Sadly, it appears there will be no future reunion shows for the classic sitcom “Frasier”: John Mahoney has passed away in Chicago at 77.
Mahoney was a consummate actor with decades of acclaim on stage and in films and TV, including “Moonstruck,” “Say Anything” and “Hot in Cleveland.” But he will forever be remembered as Martin Crane, the retired cop father of fussy psychiatrists Frasier and Niles. He didn’t have his sons’ Ivy League degrees, but he was still the smartest person in the room, even if the room was marred by his ugly recliner. He acted as the anchor of the Crane family. When his sons became full of themselves, he could always puncture their pretentions and bring them down to Earth with common sense and humor (say, I suddenly realize why I liked this guy so much: we had the same job!)
Something you might not realize about Mahoney: despite playing a regular guy American to a T, he was actually born in England. His family had to be evacuated during a Nazi bombing. After World War II, he moved to the US, joined the Army and lost his British accent. He was working as a medical magazine editor when he quit in his 40s to pursue his love of acting on stage and spent most of the rest of his life in the theater.
There are official obituaries all over the net, but I’ll direct you instead to blogger Ken Levine, who was a longtime writer for “Cheers” and “Frasier” and knew Mahoney well. He offers some inside information about what an incredibly nice guy Mahoney was off-camera, how he got cast as Frasier's dad by a lucky fluke, and why it was sadly ironic that he died on Super Bowl Sunday.