Frasier Star John Mahoney Dies At Age 77

TMZ reports:

John Mahoney, the beloved dad on “Frasier,” has died in Chicago … TMZ has learned. According to John’s publicist … he passed away Sunday in hospice care. The British-born actor famously played Martin Crane, the father of Kelsey Grammer and David Hyde Pierce’s characters, for 11 seasons of “Frasier.”

John most recently had a recurring role in “Hot in Cleveland.” Besides his TV success, John was in tons of movies — like ‘American President,’ “Say Anything…” and “Eight Men Out” — during more than 30 years in show biz.

Broadway World reports:

A distinguished stage actor, Mahoney won a 1986 Tony Award for his performance in The House of Blue Leaves. He was also seen on Broadway in the 2007 Roundabout revival of Prelude to a Kiss.

As a devoted member of the Chicago theatre community, Mahoney appeared in more than 30 productions with Steppenwolf Theatre since 1977. His most recent appearances with the company include their productions of The Rembrandt, The Herd, The Birthday Party and The Seafarer.

  • Lazycrockett

    I’ve looked around and cant find any info, but I always thought he was family?

    • William

      He was.

      • Lazycrockett

        Thought so.

        • Frank McCormick

          Though I don’t think he ever came out. Variety was very cagey “he never married and never had children”.

          • Lazycrockett

            Wiki is playing the same game, so I was confused.

          • JCF

            2008 interview:

            TOC: In everything I’ve read about you, I haven’t seen any mention of a partner or a romantic life.

            John Mahoney: Yeah, it doesn’t exist for me anymore. [Laughs] I think that’s dead and buried. Twenty-three years ago I had cancer of the colon. I had to have major surgery, and I have a colostomy. I really couldn’t have sex after that. I’m very happy by myself and with my friends, but no, I’m definitely not involved with anybody. Nor do I ever
            look to be.


    • Kergan Edwards-Stout

      I have thought the same thing. I seem to remember him coming out, but can’t find any mention of that online now…

  • bkmn

    RIP John, thanks for the laughs.

  • zhera

    ;__; Best cranky dad ever.

    • teeveedub

      True. He had the ability to make lovable what could have been a totally annoying character.

    • One of my favorite exchanges:

      Frasier: Oh, hi, Dad. Did you see my new chess set?
      Martin: Oh yeah, it’s nice.
      Frasier: “Nice?” Well, the inlay was made from the same Travertine
      marble they used at the Emperor Hadrian’s palace outside
      Martin: Really? Well, I’m gonna celebrate with a beverage brewed
      from the crystal-clear waters of the majestic Colorado

      It was his delivery that really made that so funny. He could make me laugh until I cried, and now just cry.

  • twitch56

    HE WAS wonderful with Olivia Dukakis in Moonstruck

    • It Takes a Village, People

      On Amazon Prime now

    • Judas Peckerwood

      Especially loved him in Barton Fink.

    • BlueberriesForMe

      “I’m too old for me!”

    • Suckage.

      yeah, he’s kinda my role model.

  • Blake Mason

    Funniest Character on the show…

    • Sam_Handwich

      the only funny character.

  • Ninja0980

    RIP John.
    Thank you for all the laughs and memories.

  • Cuberly Deux

    This is going to sound weird, but, I always liked pretty much everything he’s done. One of the things I always found sort of special to him was his smile. He had the most infectious smile. Sorta impish, very authentic, very open. Just one of those things that stick in your mind when it comes to a specific performer.

    RIP John

    • If you can find a video of him in The House of Blue Leaves, it’s worth the effort. (The cast also included Christine Baransky and Swoozie Kurtz as well as a young Ben Stiller.) He was also in Broken Hearts League. A great actor. I don’t know why he was so rarely nominated for Emmys but I suspect it’s because he didn’t care and didn’t submit a video to be considered. I have read that he was rather private and preferred theater over tv and movies (though he did both). When Frasier was over he went back to Chicago.

      • Maisie Lu

        I saw that production of The House of Blue Leaves. I was much younger then but I will never forget it. One of the best casts I’ve ever seen.

        • bJason

          It was a great production!

    • TuuxKabin

      Yeah, I was taken by his smile as well. He beamed. A disarming smile.

