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Kelsey Grammer returned to reprise his role of Dr. Frasier Crane one more time. Over the last four years, Grammer has taken on the part of Frasier across multiple TV shows, beginning with Cheers and now, presumably, ending with the Frasier reboot. While Frasier is Grammer’s signature role, the part was initially intended for someone other than him. The character was actually created with another actor in mind. Grammer was only afforded the chance to audition for the role because John Lithgow turned down the part. 

John Lithgow could have played Dr. Frasier Crane, but he turned down the part 

While Kelsey Grammer turned out to be the perfect Frasier, the role wasn’t supposed to be his. If John Lithgow hadn’t turned down the part, script unseen, Grammer wouldn’t have ever gotten the opportunity to audition. Lithgow reminisced about his career and his near misses in a recent interview. The topic of Cheers and the role of Dr. Frasier Crane came up. 

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 14: John Lithgow attends The Old Man” Season 1 NYC Tastemaker Event at MOMA on June 14, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)

In a chat with The Guardian, Lithgow discussed his career. He even chatted about why he opted to turn down the role of Frasier Crane. He said that he was successfully acting in movies when he was offered the role of Dr. Frasier Crane. Lithgow immediately turned it down. He told the publication that he turned down the role because, at the time, a comedy series was “so beneath my dignity.” 

Lithgow didn’t give Cheers, or the role of Dr. Frasier Crane much thought after that. He told the publication that he only realized he had turned down the part when his career took him to TV. Ironically, he remembered turning down the part on he set of another comedy series. While working with Jimmy Burrows on 3rd Rock from the Sun, he was reminded that he refused to take on the role of Frasier. Lithgow joked that by the time he ran into the co-creator of Cheers, he had no dignity left. 

Kelsey Grammer was pretty sure he wasn’t getting the part after auditioning 

The Cheers production team went looking for an actor to take on the role of Dr. Crane after John Lithgow brutally rebuffed them. Kelsey Grammer’s name was thrown around, and the star was flown in to read for the part. In an interview on In Conversation With…Grammer revealed that he liked the character and the script but was sure he had not been picked. 

Actor Kelsey Grammer at the piano, 1988. (Photo by Kypros/Getty Images)

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Grammer recalled leaving the audition room feeling sure he would not land the role because he did not receive a single laugh from the casting team. As it turned out, he didn’t need a laugh. According to several sources, the chemistry between Grammer and Ted Danson, who played Sam Malone on Cheers, convinced the team that Grammer was the right fit. He received the call that he landed the part before his plane ride home was over.