'Frasier' actor John Mahoney dies aged 77

'Frasier' actor John Mahoney dies aged 77

John Mahoney, the 77-year-old British actor who rose to fame playing father Martin Crane on the iconic US sitcom Frasier, has sadly passed away. Paul Martino, Mahoney's manager, confirmed that the actor had died on Sunday in Chicago after a brief spell in hospital. Despite the announcement of the death, the cause is yet to be confirmed.

Mahoney played the father of Frasier and Niles in the hit sitcom. The series was a spinoff of Cheers and ran for 11 seasons between 1993 - 2004. Such was the nature of Mahoney's portrayal of Marty, he was nominated for two Emmys, two Golden Globes and a Screen Actors Guild award. The show itself was also critically acclaimed, with it winning the Emmy for best comedy series five years in a row.

Initially born in Blackpool, UK, Mahoney went on to make Chicago his hometown. He began his career on the theatre circuit in the 1970s and joined Steppenwolf Theatre on the suggestion of director John Malkovich. He spent 39 years working with the theatre and eventually won a Tony Award for his performance in John Guare's The House of Blue Leave in 1986.

Mahoney had originally relocated to America to be near his sister, who had married an American GI. Upon arrival, the actor joined the army but struggled to adjust to that way of life. “I joined the army almost immediately because I wanted to get citizenship faster, but I was so homesick,” he told the Times in 2005. “It’s the worst feeling I’ve ever been through in my life. I felt like killing myself.”

However, despite having his troubles settling, John knew that he wanted to remain in America and began trying to assimilate into society. “I knew I was going to live the rest of my life in the US and I didn’t want to be on the outside looking in. They make such a big deal about it: anyone from the United Kingdom is automatically regarded as brilliant beyond belief. I didn’t want to live with that. I’m not a nonconformist. I wanted to be like everybody else.”

After a trip back home during his 30s, John decided to enlist on to an acting class when he returned to Chicago. David Mamet, a renowned playwright, ran the class and between him and John Malkovich, they managed to convince Mahoney to join Steppenwolf group.

“Believe me, I’m an aberration,” he told the Observer. “With me, it was all the stars aligning at exactly the right time. There was so much luck involved.”

But while John went on to star in a variety of films with varying amounts of success, it was Frasier where he made his name. Speaking in 2002, Mahoney said: “I’m immensely proud of being on a show that has been so honoured. If the show shot in Chicago, I’d shoot it for 20 years. But I just miss home so much. And I miss stage work.”

Colleagues and fans have been quick to pay tribute to the actor.

R.I.P John Mahoney.