Kelsey Grammer made people laugh on a weekly basis for two decades as Dr. Frasier Crane, but few people know that in his personal life, he was going through some very dark times. Since he was just a child, Grammer has dealt with pain and suffering that has had lasting effects and has taken years for him to get over, with some incidents that still affect him today. However, it’s not all morbid, as Grammer has gone on to have a successful acting career that he still enjoys today, and he’s still building on his family tree. Listen in to these 46 facts about Kelsey Grammer.
1. Talented Family
Kelsey Grammer—real name Allen Kelsey Grammer—was born on February 21, 1955 in Saint Thomas in the US Virgin Islands to Sally and Frank Allen Grammer, who were both musicians.
2. From Nothing to Something
Originally, the character of Dr. Frasier Crane on Cheers was only meant to have a six-episode arc. However, Grammer’s portrayal of Frasier was more popular with the fans than the writers expected, and he ended up turning that guest role into a 204 episode recurring role and a successful spinoff show—Frasier—that lasted 11 seasons.
3. He Grows on You
Grammer may have been a fan favorite on Cheers but not everyone in the cast shared that opinion. Shelley Long—who played Diane Chambers—reportedly hated Grammer and tried to get him kicked off the show because she believed he made the show worse. She didn’t get her way, and over time she seemed to have softened her stance on Grammer, even going as far as appearing several times on his show Frasier.
4. Learn to Love
Even though Grammer arguably owes his career to Cheers, he admitted years later that before being cast on the show, he saw the pilot and was not a fan. Whether or not he liked the show better after he started appearing on it is another question.
5. Convoluted Plot
Once Cheers ended, Grammer didn’t immediately know he was getting his own spinoff show and so he started looking for his next acting gig. One concept he was pitched revolved around him playing a media mogul who gets in a motorcycle accident but still tries to run the country, whatever that means. As amazing as an actor Grammer is, not even he could’ve turned that show into a hit.
6. All Bark No Bite
Grammer has made it clear that he loves dogs, unless he has to work with one, and then he merely tolerates them. This resentment comes from his time working with Moose, the Jack Russell terrier who played Eddie on Frasier. Grammer’s biggest complaint about working with a dog was that scenes and episodes with the dog in them always took longer to film than usual. He also hates when people tell him the dog was a good actor because, as Grammer says, “He’s not an actor, he’s a dog!”
7. All by Myself
Grammer wrote an autobiography in 1995 titled So Far…, which surprisingly lacked insight into popular characters he played like Frasier and Sideshow Bob. Although he shares quite a bit about his life, one of the bigger stories to come out after the book's release was whether or not he had a ghostwriter. Critics thought it was too well-written for Grammer to have done on his own, but he claims he didn’t have help.
8. Family Tree
Grammer has been married four times and divorced three times, with his current marriage still going strong, and has seven children—four daughters and three sons—with three different women. His kid’s names are, in order of oldest to youngest—Spencer, Greer, Mason Olivia, Jude Gordon, Faith, Kelsey, and Auden.
9. Pain Relief
The early life tragedies Grammer faced led him to seek refuge in substances as a way to cope with his pain. Unfortunately, this coping mechanism resulted in a series of complications. He was apprehended once for impaired control of a vehicle and twice for possession of a controlled substance, served a 30-day period in confinement, and had his probation lengthened due to a positive controlled substance test.
10. Helping Hand
Grammer's cast members on both Cheers and Frasier staged numerous interventions for him to try and help him overcome his substance dependency. Nevertheless, it wasn't until Grammer had a driving accident in 1996, while being impaired due to substance usage, that he decided he'd had enough and admitted himself into rehab.
11. Befitting Name
Grammer and his current wife, Kayte Walsh, had their first daughter Faith in 2012. Before they welcomed her into this world, Grammer sadly admitted that they struggled with having a child and went through several miscarriages, one involving Faith's twin, who tragically did not survive in the womb.
12. Watch Your Step
While speaking at a press conference during Disneyland’s 50-year anniversary, Grammer accidentally walked off the stage and fell to the floor. He regained his composure and wasn’t injured but it was caught on film and thrown on YouTube for everyone to see.
13. Rolling in the Dough
Considering Grammer was once one of the highest paid TV actors of all time, it should come as no surprise that his net worth reflects that, as it is currently at an estimated $120 million.
14. Top of the Pyramid
Grammer got caught up in an Internet Ponzi scheme called Staropoly.com that reportedly lost him $1 million and led to him being accused of having orchestrated the scheme. He was sued for his suspected involvement, but it was eventually dropped.
