Kelsey Grammer didn’t want to reprise Dr. Frasier Crane in a Cheers spin-off, but the network talked him into it. That was good thinking. Frasier won 37 Primetime Emmys and remained popular throughout its 11 seasons.
Recently, the actor reunited with his costars David Hyde Pierce (Niles), Jane Leeves (Daphne) and Peri Gilpin (Roz) for an online chat. “It was love,” Kelsey said of working with the cast, which included the late John Mahoney as Frasier’s irascible dad, Martin.
One of the show’s running gags was that uncredited celebs would call in to Frasier’s radio advice program. Over the years, callers included Ben and Jerry Stiller, Mel Brooks, Stephen King and Mary Tyler Moore. “I loved the [Eddie] Van Halen one,” Kelsey recalls.
Another longtime joke was Niles’ infatuation with Daphne — an idea that came from Jane. “I just had this image of Daphne under the sink, fixing the plumbing and Niles standing in the doorway with a martini, admiringly,” she says.
Of course, Niles and Daphne’s romance would become a pivotal plot point, as would Frasier’s relationship with Eddie, Martin’s Jack Russell. “The dog was really good at doing tricks [so] they’d write a new thing for him each week,” David remembers. “Finally, he just short-circuited. In front of the live audience … he came running in … and ran through every trick that he had learned for the last five episodes. They took a step back after that!”
When the series concluded in 2004, Kelsey snagged the ultimate souvenir. “I took the piano,” he admits. “But I did have to pay Steinway for it.” The piano, which was signed by his fellow castmates, now sits in the actor’s Palm Springs home. “It’s quite the conversation piece!”
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