Charles John Mahoney was born in Blackpool, the United Kingdom, on June 20th, 1940. He was a brilliant American actor who died three years ago on February 4th. He won several awards for his performances, including the Screen Actors Guild Award in 2000 for his portrayal of Martin Crane on the sitcom Frasier. The world came to know him for his famous movies, such as Moonstruck (1987), Say Anything (1989), and The Hudsucker Proxy (1991).
Mahoney was also well-known for the voice-over skills that he portrayed on Broadway and in the theatres of Chicago. He also has a Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a play called, The House of Blue Leaves in 1986.
Mahoney was born to Reg and Margaret as the second youngest child. His father was, by profession, a baker, but he loved to play classical piano. His family moved to Manchester during the Second World War, where Mahoney started school. His love for acting led him to discover the Stratford Children’s Theatre when they were living in Whittington.
His parents were not supportive of his passion and were initially very upset. Mahoney, still an ardent lover of performing acts, left his family and country to pursue his passion after World War II. He moved to the US in 1959 and enrolled at Quincy University. He later joined and served the US Army.
Early Work and Struggles
His early endeavors in acting did not satisfy him, and thus, he enrolled himself in acting classes at the St. Nicholas Theatre. Following a performance at a stage production in Chicago in 1977, he was encouraged by John Malkovich, a renowned director, to join Steppenwolf Theatre. This was an early milestone in his award-winning career as he won Clarence Derwent Award for Most Promising Male Newcomer in 1986.
Since then, Mahoney’s career took a steady road to success. A play by Lyle Kessler named Orphans (1985) helped him in being picked up as a film actor. He also won the Derwent Award and the Theatre World Award for his Steppenwolf play performance.
John’s movie career started in 1987. His two major films, Tin Men and Suspect, came out in the same year. In Suspect, Mahoney got to work alongside big industry names such as Cher, Liam Neeson, and Dennis Quaid. In 1988, films like Moonstruck, Eight Men Out, and Say Anything came out that proved to be his award-winning movies.
Frasier is an American sitcom created as a spin-off of another sitcom, Cheers. It was based on a psychiatrist, Frasier Crane, who returned to Seattle, his hometown, to rebuild his life as a radio show host. The sitcom’s plot also revolved around Frasier Crane reconnecting with his father, Martin Crane, and other family members. The show premiered in 1993 and went on-air for 11 seasons. It was a major hit and starred John Mahoney as Martin Crane.
Mahoney’s Career as a Voice-Over Artist
Mahoney was also a famous and successful voice-over artist. He provided a voice-over for several famous shows, such as The Words upon the Window-Pane, for Chicago’s esteemed National Radio Theatre. You can recognize his voice for numerous other well-known characters in several hit movies such as Antz (1998), Preston Whitmore in Atlantis: The Lost Empire, and in Atlantis: Milo’s Return (1999) and as General Rogard in the movie Iron Giant (1999).
Frasier was a major part of Mahoney’s career. After the show ended, Mahoney continued his career as a voice-over artist in several plays and movies. Mahoney also worked as a narrator for Midwest Airline commercials. He was a co-star in Broadway for the Revival of Prelude to a Kiss for a short period. He also made two appearances in the show Burn Notice.
Though Mahoney has a lot of successful and famous shows under his belt, his performance in Lyle Kessler’s Orphans in his initial days is still remembered and appreciated. It is as if Mahoney’s performance in that play has deeply affected his fans more than anything.
Mahoney was diagnosed with colon cancer in the ‘80s. He was a very private person when it came to his personal life. He never talked about it publicly. Mahoney never married anyone or left any children behind. He referred to himself as an immature person when it came to relationships. He had commitment issues and was noted mentioning that he never got serious with any woman because he fled at any sign of conflict.
His fear of commitment might be because of his own dysfunctional family or the distorted relationship he witnessed between his parents. John was a devoted Catholic Christian and said his prayers before his performances. His last days were spent in hospice care in Chicago, where he passed away on February 4th, 2018, due to complications of throat cancer.