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John Mahoney, Star Of 'Frasier,' Dies

CHICAGO (CBS) -- John Mahoney, a longtime ensemble member of Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre and perhaps best known for his supporting role on the sitcom "Frasier," has died, an official with the Chicago-based theater confirmed.

The death of Mahoney, 77, was first reported by TMZ. He died Sunday while in hospice in Chicago. Steppenwolf, confirming the death, said Mahoney's death was cancer-related.

The gruff-sounding character actor starred in "Frasier" for 11 seasons as Martin Crane, the retired police officer father of Frasier (played by Kelsey Grammer) and Niles (played by David Hyde Pierce).

Although Mahoney is identified with Chicago and resided in Oak Park, he was born in 1940 in England, according to his biography on the Internet Movie Database.

He emigrated to the U.S. after World War II after his sister married an American G.I. He came relatively late to acting.

John Mahoney as Martin Crane, David Hyde Pierce as Niles Crane and Jane Leeves as Daphne Moon star in NBC''s television comedy series 'Frasier.' Episode: 'Mary Christmas' - Martin, Niles and Daphne open Christmas presents as they watch Frasier host the holiday parade. (Gale Adler/Paramount)

Mahoney joined Steppenwolf in 1979. He appeared in more than 30 Steppenwolf Theatre Company productions and received a Tony Award for his performance in "The House of Blue Leaves." The theater was canceling Monday's performance of "You Got Older" in response to the actor's death; instead the organization planned to meet in the front bar and invited the public.

"He's a core part of the foundation of this company, and I think at this point we're just all shocked and extremely saddened by the loss of such an incredible talent," David Schmitz, Steppenwolf's executive director, said Monday.

Mahoney starred in Steppenwolf's production of "The Rembrandt" this past fall.

His film credits include "Moonstruck," "Tin Men," "Say Anything," "Primal Fear," "Barton Fink" and "Flipped." Mahoney's "Say Anything" co-star, John Cusack, was among those expressing grief Monday.

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