15. He Said She Said
Grammer attended the acting school Julliard in New York City but only made it through two years of a four-year program as he quit, or, according to the school, was kicked out for poor attendance. Grammer told Larry King in an interview that he gave up on the school mainly because he didn’t care for his teacher or how the school was run.
16. Rash Decision
Grammer clearly didn’t put much thought into life after school because once he left he was broke and didn’t have a place to stay. He ended up homeless and had to spend several nights sleeping in Central Park.
17. You Win Some, You Lose Some
Throughout his career, Grammer has piled up award nominations and wins, specifically for the top ones like the Emmys, Golden Globes and Tonys. He’s had 17 Emmy nominations with five wins, nine Golden Globe nominations with three wins and two Tony nominations with one win.
18. Becoming the Character
Grammer played the character of Dr. Frasier Crane for 20 years, appearing on Cheers for nine years and Frasier for 11 years, also having appeared on one episode of Wings. He would go on to be nominated for an Emmy for playing Frasier on all three shows—the first American actor to make such an achievement—and would earn a reported $1.6 million per episode for the final season of Frasier, which, at the time, made him the highest paid television actor.
19. Star Walk
Grammer was awarded star number 2,177 on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on May 22, 2001.
20. Add It to the Resume
Grammer’s production company Grammnet Productions, which he started with his ex-wife Donatacci, has been behind numerous TV shows, with some starring Grammer. The company has produced shows like Medium, Boss, and most notably Frasier, with the most recent show being the supernatural thriller Light as a Feather.
21. Worse Than It Sounds
Grammer suffered a heart attack in 2008 that was originally reported by the media as a mild incident, but he was quick to clarify that it was much more serious than that. The attack was so severe that his heart actually stopped and they had to use a defibrillator to start it back up.
22. Taking Control
After years of sobriety and attending Alcoholics Anonymous, Grammer publicly stated in 2016 that he quit AA and is now a “reformed drinker,” having at least one drink a day. According to Grammer, he indulges in beverages for enjoyment now, instead of using them to handle distress, which offers him control over his drinking habits rather than it controlling him. However, he abstains from using narcotics, asserting "you are gambling with your life when you venture down that path". A wise decision.
23. Theatre Kid
After leaving Julliard, Grammer took on a three-year internship in the 1970s at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego, before going on to make his Broadway acting debut in 1981, playing Lennox in Macbeth.
24. He Does It All
On Frasier, Grammer famously sang the theme song that played over the credits. Originally, the composer of the song—Bruce Miller—wanted musician Mel Torme to sing it, but the producers pushed hard for Grammer, knowing he could pull it off.
25. President Grammer
At one point, Grammer considered that his post-acting career would take him to politics, where he would run for anything from mayor of New York to President of the United States. It could still happen, just not for a while, as Grammer doesn’t see his acting career slowing down anytime soon.
26. Tough Call
Grammer has put Frasier Crane above Sideshow Bob—two characters he is best known for—as his favorite character to play, but is adamant that Bob is a very close second.
27. Here Come the Waterworks
When Grammer first read the part of Harry Hamilton in the Netflix movie Like Father, he couldn’t help but cry, as he saw way too many similarities between the character and his own life. Because of this, he was able to bring his own experience with his relationship to his first daughter to the role, adding a bit of authenticity to it.
28. Keep the Good Times Rollin’
Grammer personally called John Mahoney and asked him to play his character’s father, Martin Crane, on Frasier because he had worked with him on an episode of Cheers and thought he was funny and a blast to work with.
29. It Could Happen
Grammer confirmed that there have been talks to reboot Frasier and Cheers, with the ones surrounding Frasier being a bit more serious. He’s stated that he’d be interested in the reboot as long as the pitch for it is better than the original, or else there’s no point.
The character Blinky that Grammer voices on the Netflix show Trollhunters was created specifically for Grammer by the show’s creator, Guillermo del Toro. Del Toro claims that the proof is in his notebook, as the very first drawing he did of Blinky had Kelsey Grammer written on it.
31. Close Call
Before Grammer landed the role of Frasier Crane on Cheers, John Lithgow was the first choice. When he became unavailable, the part went to Grammer.
32. Center Stage
Grammer acted in the Broadway play La Cage aux Folles at the Longacre Theater. He must have loved the venue, because not long after the show’s run ended, he married Walsh on that same stage.
