This month Frasier will celebrate the 25th anniversary of its debut and it doesn’t take a degree in psychiatry to know why it was so successful. It was the talent in front of and behind the camera. Kelsey Grammer, David Hyde Pierce, Peri Gilpin, Jane Leeves, and many other cast members, writers, and producers came together to provide Vanity Fair with an oral history of the beloved Cheers spinoff.
Much has been made of Frasier’s central family structure — the relationship between Frasier, Niles, and their father, played by the late, great John Mahoney. When Pierce first read for his part as Frasier’s brother, though, he recalls thinking, “This is terrible-they’ve written two of the same character.”
Pierce’s concerns over character dynamics were quickly soothed when the show found an immediate success. As Pierce told Vanity Fair, “At some point in the first season, I said to Kelsey, “Does this mean I’ll never have to work again?” and he said, “No, it means I’ll never have to work again.”
The oral history also dives into the casting of Peri Gilpin’s Roz Doyle, and the incredible group of actresses who auditioned for the role, including Allison Janney, Patricia Clarkson, and Salma Hayek. The one who came closest to nabbing the part before being replaced by Gilpin, though, was Lisa Kudrow, who even acted in rehearsals. Though Kudrow ultimately exited Frasier, she only had to wait a year until Friends made her a star.
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