Actor John Mahoney Dies, Aged 77

John Mahoney

by James White |
Published on

John Mahoney, the actor known as – and beloved by viewers for – his role as Frasier Crane's father in Frasier, has died. He was 77.

As with most actors usually identified by one key role in their career, Mahoney's included so much more. Born in Blackpool in 1940, he started acting young, working with the Stretford Children's Theatre. From there, family issues and his growing love for performing led him to move to the United States, where his older sister lived. Mahoney joined the US Army to speed up his citizenship process, and though he'd come to the country to act, he ended up teaching English at Western Illinois University and editing a medical journal.

Yet his love for the stage couldn't be completely quelled, and he took acting classes at St. Nicholas Theatre, which inspired him to leave the editing job and pursue acting full-time. John Malkovich encouraged him to join the Steppenwolf Theatre, which in turn led to a healthy stage career, a Tony Award and a long time spent working in film and TV.

He made his cinematic debut in 1981 in Hudson Taylor, but scored more acclaim for Barry Levinson's Tin Men in 1987. Appearances in movies as varied as Moonstruck, Frantic, Barton Fink, Striking Distance, The American President, Reality Bites and Primal Fear followed, and he's warmly remembered for his performance in Cameron Crowe's Say Anything....

On TV, he enjoyed a long and varied stint, notching up multiple guest roles, before landing the role of the cranky yet caring Martin Crane in Frasier in 1993. It was a part that would land him numerous award nominations and seal his place in the TV hall of fame.

Mahoney, who never married or had children, died on Sunday.

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