Allen Kelsey Grammer (born February 21, 1955) is an American actor, director, producer, writer, voice artist, and comedian, best known for portraying Frasier Crane in Cheers and Frasier. He is also known as the voice for Sideshow Bob in The Simpsons, Stinky Pete in Toy Story 2 and for the role of Harold Attinger in Transformers: Age Of Extinction and Hank MacCoy in X-Men movies.
Grammer was born Allen Kelsey Grammer in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands on February 21, 1955 to Sally Cranmer, a housewife and vocalist, and Frank Allen Grammer, Jr., a bar owner and musician. His parents' marriage ended when he was very young; his mother took him to live with her, and he was partly raised in New Jersey by his grandparents, Evangeline Dimmock and Gordon Cranmer. Grammer's family life has been marked by repeated tragedies. He went to school at Pine Crest in Fort Lauderdale. In 1968, when Grammer was thirteen, his father, whom he had only seen twice since his parents' divorce, was murdered on the front lawn of his home in the U.S. Virgin Islands; in 1975, his sister was raped and murdered after being abducted outside a Red Lobster restaurant in Colorado Springs, Colorado where her boyfriend worked. Grammer has sworn to prevent the murderer from being paroled. Grammer, who was 20 at the time and enrolled in the Juilliard School acting program, stopped attending classes and was asked to leave, citing a lack of focus. In 1980, his twin half-brothers were killed in a SCUBA diving accident.
After leaving Juilliard, he had a three-year internship with the Old Globe Theater in San Diego in the late 1970s before a stint in 1980 at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He made his Broadway debut in 1981 as Lennox in Macbeth, taking the lead role when Philip Anglim withdrew after receiving negative reviews. In 1982 he appeared with Christine Baranski in the Stephen Sondheim-James Lapine production Sunday in the Park with George with Mandy Patinkin, and then a featured role of Cassio in a Broadway revival of Othello with James Earl Jones and Christopher Plummer.
Rise to fame
Grammer's television career began in 1983 when he portrayed Stephen Smith in the NBC mini-series Kennedy. Grammer came to broader public attention as Dr. Frasier Crane in the TV sitcom Cheers. Grammer's former Juilliard classmate and Broadway co-star Patinkin suggested Grammer to the New York casting director, and he got the job. The character became the center of the successful spin off Frasier.
Grammer won a number of Emmys and Golden Globes for his work on Frasier. He was the first American actor ever to be nominated for multiple Emmy awards for portraying the same character on three different television shows (Cheers, Frasier, and Wings). His US$1.6 million per episode salary for Frasier was the highest in the history of American television at the time, and his 20-year run playing Dr. Frasier Crane ties a length set by James Arness in playing Marshall Matt Dillon on Gunsmoke from 1955 to 1975.
Grammer's smooth, deep voice makes him popular for voiceover work. He has provided the voice of Sideshow Bob on The Simpsons, winning an Emmy for his work in the episode "The Italian Bob", He has appeared in eleven episodes in all since the show's inception in 1989.
He also supplied the voices for "Stinky Pete the Prospector" in Toy Story 2, Vladimir in the Fox animated movie Anastasia, Zozi the Bear in the subsequently-produced prequel Bartok the Magnificent, the title character in the short-lived animated series Gary the Rat, and Blinky on the Netflix series Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia. He also provided the opening speech and piano in The Vandals song "Phone Machine" from the album Fear of a Punk Planet. Down Periscope is a 1996 comedy movie starring Kelsey Grammer as the captain of a rust-bucket submarine (called the USS Stingray) who is fighting for his career.
Return to television
He returned to series television on Fox's The Sketch Show. He also produces the CW sitcoms Girlfriends and The Game. Prior to that he guest starred as The Angel of Death on Medium, which he also produces. In film, his recent work includes the role of Dr. Hank McCoy (a.k.a. Beast) in X-Men: The Last Stand. Grammer provided the voice for television commercials advertising the Hyundai Sonata and the Hyundai Azera.
