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David Hyde Pierce


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Pierce's first big television break came in the early 1990s with Norman Lear's The Powers That Be. Pierce played Theodore, a Congressman on the political comedy. Despite positive reviews from critics, the show was cancelled after a brief run. Pierce has commented in interviews that the cancellation came as a shock to him and that he was very disappointed the show did not continue. His career would soon, however, take off with a role on another sitcom. Because of his physical resemblance to Kelsey Grammer, the role of Niles Crane on the Cheers spin-off Frasier was created for him. For this role, Pierce was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Emmy for a record eleven consecutive years, winning in 1995, 1998, 1999 and 2004. For the last few years of the run of the show, Pierce was paid up to US$1 million per episode.

Pierce also acts in movies from time to time. He appeared alongside Jodie Foster in Little Man Tate, with Anthony Hopkins in Oliver Stone's Nixon, and alongside Ewan McGregor in Down With Love. He also provided the voice for Doctor Doppler in Disney's 42nd animated feature Treasure Planet, Slim, a stick insect in Pixar's A Bug's Life and Abe Sapien in Guillermo del Toro's Hellboy.

In his role in Sleepless in Seattle Pierce plays Meg Ryan's character's brother, a professor at the Johns Hopkins University. Upon his sister's admission that she has been fantasizing about the man in Seattle, Hyde-Pierce's character replies, “It rains nine months of the year in Seattle.” This was roughly one year before the start of Frasier (also set in Seattle).

In 2005, Pierce joined Tim Curry and others in the stage production Spamalot. In August/September 2006, he starred in Curtains, a new Kander and Ebb musical at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, which transferred to Broadway in March 2007. On June 10, 2007 Pierce won the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical at the 61st Tony Awards for his role in Curtains. On November 19, 2007, Pierce was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts Degree from Niagara University in Lewiston, New York.

[edit] Voice work

Pierce has a distinctive voice and, like his Frasier co-star Kelsey Grammer, is often called upon to provide voice work. Some of his more notable roles in this calling include the walking stick insect Slim in A Bug's Life, Doctor Delbert Doppler in Disney's film Treasure Planet, and the amphibian Abe Sapien in Hellboy (of note is the fact that Pierce refused credit for his Hellboy role, because he felt that it was Doug Jones’ performance, and not his own voice, which ultimately brought the character of Abe Sapien to life).[4] He provided the voice for Drix, a cold pill in the animated comedy Osmosis Jones. In a deliberate in-joke, he has also voiced Sideshow Bob's brother, Cecil, in an episode of The Simpsons, "Brother from Another Series", in which he and Grammer essentially recreated the Niles/Frasier relationship (at one point, Cecil mistakes Bart for Maris, the unseen wife of Niles on Frasier). He once again returned as Cecil in the Series 19 episode Funeral for a Fiend. (Funeral for a Fiend was, in fact, a minor Frasier reunion, as John Mahoney, who portrayed Martin Crane, the father of Frasier and Niles Crane, provided the voice of Sideshow Bob and Cecil's father in the episode.) In 2006, he co-starred in the animated pilot for The Amazing Screw-On Head as the Screw-On Head's arch-nemesis Emperor Zombie; however, the series was not picked up. His commercial voiceover work includes voicing the Tassimo coffee system, an appropriate role as his trademark character Niles Crane was known for being an excessively fussy coffee connoisseur.


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