credits to his name, including So I Married an Axe Murderer, but he drew the most attention with his work on Caddyshack. He took the gopher puppet created by Star Wars veteran John Dykstra, and he brought it to life. Brymer used the puppet to relentlessly torment a groundskeeper played by veteran actor Bill Murray. Viewers loved the interactions between Murray and Brymer's gopher and still reference them in 2020.

Following the success of Caddyshack, Brymer launched Pat Brymer Creations in 1983. This company designed puppets and characters for a variety of projects, including several TV shows and commercials. He also taught puppet-building workshops through the Los Angeles Guild of Puppetry. It was through this company that Brymer made an impact on a PBS children's show by creating an updated version of the woolly sheep, Lamb Chop.

Brymer collaborated with puppeteer and ventriloquist Shari Lewis during the 1990s. They work on Lamb Chop's Play-Along and The Charlie Horse Music Pizza. They also worked together on Lamb Chop on Broadway, which ran from Dec. 6, 1994 until Dec. 11, 1994.

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One of Brymer's later projects was a collaboration with South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. He served as the principal puppeteer for Team America: World Police, a feature-length comedy in 2004 that featured a puppet cast. He also played the role of Baxter, the limousine driver.

Brymer's family plans on holding a remembrance of life. The date is currently unknown due to the coronavirus pandemic and guidelines surrounding mass gatherings. They will announce the time and location of the memorial service at a later date when it becomes possible.