    • If that sounds weird then I’m happy to be weird with you. Like a lot of people I really got to know Mahoney from Frasier, but it was always a delight to go back and rewatch a movie I’d seen earlier and recognize him. Or to spot him in something new.
      He was so distinctive, always recognizable, and yet, like any great actor, always believable as whatever character he was playing.

  • Sam_Handwich

    it was Moonstruck i most remember him for. Not a big role …. but really my favorite movie ever.


    • Cuberly Deux

      Oh wow, I forgot, that dinner scene. Wow….yeah he was great in that.

    • unsavedheathen

      In a film chock full of phenomenal but scene-eating performances he took this sad little role and made this character charming and unforgettable.

  • gaycuckhubby

    Really sad… I loved his performances

    • JP

      I loved the scene in Broken hearts club where he tells the ugly duckling in the group.. ‘Not everyone is beautiful. Some people are just gay and ordinary.

      • “Everyone can’t be straight. Everyone can’t be beautiful. Everyone can’t be the same, Patrick. Some people are just gay and average. We’re the strongest I think.” (I cheated and went to

  • teeveedub

    He was swell in “House of Blue Leaves” on B’way.

  • William

    John Mahoney on ER. He played an aging drag queen feeling down because all her friends were gone.

  • Sam_Handwich
    • Lazycrockett

      Frazier was an amazing show.

      • Sam_Handwich

        hubs used to watch reruns a lot, a few years ago. i gotta say i wasn’t a fan. tho dad was a refreshing distraction from the rest of the show

        • Cuberly Deux

          Heh…yeah, I liked Dad and Roz. Roz was a picture perfect reminder of an old college friend of mine.

          • -M-

            It really was an exceptionally talented cast. I loved Jane Leeves as Blue on ‘Throb’ and David Hyde Pierce as a suicidally depressed congressman in ‘Powers that Be’.

          • William

            It’s been ages since I’ve heard of ‘Throb’. I thought I imagined it.

          • -M-

            It was very short lived and I’m sure mostly awful, but I enjoyed it and Jane’s character, Blue, was so striking.

          • Sam D. Maloney

            Glad I’m not the only one who remembers Powers that Be…

        • I watched the entire run on Hulu last summer. it holds up well mostly thanks to writing (many scripts were by Joe Keenan, a personal favorite. If there’s lots of door slamming and mistaken identities, it’s Keenan’s) and a first rate cast. I don’t know that Mahoney was out but pretty much all the guys on the show except for Kelsey Grammer were gay as were many of the writers. I used to joke in the early 90s that it was the gayest show since Bewitched. (Now there are lots of shows that are gay gay. The gay on Frasier was mostly attitude.)

          • FAEN

            I watched the entire run on Netflix and I laughed so hard at the intelligent writing. Specially all the somewhat inside gay jokes.

            I’m going to miss Mahoney 😔😔

        • Nowhereman

          Frasier/Kelsey Grammer was a pompous ass, but the other characters were pretty good. I enjoyed Roz and Bulldog a lot.

          • William

            I liked Bulldog best when he had his shirt off. The actor, Dan Butler, is gay too.

          • Nowhereman

            I’ll be damned! I didn’t know that.

        • Prost Seattle

          I liked Maris.

      • Talisman

        One of my favorite moments from the whole show….

        • Nowhereman

          Niles cracked me up. I loved his sword fight with Maris’ fencing instructor. Well choreographed and funny as all get out.

        • AngelaChanning

          I forgot how David Hyde Pierce had physical comedy chops. What a great scene.

    • boobert

      I’m sitting in my dad’s chair right now ! He bought it for my mom when she was pregnant with me. It became his soon after I was born. I had it redone in the original green, and like a Frazier episode, it’s one of the most expensive pieces in the house. lol

      • Nowhereman

        Very nice! And I’ll bet it squeaks when you wiggle around in it.

  • AtticusP

    Great comic timing. He always added something special to every scene. I hope his loved ones find comfort.

  • Sam_Handwich

    Along with David Hyde Pierce, Mahoney is godfather to Frasier co-star Jane Leeves’ son, Finn. Mahoney has scarcely talked about his private life, but in a 2002 article he revealed he has been in several relationships, although he has never married.

