Tuesday 6 February 2018


Sad to hear of the death of that fine actor John Mahoney, who achieved well deserved fame as Marty Crane, unlikely father of Frasier and Niles, in that great sitcom Frasier. Born in Manchester, Mahoney followed his sister to Illinois, and joined the army to get his US citizenship as fast as possible. He dropped his English accent because it attracted too much attention to him and 'I just wanted to blend in'. Coming to acting late – at the age of 37 – he got his start with John Malkovich's Steppenwolf company and was soon landing film roles. A cameo appearance in Cheers led to Kelsey Grammer recommending him for the role of Dad in the spin-off Frasier – and the rest is television history.  Maloney delivered a perfectly judged, delicately nuanced performance, skilfully adapting his expressive face to the small screen and creating one of the great sitcom characters, at once blunt and cantankerous, charming and sensitive – and a whole lot wiser than his pretentious sons.
 It was not his only memorable performance, as anyone who has seen the Coen brothers' Barton Fink will testify. Here he is as W.P. Mayhew – clearly based on William Faulkner – making himself known to the hapless Barton (John Turturro)...


  1. I believe, sir, that Mr. Mahoney may have been born in Blackpool, like that other great UK actor of yours, David Thewlis, who stoked up a real barnstormer of a performance in the recent Wonder Woman.

  2. Quite right, Mr Ryder, though he grew up mostly in Manchester.

  3. He was also great in Moonstruck. The current issue of The New Yorker has a fine appreciation of him in that film.