February 5, 2018 8:11 pm
Updated: February 6, 2018 11:36 am

John Mahoney, star of Frasier, dead at 77

In this March 23, 2004 file photo, John Mahoney, who stars as Martin Crane, appears on the set during the filming of the final episode of "Frasier" in Los Angeles.

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Frasier star John Mahoney has died at the age of 77.

The late actor’s publicist confirmed Mahoney died Sunday in hospice care, TMZ reported.

Mahoney is best known for playing, Martin Crane, the crotchety father of Frasier (Kelsey Grammer) and Niles Crane (David Hyde Pierce) for 11 seasons on hit sitcom Frasier.

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Born in the U.K., 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.

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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 Chicago to focus on theatre in the city that he always felt to be home.

“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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