This week, we remember John Mahoney who died Sunday “due to complications from cancer while in hospice care”. Over the years, Mahoney received plenty of awards and nominations for his work both on Stage and on Screen, but most will remember him as the witty, retired police officer father on Frasier, Martin Crane.
In a show that was flooded with literary/ art history/ psychology references, Marty Crane was usually the character that helped bring the show back down to Earth. No matter how much Frasier and his brother Niles overcomplicated things, Martin had a way of cutting to the heart of the matter. Sure a lot of this was thanks to the writers, but Mahoney’s earnest and upbeat delivery is what really made these moments stick. More than anyone on Frasier, Mahoney/ Martin Crane knew how to connect with people, and that was a skill he undoubtedly learned in his years on stage.
In interviews over the years, Mahoney often talked about/ advised up-and-coming actors about getting started on stage due to how it places the relationship between the actor and audience first and foremost! This is most certainly why his portrayal of Martin Crane resonated with us so deeply! Though despite all his accomplishments, he was always a student and tried to see as much Theater as he could. In fact, you might be surprised to find out that despite Niles and Frasier being the opera of the show, it was actually John Mahoney (Martin) who first got David Hyde Pierce (Niles) into Opera! He might have been best known for TV, but it was the Theater that he always saw as the more intimate and expressive art form.
Mahoney will be deeply missed; and whereas we certainly have many memories of ‘Martin Crane’; here’s one of my favorite interviews with John Mahoney, so you can get to know the man behind the character.