Many a time we find ourselves lost in life’s loop of sadness. We tend to replay our toughest phases and live the pain again and again. But there are some stories that make us aware of our blessings and how grateful we should be for having the gift of seeing our loved ones in perfect health. Kelsey Grammer faced the full blow of life’s hardships in every aspect of his life when he lost two very important people in his life. But never did he think of bidding adieu to the beloved character of Dr. Frasier Crane he played on screen, that brought smiles to many faces.
Grammer was born in a humble family of artists – his mom was a singer and father, a musician. His life took its first tragic turned at a very tender age of 2. His parents separated, leaving him uprooted from his home and everything he held close. He, along with his sister, Karen moved to their grandfather’s with their mother. This is where he started to polish his skills of the performing arts.
But life had planned it tougher for the Cheers star. He lost his grandfather, whom he was very close to, at the age of 11. By this time, it was grief that had started shaping his life. However, he couldn’t believe his reality when the next tragic incident happened. In 1968, Grammer’s estranged father, Frank’s car was set on fire and then he was shot dead by a murderer.
According to certain reports, Grammer’s father was killed by a “virulently anti-white” man, Arthur Bevan Niles, as part of a nearly month-long frenzy of racially motivated violence. By 13, Grammer had lost two of the most impactful male influences in his life. While his father’s brutal murder left him emotionally broken, even as a teenager he channelized all his efforts towards acting and performing, reports Trendchaser.
By the age of 16, Grammer knew that performing was his dream and passion. He had been taking classes on acting, singing, and performing, therefore, to everyone’s amazement, when his application to the prestigious Julliard School was accepted, there was no looking back for him. But all happiness comes with a price.
During his years of education, he was rendered homeless and forced to work random odd jobs as he was not from an affluent family. Kelsey recalled having to spend “months at a time sleeping in Central Park,” reports Trendchaser.
As he was trying to make do in a world full of miseries, another blow hit his life and this time it hit him so hard that he felt destroyed. In 1975, Grammer’s sister Karen was abducted and brutally raped by 4 men who saw her waiting for a ride after finishing her shift as a waitress. They stabbed Karen, then threw her out of the car and left her for dead in a local trailer park. Grammer learned about this incident a week later and it hurt him to his bones.
Even decades later when the killer was up for parole in 2009, Grammer described him as a monster and successfully opposed his release. “I miss her in my bones,” he wrote to the parole board. “I was her big brother. I was supposed to protect her—I could not…. It very nearly destroyed me,” reports Vanity Fair.
When asked how could he have done something back then when he was only 20 and living in a different city, Grammer said, “It’s hard to explain. It’s not rational. But it happens anyway. I know a lot of people who’ve lost their siblings and blame themselves.”
Years later, in 1982, the actor and comedian made his mark as Dr. Frasier Crane in the hit TV series Cheers. During his career, he successfully joined the bandwagon of elite actors by winning five Primetime Emmy Awards, three Golden Globe Awards, and one Tony Award due to his incredible body of work and craft.
But life kept throwing curveballs at him even after he touched success. His failed relationships, struggles with substance abuse, a near-death experience in 2008, kept rocking his world over and over again. Through these ups and downs, Grammer never let the tragedies of his personal life cloud his sense of humor. On screen, he was this delightful Frasier who brought smiles to people’s faces.
In an interview with Vanity Fair, he explained that life will always be tough for all of us, it is on us to learn our lessons and move on to do our parts in the world. “That every one of us is going to experience some terrible loss. I just got a big dose. For every story, you hear that’s tragic, there’s another that’s equally tragic or more so. I think you come to look at it as part of life.”