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Tony Winner, Steppenwolf Vet, and Frasier Star John Mahoney Dies at 77

Mahoney received his Tony for his performance in The House of Blue Leaves.

John Mahoney has died at 77.
(© Joseph Marzullo)

John Mahoney, the Tony-winning actor best known for his performance as Martin Crane on Frasier, has died at the age of 77. Chicago's Steppenwolf, Mahoney's longtime artistic home, confirmed his passing and canceled its Monday opening of You Got Older so the company could host an impromptu memorial for the actor.

Born in Blackpool, Lancashire, England, Mahoney moved to the United States in his late teens, studying at Quincy University and later joining the Army in order to speed up his citizenship process. Serving as the editor of a medical journal, Mahoney only began acting in his late thirties when he found himself dissatisfied with his current career.

Mahoney joined Steppenwolf in 1979 at the behest of cofounders John Malkovich and Gary Sinise. His countless productions with the organization include The Herd and The Seafarer, among score of other shows.

For his 1986 Broadway debut in John Guare's The House of Blue Leaves, Mahoney received the Tony for Best Featured Actor in a Play. He also won that year's Clarence Derwent Award for his performance as Artie Shaughnessy, which he originated in the Lincoln Center Theater off-Broadway production. He won a 1985 Theatre World Award for his performance in Lyle Kessler's Orphans. His last Broadway appearance was in Roundabout Theatre Company's 2007 revival of Prelude to a Kiss.

Mahoney appeared in 263 episodes of TV's Frasier, as the lovably cantankerous father of Kelsey Grammer and David Hyde Pierce's characters. He received nominations for multiple Emmys, Golden Globes, and SAG Awards. His film credits include Moonstruck, Tin Men, and Barton Fink, among others.

In late 2017, Mahoney made his final stage appearance at Steppenwolf in the play The Rembrandt, in which he played a dying poet.


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