John Mahoney was born in Blackpool, Lancashire, England, and moved to Illinois when he was a teenager. He taught English at Western Illinois University before he took acting classes and decided that THE STAGE was his true calling. He joined the company of Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theater, and recently acted in the theater’s production of The Rembrandt. He made his Broadway debut in 1986 in The House of Blue Leaves. He won a Best Featured Actor in a Play Tony award for his performance.
Like most theater actors who want to pay their rent and bills, John went off to do screen stuff. He was in the movies Tin Men, Moonstruck, Barton Fink, The Russia House, and he played the dad in Say Anything… On TV, he guest starred on Cheers before he got the role of Marty Crane on Frasier, proving that you’re never too old to fulfill the dream of landing a gig that will bring you fat residual checks for the rest of your days. (Fun fact: John was only 15 years older than Kelsey Grammer and 19 years older than David Hyde Pearce.) Perfectly playing the blue collar dad of two dandy snobs got John two Emmy nominations.
During and after Frasier’s run, John acted in other things like Reality Bites, The Hudsucker Proxy, The American President, The Broken Hearts Club, In Treatment and Hot in Cleveland (playing Betty White’s boo).
As for John Mahoney’s private life, he didn’t really talk about it and always kept it private from public eyes and ears.
Since everything from the 90s is getting revived, it’s only a matter of time before Frasier gets revived. So before we burn calories while raging over Frasier coming back without Marty and Eddie, let’s happily remember the time Marty showed us the foolery that eating an edible brings (at the 14:44 mark):
Rest in peace, John Mahoney.