by Cliff Carlson
John Mahoney died today at the age of 77. He graced us with his presence at the iBAM! Awards Gala where we honored him for his outstanding contributions in Performing Arts.
John never acted in a play that he didn't like and he seemed to like them all. He had a prolific career, made it big in Frazier, the TV series, and acted throughout Chicagoland during his illustrious career.
"John Mahoney was a fixture on the Chicago stage," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in remembrance. "Even as his fame grew through his fantastic work in movies and television, John stayed connected to his artistic home here in Chicago.
"Though he will be missed, his work and impact will endure for generations to come."
What I liked about him most is that he had time for almost anyone. Once, a fellow from Scotland and his wife were visiting me. We were discussing TV and he started telling me how great he thought John Mahoney was as an actor. I knew that John hung out in an Oak Park hotel bar, so I brought him there that same night. Sure enough, John came in, and the fellow got to meet him. John couldn't have been more gracious and gave him quite a bit of his time.
He was a fixture at Steppenwolf, performing in over 30 plays there. He wasn't too bad on the big screen either. Check him out in "Moonstruck." Of course he was probably best known as the father in the hit TV series, Frasier.
He was proud to be Irish, and we were proud to honor him at iBAM! in 2014. May he rest in peace.