David Hyde Pierce

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David Hyde Pierce
David Hyde Pierce VF Shankbone 2010.jpg
Pierce in New York City in 2010
BornDavid Pierce
(1959-04-03) April 3, 1959 (age 55)
Saratoga Springs, New York
Alma materYale University
OccupationActor, comedian
Years active1982–present
Spouse(s)Brian Hargrove (m. 2008)
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David Hyde Pierce
David Hyde Pierce VF Shankbone 2010.jpg
Pierce in New York City in 2010
BornDavid Pierce
(1959-04-03) April 3, 1959 (age 55)
Saratoga Springs, New York
Alma materYale University
OccupationActor, comedian
Years active1982–present
Spouse(s)Brian Hargrove (m. 2008)

David Hyde Pierce (born April 3, 1959)[1] is an American actor and comedian. Pierce is known for playing the psychiatrist Dr. Niles Crane on the hit NBC sitcom Frasier, for which he won four Emmy Awards during the show's run.

Early life[edit]

Pierce was born David Pierce in Saratoga Springs, New York. His father, George Hyde Pierce, was an aspiring actor, and his mother, Laura Marie (née Hughes), was an insurance agent.[1] He added his middle name "Hyde" to avoid confusion with another actor named David Pierce.[2]

As a child, Pierce frequently played organ at the local Bethesda Episcopal Church.[3]

While attending Yale,[citation needed] Pierce performed in 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.[citation needed] Among other roles Pierce played at Yale were in Waiting for Godot, Saint Joan, and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?.[citation needed]


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.[4]

Pierce at the 1994 Emmy Awards

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.[5] Despite positive reviews from critics, the show was canceled after a brief run.

In part due to his close physical resemblance to Kelsey Grammer,[6] the producers of the Cheers spin-off Frasier created the role of Niles Crane (Frasier Crane's younger brother) for him.[5] Although prior to Frasier going into production, Pierce had petitioned the Screen Actors Guild to change his billing to David 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.[6] 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.

Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski, Missouri Senator Kit Bond and Pierce at the Alzheimer's Press Conference to promote awareness

Pierce also appeared alongside Jodie Foster in Little Man Tate, with Anthony Hopkins in Oliver Stone's Nixon, and with Ewan McGregor in Down With Love.[5] 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 1980s 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.[5]

In 2005, Pierce joined Tim Curry and others in the stage production of Spamalot.[5] In August and 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[5] 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.[5] In his acceptance speech, Pierce said the first words he spoke on a Broadway stage were, "I'm sorry, I'm going to have to ask you to leave."[7]

On November 19, 2007, Pierce was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts Degree from Niagara University in Lewiston, New York. He was earlier awarded, (1999), an Honorary Degree from Skidmore College, located in his native Saratoga Springs. 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.[8] Also in 2010, Pierce had his first starring film role as Warwick Wilson in the dark comedy/psychological thriller The Perfect Host.

Pierce outside Harold Pinter Theatre after the final performance of La Bête in October 2005

Voice acting[edit]

Pierce at the Governor's Ball dinner after the Emmy Awards in September 1995

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.[5] 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.[9] 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" where Frasier co-star John Mahoney (who starred as Frasier and Niles' father in the show) voices Dr. Robert Terwilliger, Sr., the father of Cecil and Sideshow Bob. Pierce also provided the voice of Mr. Daedalus in the 1998 Disney show Hercules: The Animated Series. In 2006, he co-starred in the animated pilot for The Amazing Screw-On Head as the Screw-On Head's nemesis Emperor Zombie; however, the series was not picked up. His commercial voiceover work included ads for the Tassimo coffee system, Seattle's Metro Transit and home furnishings retailer IKEA Canada.[10]

Pierce also narrated a 2 CD tour guide "Napa Uncorked" in 2002 among others [11]

Personal life[edit]

After years of media speculation about his sexuality, Pierce came out in 2007 and later confirmed through his publicist that he and television writer, director and producer Brian Hargrove were a couple.[12][13] 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."[14] They married in California on October 24, 2008, just days before Proposition 8 was adopted as law, banning same-sex marriages in the state.[15] 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.[16][17]

He and Frasier co-star John Mahoney are godparents to Frasier co-star Jane Leeves' son, Finn.[18] Pierce has spent years working with the Alzheimer's Association on behalf of Americans with Alzheimer's disease. He has appeared in Washington, D.C. to testify in support of expanding funding for treatment, and he has publicly campaigned for the (ultimately successful) National Alzheimer's Project Act. He told MSNBC in 2011, "it is up to us, to all of us, to the American people and to their representatives about whether we face the challenges and make all the effort necessary or if we ignore it and just let this sort of tidal wave crash over us."[19]



1988The Appointments of Dennis JenningsBusinessmanShort film
1988Bright Lights, Big CityBartender at Fashion Show
1988Crossing DelanceyMark
1988Rocket GibraltarMonsieur Henri
1989Vampire's KissTheater Guy
1990Across Five AprilsUnion Soldier
1991Little Man TateGarth Emmerick
1991The Fisher KingLou Rosen
1993Sleepless in SeattleDennis Reed
1993Addams Family ValuesDelivery Room Doctor
1995RipplePeterShort film
1995NixonJohn DeanNominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
1998A Bug's LifeSlimVoice
1999The Mating Habits of the Earthbound HumanNarratorVoice
1999Jackie's BackPerryTelevision film
2000Isn't She GreatMichael Hastings
2000Chain of FoolsMr. Kerner
2000The Tangerine BearBirdVoice
2001Wet Hot American SummerHenry Newman
2001Happy BirthdayBarneyShort film
2001Osmosis JonesDrixVoice
2001Laud WeinerLaud WeinerShort
2001On the EdgeBarneyTelevision film
2002Full FrontalCarl
2002Treasure PlanetDoctor DopplerVoice
2003Down with LovePeter MacMannus
2004HellboyAbe SapienUncredited
2006The Amazing Screw-On HeadEmperor ZombieTelevision film
2008Forever Plaid: The MovieNarratorVoice
2009Stingray SamNarratorVoice
2010The Perfect HostWarwick Wilson


