Sunday marks the completion of Kelsey Grammer’s sixty-first trip around the sun. And what a ride it’s been, so far. The multi-disciplined thespian was born on a Caribbean island, attended Julliard with Mandy Patinkin, Robin Williams, and Christopher Reeve, married and divorced a Playboy centerfold, endured the murder of two close family members, and made Emmy history.
The six-foot-one-inch Grammer is probably best known for his two-decade stint as pompous psychiatrist Dr. Frasier Winslow Crane on the NBC sitcoms Cheers and Frasier. Kelsey also sang the latter’s closing theme song — a jazzy, Bruce Miller composition called “Tossed Salads and Scrambled Eggs.”
According to IMDb, Kelsey Grammer is the only actor in television history to earn multiple Emmy award nominations for portraying the same character on three different series. He received two Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series nominations for his work on Cheers, and a remarkable nine Best Actor nominations, four of which he carried home, for Frasier. Grammer also merited an Emmy nod for his guest appearance as the bombastic, self-important shrink on an episode of Wings.
All that, and Kelsey Grammer also happens to be a Julliard-trained Shakespearean stage actor, treading the boards in such diverse roles as Laertes in Hamlet, Gloucester in Henry V, and Cassio in Othello. In 2000, the multitalented performer dazzled New York theatergoers in the title role of Macbeth.
He tweets, too. According to CNN, Kelsey Grammer is a verified citizen of the Twitterverse. On June 30, 2014, he sent his first tweet.
“It has come to my attention that the fine people of @Twitter have an egregious grammar problem. I’m here to help. #KelseyGrammerGrammar.”
Fans of The Simpsons animated cartoon series may recognize today’s birthday boy as the voice of marvelously maniacal circus has-been, Robert “Sideshow Bob” Underdunk Terwilliger. Among his other cinematic credits are the voices of Captain Morgan Bateson in Star Trek: First Contact, Dr. Frankenollie in Runaway Brain, Vladimir in Anastasia, and Zozi in Bartok the Magnificent, according to Film Reference. IMDb notes that Kelsey Grammer provided the original voice of the Geico Gecko.
Currently, the award-winning thespian is back on Broadway, appearing as Captain Hook in Finding Neverland at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. Grammer spoke to NBC 7 in New York about the role.
“Hook becomes this inner voice of James Barrie, who says you’re gonna either fade away or dare to be the best you’ve ever been.”
When not delighting New York audiences as Peter Pan’s hook-handed, bumbling pirate antagonist, the ultraconservative actor attends anti-choice rallies with his wife, Kayte Walsh, whom he married two weeks after divorcing his Playboy centerfold wife, Camille.
Kelsey Grammer spoke to New York Magazine about acting.
“I’m not a Method actor. I think all you can do is wade into the waters and, if it’s working, all the love you’ve ever felt in your life, all the tragedy you’ve ever felt, all the things personally that you’ve endured, they will be there. We have this thing—this creative imagination or whatever you want to call it—that lifts us to a supernatural connection with emotion.”
His acting career seems to be charmed, but the popular performer has certainly seen his share of tragedy, notes AskMen. When Kelsey Grammer was 13, his father, Frank, was shot to death in St. Thomas. Seven years later, his younger sister, Karen, was raped and slain by a serial killer in Colorado. In 1980, Kelsey’s twin step-brothers died after being attacked by a shark. USA Today lists Kelsey’s friend, Frasier executive producer David Angell, was a passenger aboard the first plane to crash into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.
[Photo by John Lamparsky / Getty Images]