Kelsey Grammer is best known for his two-decade-long portrayal of psychiatrist Dr Frasier Crane which began on the NBC sitcom Cheers. He continued the role in the hugely successful spin-off series Frasier which ran for 11 years. When the series ended in 2004, it had won a total of 35 Emmys. Born in the Virgin Islands, he was brought up by his mother and maternal grandparents in Florida, after his parents divorced. He studied drama at the Julliard School in New York but left before the end of the second year. He got his big break when he joined the cast of Cheers in 1984. In his personal life Grammer has experienced a great deal of loss - his much-loved grandfather died when he was 12 and his 18 year old sister was murdered when he was 20. His struggles with drink and drugs, now behind him, are well documented. Married four times, he is the father of seven. The winner of multiple awards, he is also a TV producer, director, writer, and known for his voice work: among others he was Sideshow Bob in The Simpsons and Stinky Pete in Toy Story 2. He is currently on stage in London. Presenter Kirsty Young Producer Cathy Drysdale.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
This is the bbc. No, I'm christiaan welcome to desert island discs where every week I asked my gear To choose the eight tracks, the book and the luxury item that they want to do, with them. If they were cast away on a desert island for rights, since the music on these podcast fashions is shorter. Then, in the original broadcast you can find over two thousand more additions to listen to and download, desert island discs website. My castaway this week is the actor kelsey grammar. His descent
several was as the richter's george pedant frazier, most famously in the long running sitcom of the same name, and it made his reputation as one of finest comedy actors of his generation. Producer, director and writer to his one so many words it is frankly, almost embarrassing. He has spent, Ok, then filling our lives with laughter. But all these comedy exists alongside profound personal tragedy. He said sancho and loss very nearly destroyed him, farewell drinkin drugs and chaos where his close companions these days, he seems who deal more settled living in upstate, new york, with its fourth wife and three young children and regularly taking to the stage on broadway and now in london's west end to exercise his performing muscles. He says I like telling stories that all about good people who make mistakes Recent behaviour in a world filled with indecency. I don't who claim to be an arbiter of good taste or conduct, I'm not a saint, but I liked it
stories that a clean and good that you kids can see and so welcome, see grammar emmy tony golden club winner, when I Should you soon, as somebody who is not just the actor, who is such a household face, but but also as a producer and a writer and a director. Do you see all those things equally or is the one that sort of stands out as what you consider to be your main job arm, I'm or who likes panic in a weird way, I like to be in a in a position when I director producer I'd like to be doing something that I have never done before I like to be a little bit over my head. So I can rise to it. I set myself up, for I guess failure, to find try and this famous character that we knew you as, of course, doktor fisher, crane, started and cheers and then went on for eleven cities for this incredible combat that people around the world enjoyed. What was that guess joy of playing frazier if it can then you to be a joy. It was a joy, always the beauty
the plane frazier what you could pretty much do anything I mean I could every trick on god in my bag and it would still fit on frazier. it was loud and big and boisterous and subtle and beautiful and touching, and you had all the notes that you can play Mrs though all of creation was sitting there in the middle of freighters stomach turning and ready to come popping out anytime time. Now you you'd onstage every night playing in front of alive audience. Are you somebody who is very adapted in their performance depending on how the audiences responding to you? You know it it's part of the reason you keep doing. It is because its muscle that is kept most sup by the idea that you keep working in it and that there is a different matter every night in the audience age performance depends upon whose watchin I mean I've always had its, not art until only looks at it. Tell me, then but museum in you play the piano biagi. Well, what was your criteria for the news it whereby well? Some of it is based upon the love of my family. Someone is based upon strategy meant something to me when I was young.
