PROFILE
Name:
David Hyde Pierce
Birth Date:
April 3, 1959
Birth Place:
Saratoga Springs, New York, USA
Height:
5' 11" (1.80 m)
Nationality:
American
Famous for:
His role as role of Dr. Niles Crane on sitcom Frasier
BIOGRAPHY
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Frasier's Brother

Background:

“I am, by nature, a fairly shy person and one of the things I had to learn was when you're on a popular show and people feel they know you, what used to pass for shyness can be perceived as rude. I do feel more vulnerable, but people are always nice. Nobody ever comes up and throws food on me and says the show is crap.” David Hyde Pierce

American actor and comedian David Hyde Pierce, also known as David Pierce, is famous to television audiences as younger brother Dr. Niles Crane on the critically acclaimed sitcom “Frasier” (NBC, 1993-2004), which starred Kelsey Grammer in the title role. Pierce’s role brought the actor 11 consecutive Emmy nominations, which he won in 1995, 1998, 1999 and 2004. He holds the record for the most Emmy nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Series, Comedy or Drama. Pierce also picked up two Screen Actors Guild Awards, six American Comedy Awards, five Viewers for Quality Television Awards, two Television Critics Association (TCA) Awards, a TV Guide Award and several Golden Globe nominations for his work on the show.

“So much of good comedy is timing and being able to hear the music of a line and the rhythm of a joke. I think that's why a lot of the best comedians have some sort of musical instincts. That's one reason why Kelsey and I work so well together. He's also a musician,” David Hyde Pierce said about his “Frasier” costar Kelsey Grammer.

Starting his career on stage, the Yale graduate first gained recognition on TV playing Theodore Van Horne on the short lived sitcom “The Powers that Be” (1992-1993) and shortly thereafter, scored a huge breakthrough with “Frasier.” More recently, he is recognized with his Tony Award winning portrayal of Lt. Frank Cioffi in the musical “Curtains” (2007). Other Broadway credits include “Beyond Therapy,” “The Heidi Chronicles” and “Accent on Youth.” Pierce has also acted in many films, including “The Fisher King” (1991), “Sleepless in Seattle” (1993), “Nixon” (1995), “Wet Hot American Summer” (2001), “Full Frontal” (2002) and “Down With Love” (2003). Also a voice actor, Pierce's voice can be heard in the animated films “A Bug's Life” (1998), “Osmosis Jones” (2001) and “Treasure Planet” (2002) as well as in the animated TV series “Mighty Ducks,” “Hercules” and “The Simpsons.”

Moviegoers should not miss his performance in the upcoming thriller “The Perfect Host” (2010).

Pierce plays the organ and piano. He enjoys kickboxing as a form of exercise. He once stated, “Last year I finally got my own grand piano and that was a big thing for me because it's always been and always will be a very important part of my life.”

Pierce is a supporter of Alzheimer's research. His grandfather died from Alzheimer's. His father also suffered from the disease, but passed away of pneumonia. He stated, “We could have a serious epidemic on our hands. Alzheimer's is a ticking time bomb in the heads of people in my generation. We must defuse it before it detonates and destroys our minds. Time is running out.”

As for his romantic life, Pierce and his long term companion, TV writer, director and producer Brian Hargrove (born on April 2, 1956), were married on October 24, 2008, in California, prior to the passage of Proposition 8. The couple lives in New York and Los Angeles.


Saratoga Springs

Childhood and Family:

The son of Laura Marie Pierce and George Hyde Pierce, David Hyde Pierce was born on April 3, 1959, in Saratoga Springs, New York. No stranger to music, he began playing the piano as a child and later became an organist at the local Bethesda Episcopal Church. He discovered acting while a student at Saratoga Springs High School. He was awarded the Yaddo Medal as the best dramatic arts student upon graduating high school in 1977.

With an ambition of becoming a concert pianist, David decided to study classical piano at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. He, however, grew bored with the classes and quit music. By the time he graduated in 1981, David had received a degree in English and theater arts. While at Yale, he performed and directed several student productions. He later studied acting at Michael Howard Studios in New York City.

David is the life partner of TV writer and producer Brian Hargrove.


