06 May Kelsey Grammer ~ Survivor and Appreciates All of Life
Allen Kelsey Grammer (born February 21, 1955) is an American actor, voice actor, comedian, singer, producer, director, writer and activist, best known for his two-decade-long portrayal of psychiatrist Dr. Frasier Crane on the NBC sitcoms Cheers and Frasier. He produced the sitcom Girlfriends, which aired on UPN and The CW. Grammer has won five Primetime Emmy Awards, three Golden Globe Awards, one Daytime Emmy Award and one Tony Award; additionally, he has also worked as a television producer, director, and writer.
Kelsey Grammer was born in Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, the son of Sally (née Cranmer; 1928–2008), a singer and actress, and Frank Allen Grammer, Jr. (d. 1968), a musician and owner of a coffee shop and a bar and grill called Greer’s Place. He had one younger sister, Karen.
Grammer’s personal life has been surrounded by family tragedies. He was raised by his mother and maternal grandparents in New Jersey. The family later relocated to Pompano Beach, Florida, and shortly afterwards, Kelsey’s grandfather died of cancer when he was twelve years old. In 1968, his father was murdered in a home invasion. In 1975, his sister was kidnapped, raped, and murdered in Colorado Springs. In 1980, his two half-brothers died in a scuba diving accident. During an interview with the Cayman Compass in 2019, Grammer described himself as a “a Caribbean kid” who “was born in St. Thomas, USVI, and I have been back and forth a lot, gone to the Bahamas a lot, St. John and the Virgin Islands and the BVI.”
Grammer attended Pine Crest School, a private preparatory school in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It was there that he first began to sing and perform on stage. From the age of 16, with his mother’s approval, he began to smoke a pipe. Grammer won a scholarship to the Juilliard School. He was a member of Group 6 from 1973 to 1975. Due to his sister’s murder, Grammer failed to attend classes and was eventually expelled.
After leaving Juilliard, Grammer had a three-year internship with the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego in the late 1970s before a stint in 1980 at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He made his Broadway debut in 1981 as “Lennox” in Macbeth, taking the lead role when Philip Anglim withdrew after receiving negative reviews. Grammer then played Michael Cassio in a Broadway revival of Othello, with James Earl Jones and Christopher Plummer. In 1983 he performed in the demo of the Stephen Sondheim–James Lapine production Sunday in the Park with George, starring Mandy Patinkin. In 2000, Grammer again played Macbeth on Broadway, in a production that closed after only 10 days.
On April 18, 2010, Grammer made his Broadway musical debut playing the role of Georges in a revival of the Jerry Herman/Harvey Fierstein musical La Cage aux Folles, for which he was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical. Grammer originated the roles of Charles Frohman and Captain Hook in the Broadway premiere of the musical Finding Neverland in March 2015, continuing with the roles through June 28, 2015. He returned to the stage from January 19 to April 3, 2016.
Television: Cheers, Frasier, Wings
In 1984, Grammer appeared as Dr. Frasier Crane in the NBC sitcom Cheers. Grammer’s former Juilliard classmate and Broadway co-star Mandy Patinkin suggested Grammer to the New York casting director, and he got what was supposed to be a six-episode job, but ended up as a regular cast member until May 1993, when the show ended.
In September 1993 the character became the center of the spin-off Frasier, one of the most successful spin-offs in TV history. In addition to starring, he also directed more than 30 episodes, especially during the second half of the series, and sang the closing theme “Tossed Salads and Scrambled Eggs.” Frasier was nominated for and won many awards during its 11-year run, concluding in May 2004.
Grammer received 11 consecutive Primetime Emmy Award nominations for his role in Frasier. He won four times, tied with Carrol O’Connor, Michael J. Fox and Jim Parsons for the most wins for Primetime Emmy Award for Best Actor in a Comedy Series.
In 2001, he negotiated a $700,000-per-episode salary for Frasier. His 20-year run playing Dr. Frasier Crane ties a previous long run set by James Arness in playing Marshal Matt Dillon on Gunsmoke from 1955 to 1975 but was surpassed by Richard Belzer in playing Det. John Munch on Homicide: Life on the Street and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit since 1993.
Frasier Crane also had a crossover appearance in 1993 Wings episode “Planes, Trains, & Visiting Cranes”.
In 2005, Grammer returned to television. He produced and appeared in an American adaptation of the British show The Sketch Show, which aired on Fox. The main cast consisted of Malcolm Barrett, Kaitlin Olson, Mary Lynn Rajskub and Paul F. Tompkins, as well as Lee Mack from the British version of the show. Grammer appeared in only short opening and closing segments in each episode. Many of the sketches from the British version were re-created, such as the “California Dreamin’”, “English Course”, and “Sign Language” sketches. Only six episodes of the show were made, and it was cancelled after only four of them had aired.
In 2007, Grammer starred with Patricia Heaton in the American sitcom Back to You, which Fox cancelled after its first season. His next attempt, ABC’s Hank, fared even worse. It was cancelled after only five episodes had aired. Grammer later commented, “Honestly, it just wasn’t very funny.”
In 2011 and 2012, Grammer found temporary success in the Starz drama series Boss as a fictional mayor of Chicago in the mold of Richard J. Daley which premiered in October 2011. It was his first dramatic TV series. At the 2012 Golden Globe Awards Kelsey Grammer won the award for Best Actor in a Television Series Drama for his role on Boss. The show ran for 18 episodes over two seasons.
In 2014 Grammer returned to sitcom television in Partners with comedian Martin Lawrence and was cancelled after its first season.
Grammer has had a variety of parts in film and supplied his voice for many projects.
In addition to his early family tragedies, Grammer has fought back from cocaine addiction, the loss of 3 children through miscarriages, and a near fatal heart attack.
Kelsey Grammer has been married four times and has seven children. Spencer, 35, Greer, 27 – Mason, 17 – Jude, 14 – Faith, 6 – Kelsey, 4 – Auden, 2. ( 4 girls, 3 boys). His net worth is reported at $60 million dollars.
Editorial Comment: It is the opinion of this editor that Dr. Frasier Crane has more ‘story’ to tell. In the final episode, he was moving to San Francisco, California to take a television spot. There is a lot of good, bad, ugly, and beautiful which could be told there. Maybe Grammer wouldn’t want to work that hard at 65; yet the fans would love it if he did. Many of the NBY! readers start their next best life at that age.