John Mahoney, the cantankerous dad on 'Frasier,' dies at 77

John Mahoney, who was best known as Kelsey Grammer and David Hyde Pierce's irascible dad Martin on Frasier, has died. He was 77.

Mahoney died Sunday in Chicago, publicist Paul Martino told The Hollywood Reporter.

As a curmudgeonly retired cop, Mahoney received two supporting actor Emmy nominations for his work on the 1993-2004 NBC hit.

A former Midwestern medical-magazine editor who quit his day job at nearly 40 to study acting in Chicago, Mahoney had taught English at Western Illinois University in the early 1970s.

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Actor John Mahoney
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Actor John Mahoney
Sitting in his character's favorite chair, actor John Mahoney flashes a dastardly smile on the Fraiser set during a break in filming at Paramount Studios, Tuesday morning in Hollywood. Mahoney, who plays Frasier's dad on the TV show, is a central figure in a new gay movie set in West Hollywood. He's one of two well�known TV stars in the film, and he was interviewed at Paramount Studios, where he's been working on the show for the new season. (Photo by Richard Hartog/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
FRASIER -- 'Junior Agent' Episode 10 -- Aired 10/27/01 -- Pictured: (l-r) John Mahoney as Martin Crane, Jane Leeves as Daphne Moon, David Hyde Pierce as Dr. Niles Crane (Photo by NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
THE 50TH ANNUAL PRIMETIME EMMY AWARDS -- Pictured: John Mahoney arrives at the 50th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, CA on September 13, 1998 -- (Photo by: Margaret C. Norton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - MARCH 3: Actors David Hyde Pierce, John Mahoney and Kelsey Grammer attend the Museum of Television Festival-An Evening With 'Frasier' on March 3, 1995 at the Director's Guild Theater in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Ron Davis/Getty Images)
385849 08: Actors (l-r): John Mahoney as Martin Crane, David Hyde Pierce as Niles Crane and Jane Leeves as Daphne Moon star in NBC''s television comedy series 'Frasier.' Episode: 'Mary Christmas' - Martin, Niles and Daphne open Christmas presents as they watch Frasier host the holiday parade. (Photo by Gale Adler/Paramount)
397187 17: Actor John Mahoney arrives for a celebration in honor of 200 episodes of the popular television series 'Fraiser' November 13, 2001 at the Park Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images)
FRASIER -- 'The Two Hundredth' Episode 8 -- Aired 11/13/01 --Pictured: (l-r) David Hyde Pierce as Dr. Niles Crane, Peri Gilpin as Roz Doyle, Tom McGowanas Kenny Daly, Dan Butler as Bob 'Bulldog' Briscoe, Adam Arkin as Tom, John Mahoney as Martin Crane, Kelsey Grammer as Dr. Frasier Crane (Photo by NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
370100 06: John Mahoney as Jack in Sony Pictures Classics romantic comedy 'The Broken Hearts Club.' (Photo by Mimi Carven/Online USA)
FRASIER -- 'The Fight Before Christmas' Episode 711 -- Pictured: (l-r) Moose as Eddie, John Mahoney as Martin Crane -- (Photo by: Gale M. Adler/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
FRASIER -- Pictured: John Mahoney as Martin Crane (Photo by David Rose/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - SEPTEMBER 21: Actor John Mahoney attends the 55th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at the Shrine Auditorium September 21, 2003 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
FRASIER -- 'The Proposal' Episode 15 -- Aired 02/05/02 -- Pictured: (l-r) Kelsey Grammer as Dr. Frasier Crane, John Mahoney as Martin Crane (Photo by NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
401912 13: Actors David Hyde Pierce (L) and John Mahoney attend 'A Night Sardi's' at the 10th Annual Gala Fundraiser to benefit the Alzheimer's Assoicaition March 6, 2002 in Beverly Hills, CA. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - JUNE 10: Actor John Mahoney attends the 61st Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 10, 2007 in New York City. (Photo by Peter Kramer/Getty Images)