Curtains

Career:

“I was as happy doing theatre in New York for little or no money as I am now doing television for more money. The happiness, I guess, comes out of it being a good job. The success has to do with the fact that it's a good job that will continue.” David Hyde Pierce

After graduating from Yale, David Hyde Pierce headed to New York City to pursue a stage career. Once working as a tie salesman at Bloomingdale's and as a security guard, he made his professional debut on Broadway in Christopher Durang's “Beyond Therapy” in 1982. He went on to work off-Broadway and in regional theater. Known on stage as David Pierce, he performed in various productions at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis in 1984 and directed and performed in “Candida” at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago. Pierce's stage career gained a further boost with his role in a popular off-Broadway production of “Hamlet,” which starred Kevin Kline, and Wendy Wasserstein's award winning “The Heidi Chronicles” (1989-1990), opposite Christine Lahti. He also toured the Soviet Union and Japan with “The Cherry Orchard” (1988-1989).

Pierce began branching out to television in 1987 with guest spots in “Spencer: For Hire” and “Crime Story.” He made his feature film acting debut the next year when he landed a bit part in the James Bridges directed drama “Bright Lights, Big City” (1988), starring Michael J. Fox and Kiefer Sutherland. He followed it up with appearances in the Nicolas Cage vehicle “Vampire's Kiss,” the based on play “Crossing Delancey,” Daniel Petrie's “Rocket Gibraltar” and Dean Parisot's acclaimed short “The Appointments of Dennis Jennings,” which won a 1989 Oscar for Best Short Film, Live Action (all 1988). The same year, he made a brief return to television as Gibson in an episode of the ABC short lived series “Knightwatch” called “Friday Knight.”

In the early 1990s, Pierce appeared in a small role in the film “Across Five Aprils” (1990), which was written and directed by Kevin Meyer, costarred as Garth Emmerick in “Little Man Tate” (1991), which was directed by and starred Jodie Foster, and offered a memorable performance as Agent Lou Rosen in Terry Gilliam's “The Fisher King” (1991), opposite Jeff Bridges, Robin Williams, Mercedes Ruehl and Amanda Plummer. His first break on television arrived when he landed the role of Congressman Theodore Van Horne in the political comedy series “The Powers That Be,” created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman and executive produced by Norman Lear. Debuting on NBC on March 7, 1992, the show was axed after a brief run despite a good reception from critics.

Pierce quickly bounced back when he was cast as psychiatrist Dr. Niles Crane, the younger brother of fellow psychiatrist Dr. Frasier Crane (played by Kelsey Grammer), on the NBC hit situation comedy “Frasier” (1993-2004). A spin-off of the series “Cheers,” the show went on to become one of the most successful spin-off series in the history of television and won a record 37 Emmy Awards during its seven seasons run. For his good acting, Pierce collected four Emmys in the category of Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (1995, 1998, 1999 and 2004) and seven additional Emmy nominations in the same category, two Screen Actors Guilds for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series (1996) and Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series (2000), six American Comedy awards for Funniest Supporting Male Performer in a TV Series, a TV Guide for Favorite Actor in a Comedy (2000), two TCA Awards for Individual Achievement in Comedy (1997 and 1998) and five Q Awards for Best Supporting Actor in a Quality Comedy Series from the Viewers for Quality Television Awards (1994, 1995, 1996, 1998 and 2000). The role also brought the actor five Golden Globe nominations in the category of Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV.

Pierce returned to film in Nora Ephron's box office hit “Sleepless in Seattle” (1993), where he portrayed the role of Dennis Reed, opposite Tom Hanks as Sam Baldwin and Meg Ryan as Annie Reed. He next played a delivery room doctor in the sequel “Addams Family Values” (1993), Roy in Mike Nichols' “Wolf” (1994), starring Jack Nicholson, Michelle Pfeiffer and James Spader, Peter in the independent film “Ripple” (1995) and John Dean in Oliver Stone's biopic “Nixon” (1995), which starred Anthony Hopkins as Richard M. Nixon. Pierce reprised his “Frasier” role of Dr. Niles Crane in the 1995 episode “Caroline and the Bad Back” of “Caroline in the City.” He reappeared on the show in the 1996 episode “Caroline and the Cat Dancer,” where he portrayed a different character, Jimmy Callahan. He resurfaced on stage in 1997 in a benefit performance of Gilbert and Sullivan's “Trial by Jury” at the Janet Kinghorn Bernhard Theater of Skidmore College, in Saratoga Springs, New York.

Throughout the mid to the late 1990s, the actor also did voiceover work. He could be heard as Buttons The Chimp in an episode of “The Adventures of Hyperman” (1995), Baron von Lichtenstamp in three episodes of “Mighty Ducks” (1996), Puss in a 1997 episode of “Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child” called “Puss in Boots” and Daedalus in three episodes of “Hercules” (1998). He also provided the voice of the walking stick insect Slim in the animated film “A Bug's Life” (1998), which was directed by John Lasseter, and narrated the 1999 science fiction film “The Mating Habits of the Earthbound Human,” for filmmaker Jeff Abugov.