  • Jim Gallagher-Barker

    Let’s not forget his role in “The Broken Hearts Club” done during the height of his fame from “Frasier”


    • jrtguy

      Yup!! Loved when his character just plopped on that tatty wig and did drag. Wonderful how an actor can add such a spark to their character. May watch “Moonstruck” tonight in his honor. An yes, his smile was something!!

    • Shawn Cullen

      “ Some of us are just gay and ordinary. We’are the strongest I think ”. He was great in that role. Sucha versatile actor.

  • DaddyRay
    • JCF


      • DaddyRay

        Eddie was adorable – if I had a dog I would like him to be just like Eddie

        • JCF

          John and “Moose”, together again…

          • Lazycrockett

            If I remember correctly the dog wasn’t well liked by most of the cast.

        • Marides48

          Unfortunately many people thought the same back when “Frasier” was popular. Jack Russell terriers can be very energetic & noisy. I know, I was a letter carrier when they were a popular breed of dog.

    • BearEyes

      damn onions

    • Lars Littlefield

      RIP for Moose too.

    • Nowhereman

      That says it all. I cried when Eddie died, too.

  • It Takes a Village, People

    Moonstruck (on Amazon Prime now); Barton Fink; Reality Bites (he’s the best thing in the movie); House of Blue Leaves

  • JoeMyGod
    • Sam_Handwich

      YAY! you found it

    • Cuberly Deux

      Oooooo…so gad you found that. They have such great interplay in that scene. Both marvelous.

    • TuuxKabin


    • unsavedheathen

      My mother taught me an old saying. You want to hear it?

    • DirtyPierre

      I’ll be watching Moonstruck tonight.

  • ceeenbee

    Sorry to hear. He could make you laugh without saying a thing.

  • Henry Auvil

    I haven’t owned a TV since 1997 so I have no idea who this person is. RIP though.

    • Karl Dubhe

      Series started in ’93 🙂

    • He was in film and on Broadway too.

  • He was also the general in The Iron Giant! A sad day.

    • Lazycrockett

      He seems to have done a lot of voice work later in his career.

  • TuuxKabin

    Saddened to read this.
    Saw him in House of Blue Leaves, a memorable show, and his performance helped make it so. RIP.

  • Lazycrockett
    • DaddyRay

      Was it Focus on the Family related

      • JCF


        Focus on your own damn family!

        Prayers for all involved in this shooting. Fuck the NRA!!!

      • Silver Badger

        Colorado Springs is a evangelical and fundamentalist hotbed. The city is crawling with RWNJS. There are some good people and a surprisingly sizable gay community and a whole lot of military has beens and wannabes.

    • DaddyRay
    • Ninja0980

      You mean police shootings didn’t stop after Trump became President?
      Fancy that!

  • Karl Dubhe


    Hope you enjoy the auditions in whatever is next. 🙂

  • Christopher

    Still makes me laugh! Every damn time.

    R.I.P. you wonderful man!

  • CPT_Doom

    Let’s not forget his best role – the Dad in “Say Anything.” He’s so warm and supportive of his daughter, and they you find out his truth… damn!

  • Jalapeño Out Of F**ks To Give

    And a loss for our LGBT family tonight.

  • BeaverTales

    There are not enough hospice beds to care for the boomer generation, whose youngest members are now in their mid-50s.

    I wonder if it was a good hospice that is attentive and honors all reasonable requests? I hope he was comfortable to the end. I haven’t set foot in a hospice since I did volunteer work while the AIDS epidemic faded away. They’re definitely not all the same. I never should have stopped, but it was hard on me in my early 20s.

    There’s no Yelp ranking for hospice care, and usefully ranking them is next to impossible because usually everyone admitted dies, and sometimes pain is impossible to control in some people while keeping them conscious.

    • stevenj

      My sister died too young 3 years ago. She had hospice care (through Kaiser) but at home which is where she passed – in her own bed. Not sure about other health insurance but it was one of the many reasons I decided on Kaiser. The hospice person that cared for her was like family.

      • JCF

        Same w/ my mom. The hospice staff attending her at home were excellent.

      • Chicago joe

        Similar here, western Colorado hospice care for my Mom in 2016..they were more than angels…..words fail.

