John Mahoney, who played Kelsey Grammer and David Hyde Pierce’s father on the hit NBC sitcom Frasier, died on Sunday, Deadline has confirmed. He was 77.
Born in England, Mahoney first discovered acting at the Stretford Children’s Theater. His interest in acting brought him to the United States and studied at Quincy University before joining the Army. He took acting classes at St. Nicholas Theatre which was the start of his professional acting career as he was encouraged by John Malkovich to join Steppenwolf Theater. While there, he won Clarence Derwent Award as Most Promising Male Newcomer. He would eventually go on to win a Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play for his performance in John Guare’s The House of Blue Leaves.
In 1987 he made his feature film debut in Barry Levinson’s Tin Men. He continued to add film credits to his resume with impressive roles in iconic films such as Say Anything…, Reality Bites, In the Line of Fire, The American President, Eight Men Out as well as the Coen Brothers’ Barton Fink and The Hudsucker Proxy. He also appeared as Steve Carell’s father in Dan in Real Life.
But it was his role in Frasier as the titular character’s fussy, unfiltered father Martin Crane that earned him the most recognition. He appeared on the show from the start in 1993 until 2004. The role earned him two Emmy nominations, two Golden Globe nominations and a Screen Actors Guild Award win. In addition to Frasier, Mahoney also appeared on Cheers, Becker, ER, Burn Notice, In Treatment, and Hot in Cleveland.
Mahoney was also known for his voice work which started with W. B. Yeats’ “The Words upon the Window-Pane” for the award-winning National Radio Theater of Chicago. He voiced characters in many classic animated features including The Iron Giant, Antz, Atlantis: The Lost Empire as well as the follow-up Atlantis: Milo’s return. In 2007, he reunited with his Frasier co-stars on The Simpsons and voiced the character of Dr. Robert Terwiiliger, Sr., the father of Grammer’s Sideshow Bob and Pierce’s Cecil.
On stage, he co-starred as the Old Man in the Broadway revival of Prelude to a Kiss and in March 2008, opened in the world premiere of Better Late at the Northlight Theatre in Illinois. In 2013, he was a featured ensemble cast member in The Birthday Party which played at Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre.