John Mahoney, who played cranky dad on ‘Frasier,’ dead at 77

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British-born actor John Mahoney, who became well-known as Martin Crane on the American sitcom “Frasier,” has died after a short illness, his publicist said on Monday. He was 77 years old.

“I am sad to confirm the Sunday, February 4th death of actor John Mahoney after a short illness in Chicago,” publicist Wendy Morris said in a brief statement via email, providing no details about the cause of his death. “The family will issue a statement at a later date.”

Mahoney was born in Blackpool in England in June 1940 and moved to the United States as a young man. He studied in Illinois before joining the U.S. Army, but he later taught English at Western Illinois University before serving as the editor of a medical journal through much of the 1970s.

Mahoney would eventually take up acting classes and quit his day job. One of his first prominent roles was in 1982 on the NBC drama “Chicago Story,” but the show did not catch on with viewers and it was canceled after just 13 episodes.

He appeared in a number of movies over the next few years, but his breakthrough came in 1993 when he joined the sitcom “Frasier.” Mahoney portrayed the part of Martin Crane, the cranky father of Frasier Crane and Niles Crane. The show was an international success.

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