Tributes to beloved Frasier star John Mahoney have poured in after the iconic theater actor’s death on Sunday, including touching accolades from his co-stars on the show that made him a household name.
Mahoney died at the age of 77 of complications from throat cancer.
Peri Gilpin, who played Roz Doyle on Frasier, took to Twitter to share a photo of Mahoney as he sang at her wedding.
“Watch Moonstruck, Say Anything and/or Frasier or anything you can with him in it and raise a glass to John. Remember him well,” Gilpin wrote.
Gilpin was also among Mahoney’s co-stars who sang his praises to Rolling Stone, saying: “John knew what was important. He cared about people. He stayed grounded. He ran lines with me and he insisted that I stop mugging for the camera! He told the same stories over and over every week to every new guest star, but they were funny every time. He had the greatest laugh. When he said you did good, you knew you had. He always said thank you.”
Ted Danson, whose Cheers character Sam Malone made appearances on the Seattle-based spinoff, told the magazine: “John could do anything as an actor; he was so nimble. He was also a gentleman. His kindness radiated from him. I will miss him. Much love John!”
Jane Leeves, who portrayed Daphne Moon on the long-running show, also reflected on Mahoney’s generous nature and skill as an actor.
“John was the dearest, sweetest man I have ever known,” she told Rolling Stone. “His wicked sense of humor, usually whispered in your ear or spoken just loud enough that only you could hear could bring you to tears. And his smile. Oh my God. He was lit from within. How lucky I am to have had him in my life. I loved him so much and will miss him so terribly.”
Mahoney’s portrayal of blue collar retired police officer Martin Crane on Frasier endeared him to millions watching the hit sitcom for 11 seasons from 1993 through 2004.
But his real passion was within the theater, where he placed his focus after the beloved sitcom’s conclusion.
For 39 years, Mahoney was an ensemble member of the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago, his home since he emigrated to the U.S. from Manchester, England, at 19 years old.
He became a U.S. citizen in 1959, but wouldn’t pursue acting until he was nearing his 40s.
He joined the Steppenwolf Theatre ensemble in 1979 at the urging of his friends, John Malkovich and Gary Sinise, and performed in his last role there this past fall in Jessica Dickey’s The Rembrandt.
In announcing Mahoney’s passing, the theater company canceled its Monday night opening performance of You Got Older. Instead, they gathered to remember Mahoney in the theatre’s front bar.
His love for Chicago was mutual, as Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement Monday that Mahoney’s “work and impact will endure for generations to come.”
Emanuel was among the many sharing their condolences and memories of Mahoney, who was also remembered for his roles in Moonstruck, Say Anything and Barton Fink.
“His credit card gets declined in Say Anthing is a whole acting class,” tweeted actor Thomas Lennon.
John Cusack, Mahoney’s co-star in Say Anything, him a “great actor” and “lovely kind human,” noting “any time you saw him you left feeling better.”
“He was a prince among men,” his Frasier co-star Bebe Neuwirth wrote, earlier tweeting: “Rest in peace dear John.”
“Here’s to you, John Mahoney!” Say Anything director Cameron Crowe wrote. “You make the unforgettable look easy.”