John Mahoney, a veteran actor likely best remembered by most television viewers for his long-time role on the sitcom Frasier, died Sunday in Chicago.
He was 77 years old.
According to Mahoney’s publicist, the star had been under hospice care at the time of his passing, although his exact cause of death is unknown at this time.
It appears as if he had been suffering from a serious illness and those close to Mahoney knew the end was near.
A native of Blackpool, England, Mahoney broke through in the United States via his role of Martin Crane on the aforementioned series.
He portrayed the father of Frasier and Niles Crane from 1994 through 2004, starring from the premiere up through the finale as a gruff, yet lovable former police officer.
It was Martin’s injury and his need for full-time care on the program that prompted Frasier to move back to Seattle, where he lived with his cantankerous (and hilarious) parent.
Mahoney studied at Quincy University in Illinois and then spent three years in the United States Army, receiving his citizenship in 1959 after moving to America at the age of 19.
After Frasier ended, Mahoney showed up in a variety of shows and films, most notably as Walter Barnett on Season 2 of In Treatment and, more recently, as Rusty Banks on Hot in Cleveland.
He appeared on this latter sitcom for a total of six episodes of three years.
Mahoney was nominated for two Golden Globes and two Emmy Awards over the course of his impressive career.
In 1986, Mahoney won Broadway’s Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play for his performance in John Guare’s The House of Blue Leaves.
“The theater is my brothers, my sisters, my father, my mother, my wife,” he explained back in the 1980s. “It is everything to me.”
Mahoney also enjoyed a strong career as a voice actor, featuring in numerous animated movies including Antz, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, and The Iron Giant.
Throughout his life, People Magazine writes, Mahoney traveled to and from Los Angles and New York for various work projects, yet remained loyal to his home in Oak Park, Illinois.
It’s a cliche, but he was as down to Earth as they come.
“It is quiet here,” he once said of Illinois, adding:
“I get bored out of my mind in L.A. It’s such an industry town. Here I have old friends who aren’t in the business.”
“I can walk to all sorts of good places where the waiters and waitresses don’t want me to read their screenplays.”
The veteran actor never got married and did not have any children.
He left an indelible impression on the theater world and TV world, however.