Entering the new millennium, Pierce was cast as book editor Michael Hastings in the biopic “Isn't She Great” (2000), directed by Andrew Bergman and starring Bette Midler as author Jacqueline Susann, portrayed Mr. Kerner in “Chain of Fools” (2000), a heist film starring Steve Zahn, Salma Hayek, Jeff Goldblum, Elijah Wood, and David Cross, and had the significant role of Henry Newman in David Wain's comedy “Wet Hot American Summer” (2001). He next portrayed Barney in “Happy Birthday” (2001, directed by actress Helen Mirren), starred in Philip Euling's award winning short “Laud Weiner” (2001), teamed up with David Duchovny, Nicky Katt, Catherine Keener, Brian Krow and Mary McCormack in Steven Soderbergh's “Full Frontal” (2002, as Carl), and played the supporting role of Peter MacMannus in Peyton Reed's “Down With Love” (2003), alongside Renée Zellweger, Ewan McGregor and Sarah Paulson. Also in 2001, he guest starred in an episode of “Titus” and worked with Uta Hagen on the Los Angeles stage production of “Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks.” Pierce's distinctive voice could also be heard in the direct-to-video “The Tangerine Bear: Home in Time for Christmas” (2000), the Farrelly brothers' animated film “Osmosis Jones” (2001) and the Academy Award winner for Best Animated Feature, “Treasure Planet” (2002, as Doctor Doppler). He also voiced Addison in an episode of “Gary the Rat” (2003) and Abe Sapien in the Guillermo del Toro directed film “Hellboy” (2004).

After “Frasier” came to an end, Pierce costarred in “Spamalot” (2005), Eric Idle's Broadway musical version of “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” at New York City's Shubert Theatre, and lent his voice to the character Emperor Zombie in the 2006 animated TV film “The Amazing Screw-On Head,” which also starred the voice of Paul Giamatti. He then provided the voice of Cecil Terwilliger in the 2007 episode “Funeral for a Fiend” of “The Simpsons,” which marked the actor's return to the popular cartoon series after the 1997 episode “Brother from Another Series.”

It was also in 2007 that Pierce was put back in the limelight with his Tony Award winning role of Boston detective Frank Cioffi in the musical “Curtains,” alongside Debra Monk and Karen Ziemba. He won a Tony for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical. Recently, in 2009, he played Steven Gaye in a Broadway production of Samson Raphaelson's “Accent on Youth.”

After narrating Cory McAbee's film “Stingray Sam” (2009), Pierce is set to star as Warwick Wilson in the thriller “The Perfect Host.” Written and directed by Nick Tomnay, the film is set for a 2010 release. The cast of the film will also include Nathaniel Parker, Clayne Crawford, Helen Reddy, George Cheung and Megahn Perry.


Awards:

  • Tony: Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical, “Curtains,” 2007

  • Emmy: Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series, “Frasier,” 2004

  • American Comedy: Funniest Supporting Male Performer in a TV Series, “Frasier,” 2000

  • Screen Actors Guild: Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series, “Frasier,” 2000

  • TV Guide: Favorite Actor in a Comedy, “Frasier,” 2000

  • Viewers for Quality Television: Q Award, Best Supporting Actor in a Quality Comedy Series, “Frasier,” 2000

  • Emmy: Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series, “Frasier,” 1999

  • American Comedy: Funniest Supporting Male Performer in a TV Series, “Frasier,” 1999

  • Emmy: Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series, “Frasier,” 1998

  • Emmy: Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series, “Frasier,” 1995

  • American Comedy: Funniest Supporting Male Performer in a TV Series, “Frasier,” 1998

  • Viewers for Quality Television: Q Award, Best Supporting Actor in a Quality Comedy Series, “Frasier,” 1998

  • American Comedy: Funniest Supporting Male Performer in a TV Series, “Frasier,” 1997

  • Television Critics Association (TCA): Individual Achievement in Comedy, “Frasier,” 1997

  • American Comedy: Funniest Supporting Male Performer in a TV Series, “Frasier,” 1996

  • Screen Actors Guild: Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series, “Frasier,” 1996

  • Viewers for Quality Television: Q Award, Best Supporting Actor in a Quality Comedy Series, “Frasier,” 1996

  • American Comedy: Funniest Supporting Male Performer in a TV Series, “Frasier,” 1995

  • Viewers for Quality Television: Q Award, Best Supporting Actor in a Quality Comedy Series, “Frasier,” 1995

  • Viewers for Quality Television: Q Award, Best Supporting Actor in a Quality Comedy Series, “Frasier,” 1994

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