John Mahoney

Active - 1961 - 2015  |   Born - Jun 20, 1940 in Blackpool, Lancashire, England  |   Died - Feb 4, 2018   |   Genres - Comedy, Drama, Romance

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Biography by AllMovie

A distinctive-looking, grey-haired British character actor, John Mahoney worked onstage in his teens, and moved to the U.S. at 19. In his mid-30s, while employed as an editor in Chicago, he decided to renew his interest in acting, and he enrolled in classes at a local theater co-founded by playwright David Mamet; he landed a role in a Mamet play and left his job for the part. At the urging of actor John Malkovich, he went on to join Chicago's celebrated Steppenwolf Theater; eventually he appeared in more than 30 plays. For his work in the Broadway play House of Blue Leaves he won a Tony and a Clarence Derwent Award. For his work in the lead role of Orphans (on Broadway and in Chicago) he won a Theater World Award. He still lives in Chicago, and maintains his connection with Steppenwolf. Mahoney debuted onscreen in Mission HIll (1982), but his screen breakthrough came in his fifth film, Barry Levinson's popular comedy Tin Men (1987); afterwards he went on to better parts in more noteworthy movies, and has avoided typecasting in a busy screen career. Mahoney's TV credits include Favorite Son and House of Blue Leaves, in which he reprised his stage role; he has since achieved wide popularity as Martin Crane, Frasier Crane's crochety father, on the NBC sitcom Frasier.

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  • Born in Blackpool, England, because his family was evacuated during the bombing of Manchester, which is his hometown; they moved back as soon as they were permitted.
  • The seventh of eight children. 
  • Lost all traces of his English accent in the United States Army, which he joined in order to speed up his U.S. citizenship request.
  • Taught English Literature at Western Illinois University in Macomb, IL, where he had earlier earned a master's degree in English.
  • Participated in local youth theater as a child, but wasn't inspired to become an actor until he saw Albert Finney and Leo McKern in Uncle Vanya at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester.
  • At age 37, enrolled in classes at Chicago's St. Nicholas Theatre, cofounded by David Mamet, where he performed opposite John Malkovich.
  • Member of Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago.