Wednesday, February 7, 2018

John Mahoney Passes On

John Mahoney, best known for playing Martin Crane on the sitcom Frasier, as well as appearing in such films as Eight Men Out (1988) and The Hudsucker Proxy (1994), died on February 4 2018 at the age of 77. The cause was complications from throat cancer.

John Mahoney was born on June 20 1940 in Blackpool, Lancashire. Following World War II he visited his older, married sister in the United States, and he decided he wanted to move there. He returned to the United States in his late teens and served in the United States Army. He earned his citizenship in 1959. After serving in the military he earned a Bachelor's degree at Quincy College in Quincy, Illinois. He earned a Master's degree Western Illinois University in Macomb. He was a teacher for a time and later edited a medical journal. He also found himself unhappy. He decided to take up acting and took classes at the St. Nicholas Theatre in Chicago.

David Mamet was his teacher at the St. Nicholas Theatre, and Mr. Mahoney appeared in Mr. Mamet's The Water Engine. A fellow member of the cast, John Malkovich, invited him to join the Steppenwolf Theatre. At the Steppenwolf Theatre he appeared in such productions as Of Mice and Men, The Man Who Came to Dinner, and The Dresser.

In 1981 he made his movie debut in Hudson Taylor. He made his television debut in 1982 in an episode of Crime Story. In 1986 he made his Broadway debut in The House of Blue Leaves. In the Eighties he appeared in such films as Mission Hill (1982), Code of Silence (1985), The Manhattan Project (1986), Tin Men (1987), Moonstruck (1987), Eight Men Out (1988), Say Anything (1989), and The Russia House (1990). On television he guest starred on such shows as Lady Blue, Saturday Night Live, and American Playhouse. He was a regular on the short-lived series H.E.L.P. He appeared in such television movies as The Christmas Gift and Favourite Son.

In the Nineties Mr. Mahoney was a regular on the short-lived show The Human Factor. It was in 1993 that he began an eleven year stint on Frasier, playing the title psychiatrist's curmudgeonly father Martin Crane. He was twice nominated for the Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for the role. In the Nineties he guest starred on such shows as Cheers, 3rd Rock from the Sun, Tracy Takes On, and Becker. He appeared in such films as Barton Fink (1991), Striking Distance (1993), The Hudsucker Proxy (1994), The American President (1995), and Primal Fear (1996). He provided voices for the animated films Antz (1998) and The Iron Giant (1999).

In the Naughts John Mahoney continued to appear on Frasier. He guest starred on ER, The Simpsons, and Burn Notice. He was a regular on the short lived show In Treatment. He appeared in the films Almost Salinas (2001), Dan in Real Life (2007), and Flipped (2010). He provided a voice for the animated film Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001).  He appeared on Broadway in Prelude to a Kiss. In the Teens he guest starred on Burn Notice, $#*! My Dad Says, and Foyle's War.  He had a recurring role on Hot in Cleveland.

John Mahoney was an extremely talented actor. This can be seen in his performance as Martin Crane. He was totally convincing as Martin, even though he was much younger than the character (in reality Mr. Mahoney was only around 15 years older than the show's star, Kelsey Grammer, who played his son). Of course, Mr. Mahoney played more than Martin Crane and his career is notable for the variety of roles he played. In Eight Men Out he played White Sox manager Kid Gleason. In Say Anything he played a divorced father. In The Iron Giant he was the voice of General Rogard. Throughout his career John Mahoney played a variety of roles, from police officers to doctors.

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