FRASIER -- Season 7 -- Pictured: (l-r) John Mahoney as Martin Crane, David Hyde Pierce as Dr. Niles Crane, Kelsey Grammer as Dr. Frasier Crane, Moose as Eddie, Peri Gilpin as Roz Doyle, Jane Leeves as Daphne Moon (Photo by Chris Haston/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
FRASIER -- Season 6 -- Pictured: (l-r) Peri Gilpin as Roz Doyle, David Hyde Pierce as Dr. Niles Crane, Kelsey Grammer as Dr. Frasier Crane, John Mahoney as Martin Crane, Moose as Eddie, Jane Leeves as Daphne Moon, Dan Butler as Bob 'Bulldog' Briscoe (Photo by Bill Reitzel/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Actor John Mahoney attends NBC TV Winter TCA Press Tour on January 8, 1994 at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 26: Warner Bros. Alan Horn (L) and actor John Mahoney arrive at the premiere of Warner Bros. 'Flipped' at the Cinerama Dome Theater on July 26, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Actor John Mahoney attends the 'Flipped' Los Angeles Premiere at ArcLight Cinemas Cinerama Dome on July 26, 2010 in Hollywood, California.
INDIANAPOLIS - AUGUST 02: John Mahoney during the Q&A session following the screening of 'Flipped' at the Hilbert Circle Theatre on August 2, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joey Foley/Getty Images)
Actors Jane Krakowski (R) and John Mahoney perform during the 61st Annual Tony Awards in New York June 10, 2007. REUTERS/Gary Hershorn (UNITED STATES)
Cast members Ashley Taylor, Stefanie Scott, Madeline Carroll, John Mahoney and Penelope Ann Miller (from L-R) pose for photographers at the premiere of the film "Flipped" in Los Angeles July 26, 2010. REUTERS/Phil McCarten (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT)
FRASIER -- 'Death and the Dog' Episode 12 -- Pictured: (l-r) John Mahoney as Martin Crane, Moose as Eddie (Photo by Gale M. Adler/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
FRASIER -- Season 1 -- Pictured: (Back, l-r) David Hyde Pierce as Doctor Niles Crane, Peri Gilpin as Roz Doyle, John Mahoney as Martin Crane, Jane Leeves as Daphne Moon, (Front, seated) Kelsey Grammer as Doctor Frasier Crane (Photo by David Rose/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
FRASIER -- Season 7 -- Pictured: (l-r) Peri Gilpin as Roz Doyle, John Mahoney as Martin Crane, Kelsey Grammer as Doctor Frasier Crane, Moose as Eddie, David Hyde Pierce as Doctor Niles Crane, Jane Leeves as Daphne Moon (Photo by Chris Haston/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
John Mahoney during 55th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards - Governors Ball at The Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by Chris Weeks/FilmMagic)
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He became a fixture at Chicago's fabled Steppenwolf Theater and soon ventured to the New York stage. He distinguished himself in an off-Broadway production of Orphans, for which he received a Theatre World Award.

Mahoney won a Tony Award in 1986 for his performance in a revival of John Guare's The House of Blue Leaves. The production was videotaped for PBS' Theatre in America series. In 2007, he was back on Broadway in a revival of Prelude to a Kiss.

In movies, Mahoney garnered recognition Barry Levinson's Tin Men (1987), playing Richard Dreyfuss' business partner. The same year, he was memorable in Moonstruck as a depressed college professor who regularly had affairs with his students.

His other film credits include a performance as a trial judge in Suspect (1987), the manager of the White Sox in Eight Men Out (1988) and a protective father beleaguered by John Cusak's interest in his daughter in Say Anything (1989).

Although he was offered numerous series  after Frasier, Mahoney moved back to Illinois in 2003 and began acting again with the Steppenwolf company, first starring as Tom Garrison in I Never Sang for My Father. The following year, he played Sir in The Dresser.

His dulcet warble was recognizable in voice work on such films as Antz (1998), The Iron Giant (1999) and Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001).

More to come ...

 

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