John Mahoney (born 20 June 1940) is an English-born American actor. Born in Blackpool, Mahoney started his career on the stage in 1977 and moved into film in 1980. He played Martin Crane in the American sitcom Frasier on NBC from 1993 to 2004. He has also worked as a voice actor, and performed on Broadway and in Chicago theatre.
Mahoney, the seventh of eight children, was born in Blackpool, Lancashire, England. The family was evacuated to Blackpool from the Mahoneys' home city of Manchester which was heavily bombed during the Second World War. He started school at St Joseph's College, Blackpool. After the war, the Mahoneys moved back to Manchester. Mahoney grew up in the Withington area of the city and discovered acting at the Stretford Children's Theatre. His Irish father, Reg, was a baker who played classical piano, and his mother, Margaret, was a housewife who loved reading. His parents' marriage was not happy and they either would not speak to each other or have heated arguments. The family situation accompanied with the war fueled Mahoney's intrigue for acting and he vowed to leave Manchester. Mahoney moved to the United States as a young man when his older sister, Vera, a war bride living in rural Illinois, agreed to sponsor him. He studied at Quincy University, Illinois, before joining the United States Army to speed up the U.S. citizenship process; he received citizenship in 1959. He lived in Macomb, Illinois, and taught English at Western Illinois University in the early 1970s, before settling in Forest Park, Illinois, and later in Oak Park, Illinois. He served as editor of a medical journal through much of the decade.
Dissatisfied with his career, Mahoney took acting classes at St. Nicholas Theatre, which inspired him to quit his day job and pursue acting full-time, and after a stage production in 1977, John Malkovich encouraged him to join Steppenwolf Theatre. He did so and went on to win the Clarence Derwent Award as Most Promising Male Newcomer. Gary Sinise, co-founder of Steppenwolf, said in an interview for Bomb Magazine that Lyle Kessler's play Orphans "kicked John Mahoney, Kevin Anderson and Terry Kinney off into the movie business" after their Steppenwolf performance in it where he won the Derwent Award and the Theatre World Award. He won Broadway's Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play for his performance in John Guare's The House of Blue Leaves.
Mahoney appeared in Frasier from its inception in 1993 until the final episode in 2004; Mahoney received numerous Emmy and Golden Globe award nominations for this role. He played the role of Martin "Marty" Crane, the father of Frasier Crane and Niles Crane. NBC executives so highly esteemed Mahoney that Warren Littlefield declared he was pre-approved when the Frasier creative team suggested casting him as the father. Prior to appearing on the series, Mahoney appeared in episode 5 season 11 of Cheers as inept jingle writer Sy Flembeck and has a brief conversation with Frasier Crane. Mahoney also appeared as a priest in Becker which starred Cheers regular Ted Danson.
Mahoney's first voice job was in W. B. Yeats' "The Words upon the Window-Pane" for the award-winning National Radio Theater of Chicago. He provided the voices for several characters in the animated film Antz (1998), Preston Whitmore in Atlantis: The Lost Empire and Atlantis: Milo's Return, General Rogard in The Iron Giant (1999), and Kronk's Papi in Kronk's New Groove (but is succeeded by Jeff Bennett in The Emperor's New School). In 2007, he provided the voice of Dr. Robert Terwilliger Sr. (Sideshow Bob's father) in The Simpsons episode "Funeral for a Fiend". This reunited him with his Frasier co-stars Kelsey Grammer (Sideshow Bob) and David Hyde Pierce (Cecil, Sideshow Bob's brother).
Mahoney co-starred as The Old Man in the Broadway revival of the play Prelude to a Kiss at the American Airlines Theater in a limited-run engagement from previews February 17, 2007 through April 29, 2007. He appeared as an elderly drag queen in the ER season 13 episode "Somebody to Love", and co-starring as Steve Carell's father (himself a veteran of Chicago theatre) in the 2007 romantic comedy film Dan in Real Life. In March 2008, he opened in the world premiere of Better Late at the Northlight Theatre. He is also the narrator for Midwest Airlines commercials. Mahoney also made two appearances on USA's Burn Notice in the second (2009) and third (2010) season finales. His character, referred to only as "Management", is a senior intelligence agency official that is the apparent main mover of the conspiracy which blacklisted Michael Westen.
Mahoney joined the cast of the HBO drama In Treatment for the show's second season (2009) as a frenetic CEO who is overwhelmed by his personal and professional responsibilities and experiences chronic physical anxiety attacks. In 2010, he made a guest appearance on $#@! My Dad Says as homophobic retired naval officer Lt. Commander Wally Durham. Despite the numerous successes throughout his career, Mahoney has maintained that his early work in Lyle Kessler's play Orphans has "affected people more than any other play I've ever done. I still get mail from it, I still get people stopping me on the street, and it's twenty years later."
Beginning in April 2011, Mahoney began rehearsing The Outgoing Tide, a new play by Bruce Graham at Northlight Theatre in Skokie, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago). The play also stars fellow Chicago actors Rondi Reed and Thom Cox. In 2011, he had two guest appearances on the TV Land sitcom Hot In Cleveland as Roy, a waiter and a love interest for Betty White's character, Elka. This reunited him with his Frasier co-star Jane Leeves as well as Wendie Malick whose character he eventually married in Frasier and his co-star in the movie The American President. Mahoney was a featured ensemble cast member in The Birthday Party, playing in Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre from January 24 to April 28, 2013.
Along with David Hyde Pierce, Mahoney is godfather to Frasier co-star Jane Leeves's son Finn. Mahoney has scarcely talked about his private life, but in a 2002 article he revealed he has been in several relationships, although he has never married. Mahoney lives in Oak Park, Illinois.
- John Mahoney at the Internet Broadway Database
- John Mahoney at the Internet Off-Broadway Database
- John Mahoney at the Internet Movie Database
- NBC biography: John Mahoney
- Centerstage.net: John Mahoney
- Q&A: John Mahoney at Broadway.com