John Mahoney passed away at 77. He was a long-respected British stage actor who would earn his greatest fame playing a blue-collar American cop on a long-running popular sitcom. He did a considerable amount of voice acting on screen, but his most prominent movie role was as a sympathetic dad with a dark side in one of the most beloved films of the 1980s.
John Mahoney had a career that began in the late ‘70s and continued until his final role in 2015. The headline roles of his career, though, were two: As gruff retired cop Martin Crane for 11 years on Frasier, and as another dad, James Court, in Cameron Crowe’s 1989 film Say Anything…
Mahoney died Monday in Chicago, at the age of 77, TMZ was first to report. Mahoney had been in hospice care, with an undisclosed illness. Mahoney was born in Blackpool, England, in 1940, one of eight children, and he grew up in Manchester. He moved to the U.S. after the war and settled in Illinois. After working as an editor at a medical journal, he took up acting in the mid-1970s, and was brought into Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre Company in 1977. After a decade of stage work, Mahoney began appearing in movies in 1982.
His first major big screen role was in 1987’s Tin Men, directed by Barry Levinson; he was also in Moonstruck that year, and both Frantic and Eight Men Out in 1988. The next year came Mahoney’s most famous movie role, as James Court, the devoted father who committed crimes to ensure his daughter’s future, in Crowe’s Say Anything... He was also in a pair of Coen Brothers movies, Barton Fink and The Hudsucker Proxy.
When the ‘90s began, Mahoney got a regular role on the TV series H.E.L.P., and another called The Human Factor. But his most prominent and longest-lasting TV role was as Martin, the gruff father of sophisticated psychiatrists Nile and Frasier Crane on Frasier. Mahoney would play Martin Crane for all 11 seasons of the show, giving most audiences their most extended exposure to the actor.
In the later years of his career, Mahoney played the heavy in Primal Fear and the patriarch of a group of gay men in 2000’s The Broken Hearts Club. Mahoney also took a lot of voice roles in this period, in such films as The Iron Giant and even one episode of The Simpsons. Among his final roles were a run as a regular on the sitcom Hot and Cleveland, and the TV series Foyle’s War.
Rest in Peace John Mahoney: June 20, 1940 - February 4, 2018