John Mahoney, the actor best know for playing Frasier and Niles Crane’s father on Frasier, has died aged 77.


Mahoney’s publicist Paul Martino confirmed the death to the Hollywood Reporter. The actor died Sunday at his home in Chicago. Mahoney earned two Emmy nominations for playing the curmudgeonly dad on the hit sitcom, which ran on NBC from 1993-2004. His cause of death was from complications from cancer.

Mahoney was born in Blackpool, England, in 1940 but moved to Illinois after WWII. He joined the US Army at age 19 to gain faster citizenship and quickly lost his British accent, though he was able to call it back up for certain roles. Prior to acting, Mahoney was a medical magazine editor and taught English as Western Illinois University in the early 1970s. He always had an interest in acting, but didn’t study the medium until he was nearly 40.

First he acted on Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre stage, gaining recognition in the theater world. He made his debut in The Water Engine at age 37. He met John Malkovich, the founder of the theater, in 1977 and was invited to join the troupe. He starred in The MisanthropeThe Price and What the Butler Saw before venturing to New York. There, he won a Theatre World Award for an Off-Broadway production of Orphans. In 1985, Mahoney won a Tony for his performance in The House of Blue Leaves. He returned to Broadway in 2007 in a revival of Prelude to a Kiss.

One of Mahoney’s first TV credits was in NBC’s Chicago Story in 1982. More recently, he had a recurring role as Betty White‘s love interest in Hot in Cleveland.

In movies, Mahoney earned recognition in Tin Men in 1987 alongside Richard Dreyfuss. That same year, he acted as a depressed college professor in Moonstruck. Other film credits include Eight Men Out (1988), Say Anything (1989), Reality Bites (1994) and Dan in Real Life (2007). He lent his voice to such animated films as Antz (1998), The Iron Giant (1999) and Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001).

After starring in Frasier, Mahoney moved back to Chicago and acted with the Steppenwolf Theatre once again.

“It is with our deepest sorrow that we share the news that ensemble member of 39 years John Mahoney passed away. Tonight’s opening night performance of You Got Older has been cancelled. We are instead inviting all to gather in Front Bar this evening. All are welcome to join us,” wrote the official Twitter account of the Steppenwolf Theatre.

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