John Mahoney, who played the father of Frasier and Niles Crane on the hit situational comedy Frasier for 11 years, died on Sunday. He was 77 years old at the time of his passing.
According to his publicist, Mahoney passed away while in hospice care. The illness that claimed his life was reportedly short.
Mahoney was celebrated for his role as Martin Crane; he won an award from the Screen Actors Guild. He was nominated for two Emmy awards as well as two Golden Globe Awards.
He also earned himself a Tony Award in 1986. Mahoney was quite active in theatre.
Upon learning of John’s passing, Peri Gilpin—one of his co-stars on Frasier—said that John actually sang at her wedding. She urged people to watch anything starring him, raise a glass, and “remember him well”.
In addition to being one of the starts of Frasier, John was a member of Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre for almost 40 years. The theater actually cancelled its Monday night performance in honor of John Mahoney.
Actor Gary Sinise, another performer at the Steppenwolf Theatre, called Mahoney a “wonderful actor” as well as an old friend.
On Frasier, John Mahoney played an all-American guy; however, the actor was actually British. He was born in June of 1940 in England, and his home city was bombed quite heavily during World War II. He ended up moving to the United States thanks to his sister, a war bride who just happened to be living in Illinois. He actually joined the United States Army in order speed up his citizenship process, eventually receiving that citizenship in 1959. He ended up teaching English at a university and editing a medical journal.
However, Mahoney was not particularly thrilled with his career; at the age of 37, he decided to pursue acting. He really only became a professional actor in his 40’s. It was late in life to start a career in show business, sure, but Mahoney pointed out that most people his age had already given up on an acting career—he did not have a lot of competition. They were, as he put it, “selling insurance”.
It is fair to say Mahoney’s decision to enter show business was a wise one— and he was a success. However, his first major film role—in Tin Men—did not come until 1987. Throughout the 1990’s, he was featured in a number of films, including The American President and Reality Bites.
It was Frasier, though, that really made Mahoney a household name. NBC executives held Mahoney in such high regard that he was actually preapproved to play Martin Crane when the suggestion was made he should be cast as Frasier and Niles’ father.
Mahoney actually appeared on an episode of Cheers, from which Frasier was spun off, in its final season. He actually interacted with the character of Frasier Crane (portrayed by Kelsey Grammer) in that episode—he was not playing Frasier’s father, however. He was playing a rather terrible jingle writer.
If you’re one of those few people out there unfamiliar with the sitcom Frasier, which ran from 1993 until 2004, John Mahoney played the dad of the titular character. He had been a police officer who was shot in the hip, and was forced to move in with his son as a result of his disability. He also had a little dog named Eddie, who liked to irritate Frasier by staring at him and doing the irritating things that terrier-type dogs tend to do.
Interestingly enough, according to Kelsey Grammer, John Mahoney could not stand the little dog named Moose that played Eddie for most of the show’s run—however, on the show, Martin Crane and Eddie were the best of friends.
More recently, John Mahoney played a character on the show Hot In Cleveland. He played the love interest of beloved actress Betty White. It also allowed him the chance to act once more with Wendie Malick, who Martin Crane married during the final season of Frasier. She portrayed one of the main characters of Hot In Cleveland.
Viewers and critics agree that Mahoney’s performance on Frasier was brilliant, and many of us are probably quite sad that there is no chance for a Frasier revival. After all, it just wouldn’t be the same without Martin and that old recliner of his. However, Frasier is on Netflix (at least it is in the United States), so we should probably just do what his former co-star recommended—go watch an episode and raise a glass to a brilliant actor.
H/T – Source