    • Cuberly Deux

      When my mother entered hospice we researched the one she went into but we both agreed that one of us would stay with her the whole time. We didn’t want her to be alone and we also wanted to monitor her care. Overall they were quite good.

      One thing that shocked me though is the number of employees that would commend my brother and I for staying with her. They said they’d never seen that before. Which I found hard to believe. But they insisted that most people would only stay for short visits. I have a hard time comprehending that.

      • CanuckDon

        It was the same with my mom during the last seven weeks of her life in the hospital. My oldest sister was with her during the day and I took over late afternoon and into the evening. We didn’t want her to be alone and it was best that one of us was there when nurses and doctors came around. She was weak, fragile, confused and scared….a horrible time that’s still hard for me to think about.

        The hospital staff said the same thing to us about always being there. I do remember all of the other older women in her room lying there alone with very little company. I’d end up chatting with them and get help when they needed it.

        • Cuberly Deux

          “…a horrible time that’s still hard for me to think about.”

          I hear ya. When you go through something like that it changes a part of you. That’s my opinion at least. I look at life differently ever since then.

          My brother and I were the same way. We helped some occupants every once in a while. There was a man across the hallway from my mom that would forget where the TV controls were on is bed, we’d point them out to him. I hung out with him and we chatted a while over a few days before he passed.

          Mentioned it before but it really did stun me how few visitors we’d see coming and going.

          • William

            I learned that I will never be on the list of people who can make medical decisions. Sometimes shit happens fast and third on the list is the person in the ER waiting room.

    • SFBruce

      I hope it was an excellent facility, too. And forget the guilt about not continuing to volunteer for hospice work. People in the 20’s shouldn’t have to care for the sick and dying.

    • TuuxKabin

      I found the hospice my mother went into, in Phoenix, comforting, considerate of me and my husband, same sex couple didn’t go noticed, but welcomed, and gently, very gently, there was always either a harp playing, a piano, something ethereal. They explained to me that her funds could be used to cover my expense to travel from NYC to see her. As long as thy held out. I was at peace with her care and death.

      • NowAnAgnostic

        Hospice of the Valley in Phoenix is a non-profit facility. I do not know how good it is, but the a hospital sent my Ex there upon his release from the hospital. He died a few hours after he arrived there, I am told. When I was trying to track him down to find out if he were alive or dead, of course, they would not even acknowledge if he had been there. It wasn’t until I was able to track down his most recent EX that I learned what was going on, and that he had died.

    • Hue-Man

      Sort of related. We always mention how little coverage mainstream media devotes to LGBT issues. The retirement community is another area where a massive education program is required. I saw this today from Prince Edward Island (the amount of money is small in a tiny province but at least they’re thinking about it).

      New P.E.I. project to support LGBT seniors with dementia

      They plan to create an educational presentation on LGBT seniors for
      health-care providers, and one for care facility residents, to learn
      more about the LGBT community. They’ll also suggest policy changes for
      institutions to make their facilities safer and more inclusive for LGBT
      residents and their families.

    • NowAnAgnostic

      The division which handles Medicare Survey and Certification of medical facilities within Health and Human Services should show inspection results of Medicare approved facilities.

    • Lumpy Gaga

      1 star.

      Would not do business again.

  • JCF

    This makes me cry. Frasier has purchased his son a bunch of presents he *thinks* he should want…but he really wants some silly toy instead. Frasier is depressed about it. Just watch the last 5 minutes or so. This is what Love looks like.

    • whollyfool

      This is indeed what Love looks like. 🙂

  • SFBruce

    Sad to hear. Mahony was able to make cantankerous likeable. I hope he had an easy end; 77 seems younger with every day that passes. RIP.

    I enjoyed Frasier, even though both Frasier and Niles were both so gay, and yet their characters where supposed to be straight. That probably explains why my favorite episode by far was The Matchmaker, where Frasier’s new boss thinks Frasier is gay and interested in him. Like many sit-com plots, this one was based on a miscommunication, and all the ripples that result. I thought it was hilarious.

  • Dammit… more sad moments. I loved Mahoney.

    Sorry for the off-topic, but I need this—;

    First launch window opens tomorrow at 1:30pm Eastern. The video also features one of my favorite Bowie tunes.

