Hey baby, I hear the blues a-callin’, known for his many years playing Dr Frasier Crane in both sitcom “Cheers” and the successful spin-off “Frasier”, Kelsey Grammer is a talented actor. His personal life has been somewhat marred by drug use and various allegations by his ex-wives, not to mention his tragic past, but he seems able to put it behind him and focus on his work. So what is he up to these days?
Kelsey Grammer’s Early Life
Kelsey Grammer was born on February 21st 1955 in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The son of Sally and Frank Grammer, who owned and operated a restaurant. Kelsey was two years old when his parents divorced. He had a sister, Karen Grammer, two years his junior. Sally took the children to New Jersey where they were raised by her grandparents. When Kelsey was only thirteen years old a man named Arthur B. Niles shot and killed Frank Grammer outside his home. Niles was found not guilty of murder by reason of insanity.
This would not be the last time tragedy would strike for Kelsey Grammer. Few people have had a life so full of misery. Seven years after the murder of his father his younger sister was sexually assaulted by four men and murdered by Freddie Lee Glenn. Kelsey would arrive a week later to identify her. Glenn was sentenced to death for murder, but the decision was overturned by the supreme court, downgraded to life in prison. He was eligible for parole in 2009 but a statement sent by Kelsey, who could not attend the parole hearing as planned due to a flight delay, lead to the parole not being approved. Kelsey Grammer said of his sister,
“She was my best friend and the best person I knew…..I loved my sister, Karen. I miss her. I miss her in my bones. I was her big brother. I was supposed to protect her—I could not. I have never gotten over it…..It very nearly destroyed me.”
He threw himself into acting as a coping mechanism. As a young man he studied drama at the prestigious Julliard School for two years before dropping out to pursue a career in acting. He took on a three-year internship at the Old Globe Theater in San Diego in the late seventies before moving on to the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. He made his Broadway début in 1981 playing Lennox in the Scottish play, before taking the title role of Macbeth when Philip Anglim received a plethora of negative reviews.
Kelsey Grammer Mainstream Success
He went on to play Michael Cassio in a Broadway revival of Othello, opposite James Earl Jones. He moved into television in the early eighties, playing Stephen Smith in “Kennedy”. His big break, and most enduring role, came in 1984. He first played Dr Frasier Crane on the third season of the hit sitcom “Cheers” with Shelley Long and Ted Danson. He was only hired for a short arc as Diane Chambers’ love interest. So popular was the character that he was brought in as a primary cast member from season four on.
He was nominated for an Emmy for the role, and would play the character in the show “Wings”. He received another Emmy award nomination for his guest role on “Wings”, while not technically a spin-off it was set in the same universe as both “Cheers” and “Frasier” and featured characters from the shows every so often.
When “Cheers” ended they spun Kelsey Grammer off into “Frasier” opposite David Hyde Pierce and John Mahoney as Niles and Martin Crane, brother and father respectively. If anything “Frasier” was even more successful. Kelsey won four Prime-time Emmy awards during “Frasier’s” eleven year run. He played the character for twenty years across various shows and by 2001 was able to negotiate a $700,000 salary per episode.
Kelsey has a history of alcohol abuse, not surprising considering some of the stuff he’s been through. He has been arrested numerous times as a result. He also had a healthy appetite for cocaine. While the drug abuse was eating him up inside it never seemed to impact his work. He could flow from the dead tired self-destructive mess straight into character as the erudite and sober Frasier within a moments notice. He would eventually seek help and is currently clean.
While “Frasier” was airing Kelsey Grammer was able to land roles in a variety of television movies and lent his rich baritone to all kinds of animated characters, like Stinky Pete in “Toy Story 2”. Most notable was his performance as Sideshow Bob on “The Simpsons”. He has played Bob in eighteen episodes, and I recently watched them all back to back. They start off brilliant and slip down to simply entertaining after the tenth one of so. He would win another Prime-time Emmy for the role of Sideshow Bob. In addition to his Emmys he has also won two Golden Globes and two American Comedy Awards.
After “Frasier” he returned to Broadway briefly before returning to TV. He produced and appeared in the American remake of British show “The Sketch Show”. Not a big hit, only lasted six episodes, of which four aired. Still trying to get a sitcom rolling again the 2007 effort “Back to You” bombed and his follow-up show “Hank” did even worse. Being cancelled after only five unfunny episodes aired.
Turning to dramatic roles in 2011 he starred in “Boss”. In it he played Tom Kane, fictional mayor of Chicago who had been diagnosed with Dementia. The show was very well received critically but its ratings were never very high. As a result it was cancelled after running for only two seasons. He appeared in “Transformers: Age of Extinction” as the villain and starred alongside Martin Lawrence in the short-lived FX comedy “Partners.”.
What is Kelsey Grammer Doing Now?
Kelsey Grammer’s personal life has been more than a little bit turbulent. He has been married four times and has six children divided among his ex-partners. His second wife was allegedly abusive and tried to shoot him, leading to the divorce. He is still currently married to Katye Walsh, they recently had a child.
This year we can see Kelsey Grammer in whatever medium you care to mention. On television he is set to appear in “The Last Tycoon” a film about the life of Monroe Stahr. In the cinema he will be appearing in “Bunyan and Babe” and from the creators of “The Lego Movie”, “Storks”. On the stage he will be reprising his role in “Finding Neverland” returning to the role he originated, Charles Frohman and Captain Hook. And of course I’m sure we’ll be hearing him play Sideshow Bob at some point in the future again too.
2017 looks to be a stellar year for Mr Grammer. He has a minor role in Modern Family, and an upcoming film. We all know that Kelsey gained the role of Frasier by guest starring on Cheers, and where that led. Could this role on Modern Family lead to a whole new niche for the performer? Bunyan and Babe, an animated children’s movie, will be released later this year. The name aside, it has a star studded cast, including Jeff Foxworthy and John Goodman. Graphically it looks a little lacking at the moment, but I have not doubt that it will be cleaned up before release.
Goodnight, everybody. See you next year, we love ya.