Kelsey Grammer life and biography

Kelsey Grammer picture, image, poster

Kelsey Grammer biography

Date of birth : 1945-02-21
Date of death : -
Birthplace : St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, U.S.
Nationality : American
Category : Arts and Entertainment
Last modified : 2010-09-07
Credited as : Actor, role in "Cheers", host of the radio show "Frasier"

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Kelsey Grammer born February 21, 1945 in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, United States is an American actor. Kelsey Grammer is known to millions of television viewers as Dr. Frasier Crane---the Harvard-educated psychiatrist who frequented the fictional Boston bar "Cheers" for nearly a decade before moving on to host his own radio talk show in the Cheers spinoff entitled Frasier. Grammer's award-winning portrayal of the pompous, stuffy, self-satisfied doctor has been utterly convincing, yet in his real life, he could hardly be more different than the character he has so successfully created. The talented actor has also shown himself to be a sensitive, sometimes self-destructive person, one whose life has been marked by a series of bizarre tragedies, and whose success seems to have come almost in spite of his best efforts to undermine himself.

Born on the Caribbean island of St. Thomas, in the Virgin Islands, Grammer was just 2 years old when his parents divorced and his mother returned to the U.S. mainland with Kelsey and his infant sister, Karen. They lived first with his grandparents in New Jersey, then moved in 1967 to Pompano Beach, Florida. By the time they took up residence in Florida, Kelsey already appeared to be a troubled child. In 1968 he was shaken by the violent death of his father, with whom he had remained in contact over the years. Allen Grammer was shot dead in his own yard at his St. Thomas home, killed by a local cab driver who was later acquitted of the crime by reason of insanity.

As an adolescent Kelsey Grammer was sent to Pine Crest, a private school in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. There he gained a reputation as a thoughtful, eccentric outsider who kept his long hair tucked up under a short wig to conform with school regulations, who frequented wild, all-night drinking parties, and who showed a marked interest in and talent for drama. After his graduation from Pine Crest in 1973, he applied to the prestigious Juilliard School for the performing arts in New York City and was accepted into their drama program. At Juilliard, as at Pine Crest, he was known as a good listener and a fine actor. But his personal problems also continued, and he was expelled after two years for what he has described as a lack of discipline.

Grammer's expulsion from Juilliard was soon rendered insignificant by a horrible new family tragedy. On June 30, 1975, his sister Karen, to whom he was much attached, was abducted from the doorstep of the Colorado restaurant where she was employed as a waitress. Three men forced her into a car, took her to their apartment, raped her, and then drove her to a nearby alley; there, she was stabbed and had her throat slit. She was found dead the next morning, in a trailer park to which she had dragged herself in a vain search for help. Her brother Kelsey had the gruesome task of identifying her brutalized body, collecting her belongings, and flying her remains back to Florida for burial.

People magazine writer Michael A. Lipton quoted Grammer as saying that his sister's murder "opened up an emotional hole" and ushered in "the worst part of my life." As he told TV Guide, "I lost a lot of stuff when Karen died. It took about a year to get back to even thinking that there might be a reason to go on." Stunned by the loss and consumed by guilt that he had not somehow been able to save his sister, he drank heavily, and also began to use Valium and other drugs, including the hallucinogen Ecstasy. A few years after Karen's death, tragedy struck the Grammer family yet again, when Kelsey's half-brothers Billy and Stephen were involved in a freak scuba diving accident off the coast of St. Thomas. After taking a dive, Billy failed to surface; Stephen began a frantic underwater search for his brother, then suffered an embolism during an improper ascent and died. Billy's body, never recovered, was presumed eaten by sharks.

Grammer had wed dance teacher Doreen Alderman during the early 1980s, but the union disintegrated shortly after the birth of his daughter, Spencer, some two years into the marriage. Despite his considerable personal turmoil, he managed to eke out a living through his acting. He performed in New York and Los Angeles theater productions, and got work in television as well, appearing for a time on the daytime drama Another World. In 1984 he began a long-term relationship with Cerlette Lamme, a former professional ice skater. The two took up residence in a dilapidated rental house in suburban Los Angeles, which was soon populated with dogs and cats Grammer rescued from the local animal shelter. During that same year, he landed a part on the hit NBC program Cheers, a comedy set in a neighborhood bar in Boston.

When it premiered in 1982, Cheers revolved around the volatile love/hate relationship between bar owner Sam Malone, a former professional baseball pitcher, and Diane Chambers, a haughty intellectual who worked for him as a waitress at Cheers. Grammer was introduced to the show as Dr. Frasier Crane, a psychiatrist who treated Diane after she suffered a nervous breakdown due to the tensions in her relationship with Sam; Frasier subsequently became her lover. Frasier and Diane's relationship progressed to the point of marriage, but she eventually dumped him at the altar to return to the lowbrow charms of Sam. Yet Grammer had created such a popular character that he remained on the show, still lovestruck and mooning over Diane. Shelley Long, the actress who played Diane, left the show after five seasons, but Grammer remained.

