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Ted Danson's Season Finale

Actor Ted Danson, once known as bartender Sam Malone in the television series "Cheers," has taken a professional turn in recent years, playing a surly physician in the hit CBS comedy series "Becker."

Danson visited The Early Show to discuss the hour-long season's finale.

In the two episodes to be aired back-to-back on Sunday, Chris Conner's (Nancy Travis) ex-flame (Jon Cryer) makes a surprise visit. But Becker isn't jealous of some younger competition for Chris's affection. Or is he?

"I used to think of him as angry man - Mr. Angry man. But now I think he's just oh, so lonely. You know, he just doesn't know how to be with people," Danson said. "And he recognizes the need. But he just doesn't know how to do it. And this season, he falls in love. He's really head over heels in love with his neighbor."

During Danson's time on "Cheers," he was nominated nine times for an Emmy Award as Best Actor in a Comedy Series ; he won twice, in 1990 and 1993. The role earned him Golden Globe Awards for Best Actor in a Comedy Series in 1989 and 1990. He has also received a Golden Globe nomination for his role in "Becker."

Now that he has some time to relax, Danson has grown a beard and says he gets to spend time with his family and to work on a pet project, the cleaning up of the oceans.

"American Oceans Campaign, which I co-founded is now Oceana, which is a foundation-based international ocean advocacy group. And we're doing great stuff," Danson said, such as legislating against bottom trolling and bi-catching.

"Bottom trolling and bi-catch are two of the biggest reasons why our fisheries are collapsing all over the world," he explained. "Bottom trolling are these nets that tear up everything."

About Ted Danson

  • Raised in Flagstaff, Ariz., where he grew up with Hopi and Navajo children
  • 1972: Stage debut as understudy for the off-Broadway run of "The Real Inspector Hound;" later assumed role and toured with play
  • Appeared in Joseph Papp's Shakespeare-in-the-Park production of "Comedy of Errors." Had recurring role on the NBC drama "The Doctors"
  • 1974-1976: Played regular role on the NBC daytime drama "Somerset;" acted with Sigourney Weaver and JoBeth Williams
  • 1978-1980: Taught acting at the Actors Institute, Los Angeles; also performed managerial duties
  • 1979: Screen acting debut as sad-eyed, bagpipe-playing cop in "The Onion Field"
  • 1980: First notable television roles in two TV-movies: a supporting part in "The Women's Room" and as the lead in the comedy pilot "Once Upon a Spy"
  • 1981: Chosen as the "Aramis Man" for print and television advertisements for cologne and men's toiletry products
  • 1981: Portrayed the flip, cynical district attorney in Lawrence Kasdan's feature directing debut "Body Heat"
  • 1982-1993: Came to national attention as star of popular NBC sitcom "Cheers;" played role of Sam Malone; was making $450,000 per week at end of run; won two Emmy Awards for the role
  • 1984: Starred opposite Glenn Close in the TV-movie about incest, "Something About Amelia"
  • 1986: Was executive producer of first TV-movie, "When the Bough Breaks" (NBC), in which he also starred
  • 1987: Acted with Tom Selleck and Steve Gutenberg in "Three Men and a Baby," a remake of the 1985 French film "Three Men and a Cradle"
  • 1989: Starred as the free-spirited soul attracted to Isabella Rosselini in "Cousins," a remake of the 1975 French film "Cousin, Cousine"
  • 1990: Appeared in the inevitable sequel, "Three Men and a Little Lady"
  • 1990-1991: Co-produced the NBC sitcom "Down Home," which featured mostly New York stage actors (i.e., Tony-winner Judith Ivey) and had a uniquely (for TV) "stage" look
  • 1993: Attracted media attention and considerable criticism when he performed a risque monologue in blackface at a Friars Club Roast in honor of Whoopi Goldberg; he and Goldberg made several statements to the press about the good-humored intentions of his "tribute," which caused some audience guests - including the scandalized talk show host Montel Williams - to walk out of the hall
  • 1994: Starred opposite Macaulay Culkin in "Getting Even with Dad;" Produced and co-starred (with future wife Mary Steenburgen) in "Pontiac Moon"
  • 1996: Played title character in the award-winning NBC miniseries "Gulliver's Travels;" Steenburgen appeared as Mrs. Gulliver
  • 1996-1997: Returned to series TV with the short-lived CBS sitcom "Ink," a romantic comedy co-starring Steenburgen; also served as executive producer
  • 1998: Delivered dramatic turn in the Showtime miniseries "Thanks of a Greatful Nation;" Made cameo appearance in Steven Spielberg's "Saving Private Ryan"
  • 1998: Starred in the CBS midseason replacement series "Becker;" the network originally made a 13-episode commitment to the project
  • 1999: Reteamed with Lawrence Kasdan in "Mumford"
  • 1999: Received star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (Nov. 10)