1987Spenser: For HireO'NeillEpisode: "The Man Who Wasn't There"
1987Crime StoryNSA Agent CarruthersEpisode: "Mig 21"
1988KnightwatchGibsonEpisode: "Friday Knight"
1992Dream OnJerry DorferEpisode: "The Guilty Party"
1992–1993The Powers That BeTheodore Van Horne20 episodes
1993–2004FrasierDr. Niles Crane264 episodes
American Comedy Award for Funniest Supporting Male in a Television Series (1995–2000)
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (1995, 1998–99, 2004)
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
Television Critics Association Award for Individual Achievement in Comedy (1997–98)
Viewers for Quality Television Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Quality Comedy Series (1994–98, 2000)
Nominated—American Comedy Award for Funniest Supporting Male in a Television Series
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film (1995–98, 2001)
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (1994, 1996–97, 2000–03)
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film (2003–04)
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series (1995, 1997–2002)
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series (1995–99, 2001–04)
Nominated—Viewers for Quality Television Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Quality Comedy Series
1995Saturday Night LiveHimself/HostEpisode: "David Hyde Pierce/Live"
1995Caroline in the CityDr. Niles CraneEpisode: "Caroline and the Bad Back"
1996The Outer LimitsDr. Jack HensonEpisode: "The Sentence"
CableACE Award for Best Guest Actor in a Drama Series
1996Mighty DucksBaron von Lichtenstamp3 episodes
1996Caroline in the CityJimmy CallahanEpisode: "Caroline and the Cat Dancer"
1997Happily Every AfterPussEpisode: "Puss in Boots"
1997–2007The SimpsonsCecil Terwilliger2 episodes
2001TitusJerry OctoberEpisode: "Life Forward"
2003Gary the RatAddisonEpisode: "Strange Bedfellows"
2012Sesame StreetCommander ChipheadEpisode: "Get Lost, Mr. Chips"
2014The SimpsonsFelixEpisode: "Clown in the Dumps"
2014–2015The Good WifeFrank Prady4 episodes


1982Beyond TherapyAndrew
1990The Heidi ChroniclesPeter Patrone
2005A Wonderful LifeN/A
2005Children and ArtN/A
2005–2009SpamalotVariousNominated—Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical
2007–2008CurtainsLieutenant Frank CioffiTony Award for Best Actor in a Musical
Nominated—Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical
2009Accent on YouthSteven Gaye
2010–2011La BêteElomire
2013Vanya and Sonia and Masha and SpikeVanyaNominated—Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play


  1. ^ a b "David Hyde Pierce profile". Rootsweb. 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-11. 
  2. ^ "I did not come out of the womb with the name 'Hyde'. It was my middle name from my dad's side of the family. His mom's maiden name. So when our film union said there was already a David Pierce, I added the name 'Hyde'", interview with Cindy Adams, New York Post, June 29, 2011
  3. ^ Barbara S Wilson, Arlene Flancher, and Susan T. Erdey, The Episcopal Handbook (Moorhouse [Church] Publishing 2008), pp. 106-7, ISBN 978-0-8192-2329-6.
  4. ^ The Broadway League. "Profile at IBDb". Ibdb.com. Retrieved 2011-10-28. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h "Showperson; the DHP Website". Archived from the original on 2008-06-02. Retrieved 2008-06-19. 
  6. ^ a b Newman, Bruce (1998-03-01). "All In Their Family". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2009-02-20. 
  7. ^ "David Hyde Pierce Acceptance Speech Tony Award". YouTube. 2007. Retrieved 2010-06-03. 
  8. ^ "Rylance, Lumley and Hyde Pierce bring La Bête to West End". London, UK. 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-27. 
  9. ^ Doug Jones (May 11, 2007). (transcript). Interview with Staci Layne. Horror.com http://www.horror.com/php/article-1596-1.html. Retrieved 2008-06-11.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  10. ^ "IKEA Pax: Our Pre-Wedding Photographer Lives in Advertising". Youtube.com. 2011-06-08. Retrieved 2011-10-28. 
  11. ^ CDroam
  12. ^ The Associated Press (May 30, 2007). "'Frasier' brother finds home on stage". CNN. Archived from the original on 2007-06-29. Retrieved 2008-06-11. 
  13. ^ "David Hyde Pierce joins list of out gay actors". AfterElton. May 30, 2007. Retrieved 2008-06-11. 
  14. ^ "Rants & Raves". The Advocate. July 17, 2007. pp. 26, issue 989. 
  15. ^ Show Person: the David Hyde Pierce website
  16. ^ AP staff report, "David Hyde Pierce says he married longtime partner," May 29, 2009. Found at yahoo news. Accessed May 29, 2009.
  17. ^ "David Hyde Pierce reveals he's been secretly married to partner of 25 years". New York Daily News. 29 May 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-30. 
  18. ^ Mulkerrins, Jane (2011-02-13). "Jane Leeves in Hot in Cleaveland has struck sitcom gold again". Dailymail. Retrieved 2011-03-20. 
  19. ^ "David Hyde Pierce: Don't forget Alzheimer's - US news - Giving | NBC News". MSNBC. 2011-10-19. Retrieved 2014-06-10. 

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