Stars mourn John Mahoney: 'Great actor - lovely kind human'

Emilio Banks
February 7, 2018

In "Frasier", the hit "Cheers" spinoff that aired from 1993 to 2004, Mahoney played Martin Crane, a disabled ex-policeman who parked himself in a battered old armchair in Frasier's chic Seattle living room. He was also in the popular films Say Anything and Reality Bites.

Born in Blackpool in 1940 to a family evacuated from wartime Manchester, Mahoney later emigrated to the United States where he was granted citizenship after service in the military, according to a biography on online entertainment database IMDb. After briefly working as a teacher, he became editor of a technical publication, The Journal for the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals.

He took up acting classes in the 1970s and was urged by acting legend John Malkovich to join the Steppenwolf Theatre.

John Mahoney was approaching the age of 40 when he chose to chuck in his safe and secure job - complete with a generous pension - to see if he had it in him to become an actor.

Mahoney, a British native who made Chicago his hometown, was a two-time Emmy nominee for "Frasier", won a 1986 Tony Award for "The House of Blue Leaves", and worked steadily in movies. As a voice actor, Mahoney had roles in Antz, Atlantis: The Lost Empire and The Iron Giant.

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Mahoney passed away on Sunday in his long-time home in Chicago, Illinois, according to his publicist, Paul Martino. Most widely recognized as the face of Kelsey Grammer and David Hyde Pierce's father on Frasier, Mahoney brought warmth to an otherwise grumpy, sarcastic character.

Mahoney appeared in numerous films and TV shows, and continued to appear on television as recently as 2015 in the TV series "Foyle's War".

But it is for his role as loveable curmudgeon Martin Crane in Frasier that he will be best remembered. His passing was announced by his manager and said he had died after a short illness.

He was born Charles Mahoney in Blackpool, the seventh of eight children, to Reg, a baker, and Margaret (nee Watson). "We were all blessed to have spent 11 glorious years together".

The casting director of Frasier, Jeff Greenberg, tweeted: "I've not known a kinder man nor more brilliant actor".

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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