John Mahoney, who played cranky dad on 'Frasier,' dies at 77

Posted: Updated:

By LYNN ELBER
AP Television Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- John Mahoney, who as the cranky, blue-collar dad in "Frasier" played counterpoint to pompous sons Frasier and Niles, has died. Mahoney was 77.

The actor died Sunday in Chicago after a brief hospitalization, Paul Martino, his manager for more than 30 years, said Monday. The cause of death was not immediately provided.

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.

Kelsey Grammer's Frasier and David Hyde Pierce's Niles, both psychiatrists with lofty views of their own intellect, squabbled constantly with their dad but, when needed, the family closed ranks.

Martin's beloved dog, Eddie, also took up residence to annoy the fussy Frasier.

Mahoney, a British native who made Chicago his home town, was a two-time Emmy nominee for "Frasier," won a 1986 Tony Award for "The House of Blue Leaves," and worked steadily in movies.

John Cusack, who appeared with Mahoney is the 1989 film "Say Anything," tweeted that he was a great actor and a "lovely kind human - any time you saw him you left feeling better."

Mahoney's recent TV credits included a recurring role as Betty White's love interest on "Hot in Cleveland" and a 2015 guest appearance on "Foyle's War." On the big screen, he was in "The American President," ''Eight Men Out" and "Tin Men," with 2007's "Dan in Real Life" starring Steve Carell among his last movie credits.

The actor was born in 1940 in Blackpool, England, during World War II. That's where his pregnant mother had been evacuated for safety from Nazi attacks, but the family soon returned to its home in Manchester.

In a 2015 interview with The Associated Press, Mahoney recounted memories of huddling in an air raid shelter and playing among bombed-out houses. The accounts his four older sisters shared with him, he said, included tucking him into a baby carriage outfitted with a shield against feared gas attacks.

One sister, who moved to the Midwest after marrying a U.S. sailor, was responsible for Mahoney's decision to make his life in America. He visited Chicago as a college student and fell in love with it.

"The lake, the skyline, the museums, the symphony, the lyric opera," he said in extolling the city in 2015. Add in reliably friendly Midwesterners, Mahoney said, and it's "my favorite place in the world."

"I give up nothing (professionally) by being in Chicago," said Mahoney, who at the time was preparing to begin rehearsal on a Steppenwolf Theatre Company production of "The Herd."

The theater canceled Monday's scheduled performance in honor of Mahoney, according to an outgoing phone message that said he had been an ensemble member since 1979.

"John's impact on this institution, on Chicago theater and the world of arts and entertainment are great and will endure," the theater said.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • New Jersey SlideshowsSlideshowsMore>>

  • Duke and Duchess of Cambridge welcome baby boy

    Duke and Duchess of Cambridge welcome baby boy

    It's the third child for Kate and Prince William, and he's fifth in line to the British throne.

    It's the third child for Kate and Prince William, and he's fifth in line to the British throne.

  • Guide: National park sites in the tristate area

    Guide: National park sites in the tristate area

    Statue of LibertyStatue of Liberty

    A guide to the national park sites and trails on Long Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York City and the Hudson Valley.

    A guide to the national park sites and trails on Long Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York City and the Hudson Valley.

  • 2018 Summer Stadium Tours

    2018 Summer Stadium Tours

    Here are the artists who will be performing at tri-state stadiums this summer.

    Here are the artists who will be performing at tri-state stadiums this summer.

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."