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David Hyde Pierce (1959)

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  Summary  

David Hyde Pierce is an American actor and comedian. He is best known for playing the psychiatrist Dr. Niles Crane on the NBC sitcom Frasier, for which he won four Emmy Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series.

  Biography  

 early life
Pierce, the youngest of four siblings, was born in Saratoga Springs, New York, the son of Laura Marie (née Hughes) and George Hyde Pierce, an insurance agent and aspiring actor. He has three older siblings: Barbara, Nancy, and Thomas.
He adapted his name as an adult.

As a child, Pierce became very interested in the piano and frequently played organ at the local Bethesda Episcopal Church in Saratoga Springs. He began acting while in high school, earning recognition as best Dramatic Arts student. In 1977, Pierce received the Yaddo Medal for character and scholarship and worked in theater while a counselor at Camp Kabeyun in New Hampshire. However, his love of music was still strong, so he decided to study classical piano at Yale University. However, Pierce soon grew bored with music history lessons and found that he wasn’t dedicated enough to practice the required number of hours to become a successful concert pianist. Instead, he graduated in 1981 with a double major in English and Theatre Arts.

While attending Yale, Pierce performed and directed student productions, appearing as Sir Joseph Porter, K.C.B., in the Yale Gilbert & Sullivan Society's production of H.M.S. Pinafore. He also directed the Gilbert & Sullivan Society's operetta Princess Ida and occasionally accompanied rehearsals on the piano. Among other roles Pierce played at Yale were Waiting for Godot, Saint Joan, and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?.

 career
After his graduation, Pierce moved to New York City, where during the 1980s and early 1990s he was employed in various jobs, such as selling ties at Bloomingdale's and working as a security guard, while pursuing an acting career and studying at Michael Howard Studios. During this period he played Laertes in a popular off-Broadway production of Hamlet and made his Broadway debut in Christopher Durang's Beyond Therapy in 1982.


Pierce's first big television break came in the early 1990s with Norman Lear's political comedy The Powers That Be, in which Pierce played Theodore, a Congressman. Despite positive reviews from critics, the show was canceled after a brief run.

In part due to his close physical resemblance to Kelsey Grammer, the producers of the Cheers spin-off Frasier created the role of Niles Crane (Frasier Crane's younger brother) for him. Although prior to Frasier going into production, Pierce had petitioned the Screen Actors Guild to change his billing to David Hyde Pierce, the name he had used on the stage, the use of his middle name in the show's credits helped reinforce the actor's and the character's "snooty" image. For his work on Frasier, Pierce was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Emmy a record eleven consecutive years, winning in 1995, 1998, 1999 and 2004.

Pierce appeared alongside Jodie Foster in Little Man Tate, with Anthony Hopkins in Oliver Stone's Nixon, and with Ewan McGregor in Down With Love. He 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 2001, he starred in the cult '80s summer camp comedy Wet Hot American Summer as the befuddled astrophysicist, Prof. Henry Newman. In his role in Sleepless in Seattle, Pierce played the brother of Meg Ryan's character, a professor at Johns Hopkins University. The movie was released just three months before the start of Frasier.

In 2005, Pierce joined Tim Curry and others in the stage production of Spamalot. In August/September 2006, he starred as Lieutenant Frank Cioffi in Curtains, a new Kander and Ebb musical staged at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles. In March 2007, Curtains opened on Broadway and 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 performance. In his acceptance speech, David said the first words he spoke on a Broadway stage were, "I'm sorry, I'm going to have to ask you to leave."

On November 19, 2007, Pierce was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts Degree from Niagara University in Lewiston, New York.


In 2010, Pierce appeared in a revival of David Hirson's play La Bête directed by Matthew Warchus. The production debuted on London's West End before moving to New York.

Also in 2010, Pierce had his first starring film role as Warwick Wilson in the dark comedy/psychological thriller The Perfect Host.

 Voice acting
Pierce is known for his distinctive voice and, like his Frasier co-star Kelsey Grammer, is often called upon to provide voice work. His notable roles include the narrator of the movie "The Mating Habits of the Earthbound Human" in 1999, 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. Pierce refused credit for his Hellboy role because he felt it was the performance of Doug Jones, and not his own voice, which ultimately brought the character of Abe Sapien to life. He was the voice for Drix, a cold pill in the animated comedy Osmosis Jones.

In a deliberate in-joke, he voiced Cecil, the brother of Kelsey Grammer-voiced Sideshow Bob, in The Simpsons episode "Brother from Another Series", in which the two characters parallel the Frasier-Niles relationship. At one point in the episode, Cecil mistakes Bart for Maris, the unseen wife of Niles on Frasier. He returned as Cecil in the Season 19 episode "Funeral for a Fiend". 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 ads for the Tassimo coffee system and home furnishings retailer IKEA Canada.

 personal life
After years of speculation about his sexuality, his relationship with long-time partner, television writer, director and producer, Brian Hargrove, became public in 2007. Pierce later confirmed through his publicist that he and Hargrove were indeed a couple. When accepting his Tony Award for Curtains, Pierce thanked "my partner, Brian, because it's 24 years of listening to your damn notes — that's why I'm up here tonight." They married in California on October 24, 2008, just days before Proposition 8 was adopted as law, banning same-sex marriages in the state.

On May 28, 2009, while a guest on The View, he publicly announced his marriage to Hargrove and expressed his anger over the approval of Proposition 8. Pierce and Hargrove divide their time between New York and Los Angeles.

He and Frasier co-star John Mahoney are godparents to Frasier co-star Jane Leeves's son, Finn.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "David Hyde Pierce", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.