5 Things You Didn't Know About Kelsey Grammer

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TV audiences have long enjoyed Kelsey Grammer for his masterful portrayal of two very different characters: Dr. Frasier Crane and Sideshow Bob. Let's take a look at five things you might not know about the primetime powerhouse.

1. He's Had a Traumatic Personal Life

Although Grammer has been making audiences laugh for over 25 years, his personal life has been anything but comic. When Grammer was 13 years old, his dad was shot and killed by a deranged intruder. When Grammer was 20, his younger sister was raped and murdered by serial killer Freddie Glenn; Kelsey had to identify his sister's body. Further tragedy hit the family when Grammer was 25 years old; his two younger half-brothers died in a scuba diving accident.

2. Shelley Long Didn't Love Him

When Cheers' writers created Frasier Crane, they didn't expect for the character to have such staying power. Grammer was originally supposed to be on the show for a six-episode arc in which he was mostly a device to help break up the relationship between Sam Malone and Diane Chambers.

Grammer's undeniable talent wrecked these plans, though. Audiences loved both the Frasier character and Grammer's ability to turn mundane lines into knee-slappers with his timing and inflection. The writers scrapped their original plans to write Frasier out of the show in favor of keeping him around, which delighted viewers.

It did not, however, delight costar Shelley Long. Grammer wrote in his 1995 memoir So Far that Long publicly campaigned against the Frasier character. When Long won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a musical or comedy, she blasted the Frasier character for making the show "terrible."

Long apparently managed to tone down her dislike of the good doctor eventually, though. She did a few cameos as Diane Chambers on Frasier.

3. He Didn't Originally Love Cheers

In the same memoir, Grammer makes a somewhat surprising admission: "I actually saw the pilot episode of Cheers and, I've never admitted this publicly, [but] I didn't like it." Still, when the producers of Cheers were looking for someone to play the role of Frasier Crane, Grammer's old Juilliard classmate and Broadway buddy Mandy Patinkin talked him up to casting directors to help Grammer get the part.

Of course, Grammer's instincts have often been spot-on on other occasions. Before deciding to spin the Frasier Crane character off into Frasier, Grammer heard a much different pitch for his post-Cheers career. There were plans for a show in which Grammer portrayed a media mogul who had been disabled in a motorcycle wreck but managed to still "virtually run the country" in his bedridden state. Something's telling us that concept might not have done quite as well as Frasier.

4. He Didn't Love Eddie the Dog, Either

Nothing against Grammer and David Hyde Pierce, but Frasier wouldn't have been anywhere as adorable without the Cranes' pet Jack Russell terrier, Eddie. So did Grammer adore his canine co-star, whose real name was Moose? Not so much.

Grammer told the Washington Post, "I love dogs. I don't have any particular feeling about that dog because I just work with him. It takes twice as long to finish a show when the dog's in it. It's a dog. It's not a hardship, you know, it just takes longer. He doesn't always get it the first time and we have to stop and go back."

Grammer went on to say, "Well, it's just so silly. He gets so much attention. I do draw the line when somebody says, `Oh, he's such a good little actor.' That's it! He's not an actor, he's a dog!"

Maybe Grammer just felt a bit upstaged by the cute pooch. Throughout Frasier's run, producers publicly said that Moose received more fan mail than any of the show's human actors.

5. He's Got Quite the Set of Pipes

You know that Grammer lent his smooth voice to the part of Sideshow Bob, which won him an Emmy for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance in 2006. That's not the only place he's used his pipes to his advantage, though. Grammer also voiced Stinky Pete the Prospector in Toy Story 2.

Moreover, he can carry a tune. It's hard to forget Sideshow Bob singing the entire score of Gilbert and Sullivan's H.M.S. Pinafore, but you might not have known that Grammer also belted out the "Tossed Salad and Scrambled Eggs" theme song for Frasier.

See Also: The Frasier Crane Quiz

'5 Things You Didn't Know About...' appears every Friday. If there's someone you'd like to see profiled, leave us a comment. You can read the previous installments here.

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April 9, 2010 - 8:15am
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