John Mahoney, who as the cranky, blue-collar dad in Frasier played counterpoint to pompous sons Frasier and Niles, has died at age 77.
The actor died on Sunday in Chicago after a brief hospitalisation, said Paul Martino, his manager for more than 30 years.
The cause of death was not immediately provided.
In Frasier, the hit Cheers spinoff that aired from 1993 to 2004, Mahoney played Martin Crane, a disabled ex-policeman who parked himself in a battered old armchair in Frasier’s chic Seattle living room.
Martin’s beloved dog, Eddie, also took up residence to annoy Frasier, played by Kelsey Grammer.
Tributes to the late TV star described him as a “wonderful man”, with actor John Cusack, who starred alongside Mahoney in the 1989 film Say Anything, described him as a “lovely kind human” who always “left you feeling better” any time you saw him.
Some highlighted the fact Mahoney only started acting – in theatre productions to begin with – at the age of 37, citing it as proof you could pursue your dreams at any age.
Actor, writer and director David Schneider described Mahoney as, “the perfect comic actor because you saw no acting”.
John Mahoney was 37 when he started acting.
Go do that thing you’re thinking about. #RIP
— John Ross Bowie (@JohnRossBowie) February 6, 2018
I was so honored to work with the legendary John Mahoney on “The Broken Heart’s Club.” I was so nervous because “Say Anything” is one of my favorite films ever. He could not have been a kinder man. #RIPJohnMahoney pic.twitter.com/DFp8Dpj6uz
— Zach Braff (@zachbraff) February 6, 2018
John Mahoney lived down the street from my parents in suburban Chicago. I ran into him more times than I can count…I can’t begin to describe how kind he was in a 280 character tweet. A wonderful man has passed away at 77 which seems far too young in this case. pic.twitter.com/QThy1VHLXT
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) February 5, 2018
Mahoney, a British native who made Chicago his home town, was a two-time Emmy nominee for Frasier and won a 1986 Tony Award for The House of Blue Leaves.
His recent credits included a recurring role as Betty White’s love interest on Hot in Cleveland and a 2015 episode of Foyle’s War.
Mahoney never married and had no children.