  • HZ81

    I adored him, Met him once. A sweet, charming man and sooo talented and should have gotten an oscar nod for Say Anything.

    And one of ours. RIP, John.

  • Jean-Marc in Canada

    Sadness overwhelms, but then I am reminded that his work will always be with us. Loved him in the Broken Hearts Club.

  • Piernudo15

    One of my favorite scenes where Niles plays his boytoy.

    • boobert

      The one with Patrick Stewart was the best !

      • Anastasia Beaverhousen

        I love It. Especially when Patrick Stewart says “Fraaaaazier,”

  • Lazycrockett
  • Lars Littlefield

    RIP Mahoney.

  • another_steve

    I remember him from an episode of “Foyle’s War,” a British detective TV series set during WWII.

    An accomplished actor.

    May he rest in peace.

  • I liked him in everything. Haven’t seen “Suspect” mentioned, an underrated Cher movie. He played a shady judge.

  • skyweaver

    Aw, I first loved his acting in Moonstruck. RIP

  • ChrisInKansas

    Frasier is one of THE best sitcoms ever and he and his character were top notch. I realized last week that I was still missing season 10 on DVD and it just arrived from Amazon today. I know what I’ll be watching this week.

  • KnownDonorDad

    Sad news, loved his character on Frasier.

  • Galvestonian

    He’ll be missed – good actor & he’s filled a lot of shoes in his long & amazing career. I’m sure there’s a special place for actors in the afterlife.

  • greenmanTN

    Slightly off topic, but gay writer Joe Keenan became the head writer of Frasier after writing two farcical comedies of errors. If you haven’t read them you’d probably like them. Mistaken identities, mixed signals, and huge egos all build up until everything becomes a big ole mess.

    The second book, Putting On The Ritz, is actually a parody of Donald Trump (named Peter Champion here), pre-The Apprentice and long before his interest in politics. It’s basically “what if Ivana Trump wanted to be a nightclub chanteuse but she can’t sing?” Our gay heroes are hired to make it happen and it’s a train wreck. Very funny IMO.

    • Lee Grupsmith-Pedersen

      I’ve read all three of his books. Great mood lifters all.

      • greenmanTN

        I don’t know why Blue Heaven hasn’t been made into a movie. With the right director and cast it could be a blockbuster.

        • prixator

          I *loved* Blue Heaven and Putting on the Ritz! Those books made me laugh out loud reading them – which very very few other media have.

          I even used the name “Selwyn” as a screen name years ago. I also thought those books would make wonderful movies (same as the Nathan Aldyne murder mystery books).

          I gave one of Keenan’s books to my mother while she was recovering from a heart attack, but I should have known that she wouldn’t have the sense of humour to appreciate it.

          • greenmanTN

            I liked the Nathan Aldyne mysteries too. I still remember cackling over Valentine”s boss at the real estate company plowing through a group of school children and knocking them into a snow bank.

            Maybe not my first choice, but I could see Nathan Lane playing The Countess.

          • greenmanTN

            PS, mothers have no sense of humor.

            I took care of mine in the last years of her life (dementia) and I was lot more “get your hateful old ass into the shower” than I was “Darlin’, is there anything I get you?”

            Our relationship was…. complicated.

          • prixator

            I know what you mean. I’m fortunate that my older brother is caring for my mother in another city (and I don’t own a car, so I don’t see her often). She has slight dementia; one can still have a not-too frustrating conversation with her. But, her memory is all over the place.

            The good thing about the dementia is that it has mellowed out her previously quite difficult personality. And, also, she doesn’t remember when we last spoke or saw each other so I no longer have to listen to her whining about that.

            My parents really should have stopped after 2 kids. But, if they had I wouldn’t have been born. Not sure if that’s a good or bad thing.

  • Slippy_World
    • TuuxKabin

      That’s do sweet. Thanks.

    • Bj Lincoln

      This picture just made me cry. Could be the the new meds. We fall asleep every night to Fraser . I have seen John in many movies but never the pleasure of the stage. RIP John.

      • I hope your meds stabilize soon, so your emotions aren’t so close to the surface. However! It made me cry too!

