David Hyde Pierce Said He Drew Inspiration From His Own Life While Playing Paul Child and Dr. Niles Crane

David Hyde Pierce spent 11 years playing Dr. Niles Crane on Frasier. More recently, he is portraying Paul Child, the husband of Julia Child, in the HBO Max original, Julia. At first glance, the two characters don’t seem to have much in common. Still, there is a common thread. Both characters are singularly focused on their partners (or eventual partner in Niles’ case). Pierce recently revealed he uses his own life to tap into that feeling. 

Dr. Niles Crane and Paul Child have something in common 

Dr. Niles Crane and Paul Child don’t seem to have a ton in common, aside from the actor who portrays them. After all, one is a fictional character while the other is a real person. Still, they do share one common trait. Both Niles Crane and Paul Child are completely devoted to their partners. 

David Hyde Pierce is seen in HBO Max's 'Julia'
David Hyde Pierce | Seacia Pavao / HBO Max

Paul Child and Julia Child met while working for the government in the 1940s. They married in 1946 and supported each other in their endeavors. Julia followed Paul to France for his job. When they returned stateside, Paul served as Julia’s biggest supporter as she started her cooking show. Julia follows the couple’s journey to get Julia’s cooking show off the ground.

Jane Leeves as Daphne Moon and David Hyde Pierce as Doctor Niles Crane in 'Frasier'
Jane Leeves as Daphne Moon and David Hyde Pierce as Doctor Niles Crane | NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Niles was infatuated with Daphne Moon, his father’s physical therapist, the moment he saw her. That interest never left. Even when he was with other partners, Niles was in love with Daphne. His infatuation grew into complete devotion. The couple’s marriage was a highlight of Frasier for many fans. 

David Hyde Pierce says he knows exactly how Niles and Paul felt

In an interview with The Guardian, Pierce reflected on the two iconic characters he has been lucky enough to play and their commonality. There is a reason he’s so expertly portrayed characters who are completely devoted to one person; he is devoted to one person in his real life, too.

Brian Hargrove and David Hyde Pierce attend the oepning night of 'The Country Girl' in New York City in 2008
David Hyde Pierce and Brian Hargrove | Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic

Pierce told the publication, “Well, I have done it in real life. I’m completely devoted to one person, so I know what that feels like.” He mused that his parents led by example. Pierce is married to Brian Hargrove, a fellow actor. According to E!, the duo met in the 1980s and tied the knot in a private ceremony in 2008. 

Will David Hyde Pierce return to ‘Frasier’? 

Pierce might be busy with his current role, but fans want to know if he’ll ever reprise his role as Dr. Niles Crane. A reboot of the famed series, Frasier, is reportedly in the works, but no one is entirely sure who will be joining the cast or when the project could make it to Paramount+. 

John Mulaney, Peri Gilpin, Jane Leeves and David Hyde Pierce in a promotional photo for 'Frasier'
The cast of ‘Frasier’ | David Rose/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Pierce has said he knew very little about the proposed project, and Bebe Neuwirth, the actor who played Lilith Sternin, has said she’s heard nothing about it, either. Neuwirth also appears in Julia. While both seem open to returning, if they are asked, there is one cast member who might be more difficult to get on board. 

In 2021, Jane Leeves told Entertainment Weekly that she had very little information about the reboot, but she wouldn’t be interested in leaving her current role to portray Daphne Moon again. Leeves currently appears on The Resident as Kit Voss. Kelsey Grammer seems to be the only cast member who is publicly tied to the reboot at this time. 

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