“Frasier” star John Mahoney has died at age 77, his publicist Paul Martino confirmed to TMZ. The actor died Sunday in hospice care.
He passed away in his adopted hometown of Chicago, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Mahoney is best known for playing Martin Crane, crotchety father of Frasier (Grammer) and Niles Crane (David Hyde Pierce) for 11 seasons on hit sitcom “Frasier”.
Grammer responded to the news of Mahoney’s death Tuesday, telling ET, “He was my father. I loved him.”
Born in Britain, Mahoney immigrated to the U.S., arriving in Illinois to stay with his sister, who married a U.S. serviceman she’d met during the Second World War.
Following such jobs as editor of a medical magazine and teaching English at Western Illinois University, Mahoney was almost 40 when he decided on a late-in-life career change that saw him move to Chicago in order to study acting.
It wasn’t long before he became entrenched in Chicago’s vibrant theatre scene, becoming a regular performer at Chicago’s famed Steppenwolf Theatre. This led him to New York, where he won a Theatre World Award for his role in an off-Broadway production of “Orphans”. He followed that up by winning a Tony Award in 1986 for a revival of John Guare’s “The House of Blue Leaves”.
Hollywood beckoned, and Mahoney quickly became an in-demand character actor on the small and large screens thanks to memorable roles in such films as “Tin Men”, “Moonstruck”, “Eight Men Out” and “Say Anything”, playing the father of the teenage girl relentlessly pursued by John Cusack’s character.
In 1993, he was cast as Martin Crane in “Frasier”, NBC’s spinoff of “Cheers” in which Grammer’s straight-laced psychologist moved back to his hometown of Seattle. The show ran until 2004, and led to Mahoney receiving two Emmy nominations.
Following the end of “Frasier”, Mahoney continued to appear in films, but returned to his second home of Chicago to focus on theatre.
“First of all I want to stay in Chicago. I learned my lesson about travelling with ‘Frasier’… 11 years living out of a suitcase in New York,” Mahoney told Chicago’s ABC Eyewitness News in September 2017. “Having the only car in the Paramount lot with an Oak Park sticker on it. I just want to be back home. Be onstage where I enjoy it.”
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