  • gothambear

    I was blessed to see Mahoney in House of Blue Leaves and Six Degrees of Separation on Broadway – such a fine actor, handsome and warm. RIP

    • TuuxKabin

      Both plays had such outstanding casts and he did shine bright. Great man and talent.

    • M Jackson

      I saw him in “House Of Blue Leaves” too. All the time I watched “Frazier” (until the Anthony LaPaglia/ Daphne seasons when I stopped) I knew John Mahoney from that marvelous play with Stoccard Channing and Christine Baranski 30 years ago. My memory is not all that good at
      this point, but the memory of that
      play is still strong, and John Mahoney was THERE.

  • HandsomeMrToad

    He was OUTSTANDING as a nasty judge presiding over a murder-trial with Cher playing the defense lawyer in Suspect (1987).

  • JT

    Oh, fuck!

  • JT
  • Mr. Ric

    A fine actor, and a very nice man.

  • Dale Snyder

    He was outstanding in “Suspect” and “Betrayed,” albeit in a smaller role in the latter.

    Great actor.

  • fuzzybits

    One of my favorite episodes of Fraiser was when he pretended to be gay. RIP good man.

  • SDG

    So sad…

  • fuzzybits
  • Texndoc

    I have always thought he was out and that was even during the run of the show, I seem to remember it goes all the way back to the AOL gay message boards where when there was talk of epecially the NY theater you could take what was posted with more than a grain of salt. Kevin Spacey was gay, John Mahoney was gay, and Fox News then young and hunky news anchor Shep Smith could sing any show tune in some gay bar better than you.

    • Spray on abs

      I thought he was gay too.

  • Spray on abs

    He was great in Moonstruck too. He was great in everything I saw him in. RIP John.

  • Greg B.

    I loved him as Jack in the Broken Hearts Club.

  • MichaelJ

    Sad to hear this. To all the performances he graced us with, which others have mentioned, I’ll add his role as Jeffrey Ayliss, the traditional Scottish father of Trvor Ayliss, Tracey Ullman’s gay flight attendant in the “Tracey Takes On” series.

  • I heard this on the radio while driving home. It makes me very sad.

  • seant426

    Loved him. What a loss.

    • M Jackson

      Yes. He was lovable. He also was a noted stage actor. Countless film roles before “Frasier” too.

  • Tony Adams

    He was wonderful in Moonstruck, but who wasn’t?

  • Palmer

    He was very nice to me when I was on Frasier. A lovely man.

  • Sam D. Maloney

    Didn’t he come out of the closet for about 5 seconds before rushing back in? I swear to god his Wikipedia page once mentioned a ‘long term companion’.

  • Amber LeMay

    Personal life. Along with David Hyde Pierce, Mahoney is godfather to Frasier co-star Jane Leeves’ son, Finn. Mahoney has scarcely talked about his private life, but in a 2002 article he revealed he has been in several relationships, although he has never married. Mahoney lives in Oak Park, Illinois.

  • EyeJelly

    John Mahoney was gay. When someone famous dies, you expect the articles written about them to mention their loved ones or life outside of their career. Seems a little strange that that doesn’t seem to apply this time.

    • Ann Kah

      This is the twenty-first century, Jelly. Perhaps it wasn’t the most important detail in his life, although you seem to think it is.

      • EyeJelly

        16,000 comments and a private account. I think you’re a professional Ann. I’m honestly flattered. Are you based in the US or somewhere else?

      • EyeJelly

        16,000 comments and a private account. Looks like you’re a professional commenter, Ann. I’m honestly flattered. Are you based in Russia, or somewhere else?

      • EyeJelly

        16,000 posts from a private account. Looks like you’re a professional troll. I’m honestly flattered. Are you based in Russia?

  • JoyZeeBoy

    I had the pleasure of seeing him some 32 years ago in a revival of “House of Blue Leaves” at Lincoln Center, in which he starred. He was great! “Who put the devil in Evelyn………………?”

  • RIP John Mahoney. I was never that much of a “Frazier” fan, but I loved his performance with Olivia Dukakis in Moonstruck. And his character (Jack) from the movie “Broken Hearts Club” had one of my all time favorite quotes:

    ” Everyone can’t be straight. Everyone can’t be beautiful. Everyone can’t be the same,…. Some people are just gay and average. We’re the strongest I think.”