British-born Catholic actor John Mahoney, famous for his role as Martin Crane in hit US sitcom Frasier, has died at the age of 77.
Mahoney, who appeared in the long-running series for 11 years, died in Chicago on Sunday 4th February.
He earned legions of fans and a Screen Actors Guild award for his portrayal of the cranky retired detective and army veteran Marty, father of Kelsey Grammer’s Frasier.
He starred in Frasier from its first episode in 1993 to its final show in 2004 and was twice nominated for an Emmy for the role. He was joined in 193 episodes by Eddie, Marty’s beloved terrier.
The sitcom’s casting director, Jeff Greenberg, paid tribute to Mahoney, tweeting: ‘I’ve not known a kinder man nor more brilliant actor. We were all blessed to have spent 11 glorious years together.’
Meanwhile, US actress Peri Gilpin, who appeared alongside him throughout Frasier’s 263 episodes as Roz Doyle, tweeted a picture of Mahoney singing at her wedding, adding: ‘Watch Moonstruck, Say Anything and/or Frasier or anything you can with him in it and raise a glass to John. Remember him well.’
Mahoney was born in Bispham, Blackpool, on 20th June 1940 after his Irish-Catholic family was evacuated there from their home city of Manchester during the Second World War.
Mahoney opened up about his faith during his time on Fraiser when The Chicago Tribune interviewed him in 1996.
“I was raised a Catholic and still practice, though probably not as often as I should,” he told the paper. “But when I say my prayers every day, I ask for love and respect and dignity. And I try to give those things too.”
Mahoney was educated at St Joseph’s Catholic College in Blackpool and, following the war, the family eventually moved back to Manchester, where he attended the Stretford Children’s Theatre.
Mahoney later moved to the US where he was granted citizenship after service in the military.
After teaching English at Western Illinois University, Mahoney decided to take up acting and joined the Steppenwolf Theatre in the mid-1970s.
As well appearing in Frasier, Mahoney starred in a vast array of TV shows and films, including Tin Men, the aforementioned Moonstruck and the Coen Brothers’ Barton Fink.
He most recently appeared on TV screens in 2015, when he portrayed businessman Andrew Del Mar in an episode of ITV drama Foyle’s War. He took time to revisit parts of North West England from his childhood while filming the ITV show.
Mahoney lived in Oak Park, Illinois, and admitted to falling in love with Chicago after visiting there as a student.
Picture: John Mahoney. (Globe Photos/SIPA USA/PA).