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You know him as the crotchety dad from Frasier. But John Mahoney is also a distinguished theatre actor whose career has followed a singular trajectory.
Roisin Dwyer, 31 Jul 2012
Mahoney stays in touch with all former cast members and is even godfather to Jane Leeves’ (who played Daphne) son.
Although working in movies does not afford the same closeness, Mahoney has fond memories of his numerous big-screen projects and particularly his work with the Coen Brothers.
“I love Joel and Ethan,” he smiles. “It’s funny because they look so counter-culture, like hippies or laidback California dudes, but they’re really professional. It’s also great fun to work with them, you get to have a lot of input and they’re also really enjoyable to hang out with.”
Another career highlight is his part in zeitgeist-grabbing youth flick Reality Bites directed by an old friend of his, Ben Stiller.
“Ben and I go back a long way, he was my son on Broadway for a year when we did The House Of Blue Leaves, I think he was only 16 or 17 at the time” says Mahoney. “We also did a lot of shorts together. One was a take-off of The Color Of Money except with bowling instead of pool, I was Paul Newman and he was Tom Cruise!”
Since Frasier, Mahoney has been a regular on TV screens and recently starred opposite Gabriel Byrne in In Treatment.
“Gabriel was a prince,” remembers Mahoney. “I was doing Conor McPherson’s Seafarer at the time at Steppenwolf and at the weekends I was flying to New York to film In Treatment. I remember him asking how I was managing the accent and he offered to put down some material on tape for me. I was delighted! So he took the script and did about eight pages. I guarded that with my life, it was a real treasure!”