Now Grammer, 52, wants to confront her killer.
"Recently, I got news that the man who did this to Karen is now eligible for parole," he tells Dotson Rader of Parade magazine. "There is a hearing sometime later this year that I will attend. I am angry about him. I never had the opportunity to speak for my sister before. I will now."
Grammer, who was only 20 at the time of his sister's murder, says his grief over her murder "was probably the catalyst that got me into a really big problem for at least the next 15 years."
Despite his professional success on the hit shows "Cheers" and "Frasier," his drinking worsened and he experimented with a variety of drugs, including ecstasy, valium and cocaine. He was arrested twice and later served 90 days house arrest and three years probation.
"I'm attracted to threshold experiences — to chaos, insanity, mayhem," he says, "so I was drawn to women who were dramatic, emotional and unpredictable, with great sexual energy. I liked surprises. I liked women who could be demonstrative, demanding, socially unacceptable. While I was dealing with those desires, I was also trying to reconcile how I was actually living my life with how I thought my life should be lived — the traditional idea of a normal existence with a wife, a family."
After a string of failed marriages, Grammer finally found a normal existence with his current wife Camille Donatacci, whom he met in 1996.
"It was love at first sight," Grammer said of the couple's first meeting. "But I was scared. I was afraid of making another mistake, another failed marriage. But, corny as it sounds, I think Camille saw in me a great guy who needed love."
The full interview is featured in this Sunday's edition of Parade or currently on Parade.com.
By Judy Faber