33. Behind the Camera
Grammer stepped behind the camera to direct episode 13 of the third season of Frasier, and would go on to direct a total of 36 episodes for the show throughout its run. He hasn’t directed much more since then, aside from a few episodes of other shows he’s been in, like Hank and Partners, as well as one episode of Everybody Hates Chris.
34. That’s a Lot of Zeroes
Grammer never signed a prenup with his third wife, so when they got divorced, it cost him $30 million! That’s way more money than most people will see in a lifetime, but considerably less than the reported amount she initially asked for, which was $71.5 million.
35. Personal Property
Grammer has been entangled in not just one, but two scandalous tapes involving intimate acts in his lifetime. In 1998, he filed a lawsuit against an individual who illicitly took a tape from his house featuring him and another woman, before he ultimately decided to withdraw the case. In 2010, his ex-wife Donatacci threatened to release one during their divorce. Neither tape ever saw the light of day, so don’t bother Googling them.
36. Worse Than Expected
Grammer had to have emergency appendectomy surgery in 1999 after a visit to the hospital revealed he didn’t have the flu, like he thought. He actually had his appendix removed a month after his co-star in Toy Story 2, Tim Allen, had his removed.
37. Voice Work
Grammer has provided his voice for more than just TV shows, as he was the original voice for the gecko in the Geico commercials, and most recently narrated the opening video package for WWE WrestleMania 32.
38. Save It for Later
Grammer got the part of Sideshow Bob on The Simpsons because Sam Simon, a writer on The Simpsons and Cheers, thought Grammer would be perfect for the role. Grammer pulled the inspiration for the voice from an impression he had tucked away of a man name Ellis Rabb who he did house work for for several years before he got into acting.
39. Ghost Whisperer
Grammer asserts he has made contact with departed family members during séances—particularly his sister, Karen, and a man named Alex who was reportedly born 15 years prior to Jesus.
Grammer has recently submitted applications for two permits, one for a malt beverage and one for a fermented grape drink. The beverage license is for Faith American Brewing and is under his wife's name. His involvement allows them to aid in the marketing and selling of their beverages. The approval for the alcoholic drink is pending, but it would be for a summer tavern beverage under the name Fabco Odyssey.
41. Shipped Around
Grammer’s parents separated when he was only a year old and his mother moved him to New Jersey to live with his grandparents. His grandparents essentially raised him, as his mother was barely ever around and he only saw his father twice before his life was sadly taken. Grammer's grandfather also departed this life when he was 12, after which he was later abused by his grandmother.
42. Love Is Evil
Grammer's second marriage was to a dancer named Leigh-Anne Csuhany, who often performed without clothing, and it lasted only one year - probably a year he would prefer to erase from memory. Grammer alleges that she was mercilessly abusive towards him in every conceivable form—physically, mentally, verbally—and that she discharged a firearm at him, issued threats of self-harm, and intentionally suffered a miscarriage of their child.
43. In Sickness and in Health
In 2004, Grammer’s third wife—Camille Donatacci—was diagnosed with a chronic intestinal disorder that was nearly fatal. It was so serious that she was given her last rites. During that time, Grammer quit acting for two years to take care of her, but not long after she got back on her feet, the pair got divorced. Grammer has admitted that the main reason for the split was that he was having an affair with his current wife, Kayte Walsh.
44. Private Place
Grammer has Walsh’s name tattooed on his crotch, which, according to him, is to prevent him from cheating, as it is a daily reminder that that specific area is his wife’s property. It may sound like an extreme measure, but considering his third marriage ended because he cheated on his wife, it starts to make a bit of sense, sort of.
45. Dealt a Rough Hand in Life
Grammer has dealt with and overcome more tragedy, pain, and suffering in the early stages of his life than most people will see in a lifetime. When he was 13, his father met a violent end in front of their house. When he was 20, his sister tragically lost her life to a repeat offender. And then, when he was 25, he lost his two half-brothers in a scuba diving accident. The fact that he was able to deal with all of that loss and not only find a reason to get out of bed but to go on and entertain millions of people around the world is nothing short of incredible.
46. Forgive but Never Forget
In 2009, Grammer submitted a letter to the parole board requesting that they deny parole for the man who took his sister's life. The letter ended up playing an integral part in making sure Grammer got his wish. Since then, he's mentioned that he forgives the man for his actions, but he does not "support his release," as it would be a disservice to his sister's memory and lived experience.