Another Passing I’ll Mourn Alone

I just found out that John Mahoney died two days ago at age 77. Just like Leonard Cohen, none of the people I work or hang out with knew who he was, so I’m sad about it all by myself.

I knew John Mahoney as Frasier’s dad in, what I just came to realize, was my favorite sitcom of all time, narrowly beating out Seinfeld for that top spot. He was a great actor who personified one of my favorite characters, and I’m sad to hear that he died of throat cancer.

I enjoyed reading that Chicago Tribune article about him. Some of the things they mentioned I already knew about him, that he came to acting relatively late in life, that he largely retired from the national public eye after Frasier was over, and from the few interviews I saw with him I had surmised that he was a curmudgeonly yet really solid and decent guy. But there were a lot of things that I didn’t know about him that I enjoyed finding out.

I didn’t know he was actually born British and emigrated to the US, given his impeccable American accent.

I didn’t know that his retirement from Hollywood was entirely volunatry, that he never appeared for Frasier reunions because he found them boring and unneccessary and because he really didn’t find enjoyment in fame.

I didn’t know that he did what so many people think you should do if you find yourself having made plenty of money to live on, and that is not chase after more money, but rather use that security to not have to worry about where your next paycheck is coming from and finally do what you really want to do with your life.

I didn’t know that what he really wanted to do was theater, and he did, for many years in Chicago, without the stress of when or how much he would be paid, but just for the pleasure of it.

Farewell John Mahoney. You will be remembered.


  1. Rob Grigjanis says

    He was from Manchester, and I read he gave Northern accent tips to his Frasier co-star Jane Leeves. She was from England, but a mere clueless Southerner.

    He also had a memorable role in an episode of Foyle’s War.

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