Mahoney’s performance as the Crane patriarch on “Frasier” has earned him a Golden Globe and two Emmy Award nominations as Best Supporting Actor.
The Tony Award-winning actor (“House of Blue Leaves”) may best be remembered by audiences as the college professor who was splashed in the face with a drink in the 1988 film “Moonstruck.” Ironically, teaching is one of the professions he tried before becoming an actor.
Born in Manchester, England, Mahoney immigrated to the United States after high school and joined the Army, where he worked on losing his British accent. He received a bachelor of arts degree from Quincy University and a masters in English from Western Illinois University. However, he did not decide to pursue acting until after trying a variety of other careers, including college professor, hospital orderly and medical-journal editor, all of which left him unfulfilled.
At age 37, Mahoney enrolled in classes at Chicago’s St. Nicholas Theater—co-founded by playwright David Mamet—where he performed opposite John Malkovich, who invited him to join the Steppenwolf Theatre Company. Mahoney has since appeared in more than 30 Steppenwolf productions, including the 2001 production of Michael Healy’s “The Drawer Boy,” in which he co-starred alongside Frank Galati and Johnny Galecki. In addition to a Tony, he received a Clarence Derwent Award and a Drama Desk nomination for his performance in “House of Blue Leaves.” He received his second Drama Desk nomination and a Theater World Award for his portrayal of Harold in the off-Broadway production of “Orphans.”
In 1994, Mahoney made his directorial debut at Steppenwolf with the production of “Talking Heads,” a play made up of a series of monologues. He starred again at Steppenwolf in 1998 in “The Man Who Came to Dinner.” He also traveled with the play to London’s Barbican Center.
Mahoney’s feature-film credits also include “She’s the One,” “The American President,” “Primal Fear,” “Barton Fink,” “Suspect,” “The Russia House,” “Frantic,” “Betrayed,” “Eight Men Out,” “Say Anything,” “The Manhattan Project,” “Article 99,” “Striking Distance,” “The Hudsucker Proxy,” “Reality Bites” and “In the Line of Fire.” His most recent film work was in the independent film “Almost Salinas,” with Lindsay Crouse and Virginia Madsen.
On television he has starred as a regular on the drama series “The Human Factor,” “H.E.L.P.” and “Lady Blue,” in the miniseries “Favorite Son,” and in such television movies as “Will,” “Dinner at Eight,” “The Image,” “The Killing Floor,” “First Step” and David Mamet’s “The Water Engine.”
Mahoney lives in Chicago. His birthday is June 20.