‘Frasier’: Kelsey Grammer and David Hyde Pierce Refer to Their TV Dad in the Sweetest Way

One of the most beloved TV dads of the ’90s and early 2000s was undeniably Martin Crane on Frasier, played by the late, great John Mahoney. When he took that fatherly role in 1993, he was already a familiar face in movies (like Moonstruck) and on TV as a renowned character actor. Frasier turned him into a superstar, something paving his acting legacy.

Along that 11-year journey, Mahoney became close with his fellow cast members. Due to Kelsey Grammer’s personal issues for the first few years, Mahoney became a real fatherly figure in more ways than one.

When Mahoney passed away in 2018, Grammer and others revealed how much of a real father the actor was.

(From L-R:) Dan Butler, John Mahoney, Peri Gilpin, Kelsey Grammer, Jane Leeves and David Hyde Pierce.
(L-R) Dan Butler, John Mahoney, Peri Gilpin, Kelsey Grammer, Jane Leeves and David Hyde Pierce | Kim Kulish/Getty Images

John Mahoney was a very generous actor

A couple of years ago, the surviving cast of Frasier assembled for the show’s 25th-anniversary with Vanity Fair. During the panel discussion, they paid tribute to Mahoney who had recently died.

Many of the cast noted he gave generously to numerous foundations, something not known by all until those organizations mentioned his largess at his funeral. Yes, he was one of those rare notables who gave back automatically to those less fortunate, keeping it a secret until after his passing.

Said producer Chris Lloyd: “We’d have rehearsal at 12:30 and be off the stage by 1:30. I’d always see John, however, walking to his car at 4:30. I finally asked him what he was doing. He said he was responding to fan letters. He had a rule that if anybody wrote to him, he’d write back.”

Hearing about his generosity like this already places him on a pedestal as a genuine fatherly figure. Only a couple members of the cast considered him like a real father when the series was still going.

Kelsey Grammer was arguably the closest to John Mahoney

RELATED: ‘Frasier’: David Hyde Pierce Was ‘Completely Uncomfortable’ With All the Attention the Show Brought Him

For the first few seasons, Kelsey Grammer was living with addiction. This was due to his feelings of guilt over the murder of his sister years before, something that took him years to sort out psychologically.

By Frasier’s third season, the cast had to assemble and create an intervention after Grammer crashed his Dodge Viper in Malibu, according to Ranker. At the head of this intervention was John Mahoney himself who said then: “It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life because basically, it’s kicking a dead horse. It’s going to somebody’s house whom you love, who’s down, and just beating him down even further for his own good. And it was … horrifying.”

Grammer reportedly already felt like Mahoney was a father figure from the beginning because former had lost his father at such a young age. One might say Mahoney was a necessary part of the show in more than one way, namely to keep everyone else in check.

In more recent years, Grammer and David Hyde Pierce refer to Mahoney with an affectionate personal designation.

John Mahoney really was “Dad” for the ‘Frasier’ cast

During that above 25th anniversary gathering, Grammer and Pierce both referred to Mahoney as “Dad”, as if he really was their father. Working together for 11 years required having a fatherly figure to keep everyone in line, and Mahoney did it better than anyone.

When Mahoney died in February of 2018, Grammer’s official statement according to People was: “He was my father. I loved him.” Grammer also spoke about Pierce and having a similar relationship as if they really were brothers.

All of this goes to show how close cast members really become when working on a long-running show. Spending so many long hours together makes for essentially a second family, something seen with so many other shows, even ones running half as long.

One thing for sure is Frasier still holds up in reruns. Watching it now knowing the family dynamics were real makes it all the more believable and amazing in its casting prowess.