Grammer recently starred in two failed sitcoms, Back to You and Hank.
Grammer has been married three times. His first marriage, to dance instructor Doreen Alderman, lasted from 1982 to 1990 and produced one daughter, Spencer, an actress on the American soap opera As the World Turns and the ABC Family show Greek. His second marriage, to stripper Leigh-Anne Csuhany in 1992, lasted one year. Grammer claims she was abusive and that, after talk of divorce, she attempted suicide, which resulted in the miscarriage of their child. He referred to her in his autobiography, saying:
“To be sure I'd never leave her, [my wife] Leigh-Anne... had to convince me that I was nothing—unattractive, untalented, undeserving of love, and incapable of being loved by anyone but her. The way she achieved this was to break me down with verbal abuse.
"You fucking pig." "What a wimp." "Dickless." "Fag." "Prick." "Bastard." "You're so fucking stupid." "You're so fucking ugly."
These were the verbal tools, but she had more. She'd spit in my face. Slap me. Punch me. Kick me. Break glasses over my head. Break windows. Tear up pictures of my loved ones. Threaten to kill me, kill herself. Cut my balls off. Chop me up. Put a bullet in my head.”
Also in 1992, Grammer had a daughter, Greer, with hair and makeup stylist Barrie Buckner. His engagement to Tammi Alexander broke up due to rape allegations and her leaks to the tabloid press. Since August 1997 Grammer has been married to Camille Donatacci, a former Playboy model. They have a son, Jude Gordon, and a daughter, Mason Olivia, together via a surrogate mother. Grammer and Donatacci have homes in Malibu, Colorado, and New York, and a holiday home in Maui.
In 1988, he was sentenced to 30 days in jail for drunk driving and cocaine possession, and an additional 10 days of community service with the California Department of Transportation. He was again arrested for cocaine possession in August 1990 and sentenced to three years' probation, fined $500 and given 300 hours' community service. In January 1991 he was given an additional two years' probation for violating his original probation through additional cocaine use.
In September 1996, he overturned his Dodge Viper while under the influence of drugs or alcohol and subsequently checked in to the Betty Ford Clinic for 30 days. Grammer said of the incident:
"I was at a point in my life where I just wasn't focused. Sometimes I was doing drugs, sometimes it was booze. There was no question that I shouldn't have been driving that car at that moment."
Other notable incidents
After publishing his autobiography, So Far... in 1995, he was sued by a former girlfriend Cerlette Lamme for defamation of character and invasion of privacy. In 1998, Grammer filed a lawsuit against Internet Entertainment Group, which Grammer claimed had stolen from his home a videotape of him having sex with former girlfriend Cerlette Lamme. IEG counter-sued Grammer, denying they were in possession of such a tape, and Grammer's suit was eventually dropped. He eventually paid Lamme $1 million for the tape.
Reflections on his life
In 1999, Kelsey Grammer made the following observation on his own life:
“'You see, it's the nature of people like me - alcoholics, obsessive-compulsive, whatever - to dismiss their own achievements and to belittle themselves. It's something I have been tortured by all my life. It has taken forty-three years to become comfortable with myself and with having a sense of accomplishment. Being able to accept the remarkable nature of my life is new to me.'”
On September 21, 2003, during an appearance on Hannity & Colmes on Fox News, Grammer expressed an interest in running for United States Congress as a Republican. He indicated that it was something he would consider when his children were older. During an interview on the The Today Show, he told Matt Lauer that he wouldn't enter politics until he felt he was more knowledgeable on the subject.
He was a celebrity guest at President George W. Bush's first inauguration. He also has endorsed Rudy Giuliani for president in 2008.
"I think it's your duty to overcome what you inherit in life. It's the David Copperfield line: 'Am I going to be master of my fate, or its victim?' I'm not gonna be its victim, though I've felt victimized — a lot."