Fastidious, self-important, and highly educated, the character of Frasier was a perfect foil for the rest of the Cheers regulars, whose idea of heaven was sitting in the bar all day drinking beer, eating peanuts, and watching whatever happened to be on television. Frasier dispensed unwanted advice to all, and told himself that frequenting the bar was the perfect way to study human behavior; eventually, it became obvious that he was, in his own way, just as much of a lonely loser as anyone else there. In time, Frasier met and married Lilith (played by Bebe Neuwirth), a fellow psychiatrist whose emotions were as tightly controlled as her severe chignon hairstyle. Cheers eventually collected 26 Emmy awards, and was one of the Top 10 shows in the Nielsen ratings for eight straight seasons. Described by Richard Zoglin in Time as "TV's most well-oiled comedy engine" and as the show that "represented the gold standard of TV comedy writing, directing and acting," Cheers's success was at least in part due to Kelsey Grammer's Frasier.

But even as his professional life flourished, Grammer's personal life continued in its wild disarray. His drinking continued, and he had also begun using cocaine. In 1987 he was arrested for drunk driving, and in 1988, he was arrested once again for possession of cocaine. Ordered by the court to enroll in a rehabilitation program, he delayed doing so long enough to be sentenced to serve 30 days in prison and 10 days in public service, picking up trash along the highways. He brought his substance abuse problem under control, but he was slowly destroying his relationship with Lamme, who had managed his business and financial affairs for some years and who had provided him with a modicum of stability. A brief love affair with Barrie Buckner, a bartender and part-time makeup artist, resulted in the birth of Greer, his second daughter; Lamme decided to stay with him even then, but in 1992 he informed his long-time lover that he had fallen for Leigh-Anne Csuhany, a dancer he had met in a Los Angeles strip club. In the spring of 1992 Grammer moved with Csuhany into a new home he had purchased in the Los Angeles suburb of Agoura Hills.

Only a few months later, police responded to an urgent call from Grammer. They arrived at his home to find him sporting a black eye, inflicted by Csuhany. He decided against pressing charges, and on September 11 of that year, the couple were wed. Their brief union was full of turmoil. Csuhany reportedly humiliated and threatened her husband in public on a number of occasions. And in June of 1993, she told one of Grammer's friends that she intended to shoot her husband and burn down their house. Grammer went to the police again, to obtain a restraining order against his spouse, who was at that time a few months pregnant. On June 3, Grammer publicly announced his plans to seek an annulment of his marriage, and demanded custody of their unborn child. Csuhany left their home under court order, then checked into a nearby hotel where, five days later, police found her in her room, semi-conscious, with a suicide note by her side. She had consumed five bottles of Tylenol, along with some red wine, and was taken to the hospital to have her stomach pumped. Shortly thereafter, her pregnancy was terminated. The Grammers' divorce became final in December of 1993.

Despite his legal and emotional troubles Grammer had remained an important part of the Cheers team until the show's finale in 1993. But if Cheers had ended, Frasier's story had not; NBC had developed a new show revolving around the further adventures of the psychiatrist. Abandoned by Lilith for a research scientist living in an underground "eco-pod," Frasier leaves Boston to return to his home town of Seattle, where he embarks on a new career as the host of a radio call-in show. His fresh start in life is disrupted when his ailing father, Martin---a retired policeman whose blue-collar sensibilities are distinctly at odds with Frasier's elitist mentality---takes up residence with him, along with his perky, semi-clairvoyant cockney-speaking live-in physical therapist Daphne (Jane Leeves). Frasier's younger brother Niles (David Hyde Pierce), also a psychiatrist, provides companionship and a healthy dose of sibling rivalry for the doctor.

The program, entitled simply Frasier, was immediately hailed for its fine writing and acting, which was generally considered to be on a par with the high standard set by Cheers. A National Review writer called Frasier "a model of entertainment television at its best," and attributed the show's success largely to Grammer's "perfect" portrayal of the "sophisticated, anguished, high-strung buffoon," Frasier Crane. Frasier won an Emmy Award for best comedy series after its initial season, and Gramer was selected as the best actor in a comedy series.

Though Grammer's professional life was at a new high, turmoil revisited his personal life. Presumably the result of drunken driving (though he was charged with driving with an expired license), Grammer flipped his Dodge Viper on September 21, 1996. Within a few days after the accident, Grammer checked himself into the Betty Ford Center for treatment before returning to Frasier. After his divorce from Csuhany became final, Grammer announced his engagement to Tammi Alexander, a woman he described to a People magazine reporter as "the best person I've ever known." The engagement was broken in 1996, and Grammer became involved with film student Camille Donatacci, whom he married on August 2, 1997.

PERSONAL INFORMATION

Born February 21, 1945, in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands; son of Allen (a restaurant owner) and Sally Grammer; married Doreen Alderman (a dance instructor), c. 1982 (divorced, 1990); married Leigh-Anne Csuhany (an exotic dancer), September 11, 1992 (divorced, December, 1993); married Camille Donatacci (a film student), August 2, 1997; children: two daughters; (with Alderman) Spencer Karen, (with Barrie Buckner) Greer. Education: Attended Juilliard School in New York City.

AWARDS
Emmy Awards for best actor in a comedy series, 1994, 1995, and 1998 for work on Frasier .

CAREER

Television and stage actor. Appeared in off-Broadway productions of Macbeth, Plenty, and Quartermaine's Terms; appeared on Broadway in Othello; appeared in daytime TV drama Another World, miniseries Kennedy, and television movie Beyond Suspicion, 1993; cast member of series Cheers, 1984-1993; star of hit series Frasier, 1993--; films include Top of the Hill, 1989; and Down Periscope, 1996; published autobiography "So Far," 1995; starred in musical play Sweeny Todd, 1999.

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