And I saw that also based on the fact that I'm on a desert island so tell me but this first choice why we're gonna give this frank sinatra, finally to the moon is just one of the great recordings from one of the great voices, one of the great performers of all time union. In a bit you thanks not while we met once I was sort of on the list that I can go play at his golf tournament. I was invited was every fifth birthday party, because I guess I got unless, but what was great was once the government Frank walked by and he just started. We have that you had a little hare pieces back then became sort of signature looked later years, but tat they left the radio. You dont good kid
that's enough, interprets the threat that fly me to. Let me place among the stars. Let me see what spring is like a do better and more, in other words and other baby kiss me. So let me saying you are long and a dog and other work, the joy that joint action after fly me to them and when we were listening to that, we were fully both thinking the voice, the voice- and I think people think that about you. Of course, you ve done a lot of wonderful voice. Workin the simpson sideshow bob twice to redo stinky pete you currently singing in the efficient musical. Do you take care
There is even a magnificent to hear it through my headphones. Do you take care of? The instrument is conscious of the instrument. I have become a little bit of up, Currently the nicest word decide sissy ice you can call it. I do rat my voice up a bit more now because I used to say make fun of operating. As I see them, walking around with scarves on old timer thing. Oh, come on, you just go use your voice. Just so go saying I have discovered that when you do it shows a week it wears out. so. What are you doing you splitting the dual over spreading hotdog? Look at his team, I'm I'm trying slip and slide towards my own way of maintaining my voice as best I can. But it's a little tired. You said he once her jack benes. I think you were watching a monitor torture as they say I always play up to my order and for you that was Absolute clarity. Yes, crystallizing bolt of I mean that hit me in the head I was in love with shakespeare. At that point I thought: well that's how you need deploy shakespeare's to now.
for play down the audience now course. Most people perform shakespeare edmund. Even some of my british friends do who played out on its because they make an assumption about the audiences dumber than they are and they dont know what they're saying so they are flame and they have this year, and so they get a little bit teaching about it, lose the action that action of the mind. Thinking through those words in this and then no one was better than that in shakespeare. Let's hear your second disk cassie granite. What are we gonna get em? Why features in this this is Jimi hendrix, playing all alone watch jar, and now this is it bob dylan song disney indelible recording of an extraordinary song? I saw him play live about a month before he died and it was almost religious experience. I don't. don't try to about it, but. Sky. Just had that thing all it is being was connected. a guitar and that music check it out over thousands people in a single even.
His magic and this recording is one of the most urgent hendricks tessie grammar. Let's go than to when you were a little boy. What what matter to you? When you were a little boy on granddad. To spend time and it was the best thing in the world which went together.
The government of france, sometimes different target shooting may not by grew, grow up a kind of a traditional all american style childhood. We went to church We loved their family and gordon my gun, and I was caught and gordon, was the light of my life, your mother, and father had split up when you were quite you when I was young. I don't really know my dad. We got a normal, but after gordon died, but Yeah, my mom, my grandmother, my grandfather and my sister and I was my sort of family law. Origin and you were living wears a little livin in colonial new jersey was. little town, that we want a florida. When I was twelve tell me but your mother was a singer young, professional, my father and mother above musicians, em, my mother's State aid was Sally Sullivan. And my dad, I've been told you still play taps it. Arlington cemetery, when he was in the army, and his favorite instrument was the base trombone, but he could play the alone as a little kids did you watch among perform? Yes, I saw them.
Do several plays and- and she was good, my mama taught Appreciation for perform so I'm and I used to go to london bernstein concerts for children at lincoln centre. When I was, I think we started on six and first rubbish, others I was how a dolly the third carol training- and that was that was great, and so Gordon your grandfather died. When you read about twelve young, so did you then have to see to step up aerospace, scene of the men of the house. No longer even John I was gonna have to when we were driving down. Florida The only real hinted. Gordon, maybe knew he was dying. He said, I'm retiring an gordon goes too far in a boarding house and we were gonna. Do a lot of great things together. You know we're gonna go see. The new york yankees do spring training and we wanted to get up go fishing, and that was the promise of what, move too far. It was for me, as a young boy, was to be closer to him. of course, any was gone and we,
the florida he did, he was dead and weak. That was pretty disruptive but then it was. I was the only man in house at that time to bite the bullet job That's my music has examined we're on euro serves disco the morning. Just tell me a little. about. This choice, this one must be about my wife said when beethoven, what are you doing so well he's? Arguably the girl just because music greater that ever lived for this particular moment. The second movement of the seventh symphony by beethoven, connected with me, I saw this lucky movie called tsar does years ago, start sean, connery and charlotte rambling. I too think posada rambling. after having seen her in the night porter, who is this And it is a weird movie, but there wasn't there was one great thing in it defined what life was
and what a diamond was, and it was sort of the same idea- infinite refraction of infinite reflect. Was it the other way round, but either way works? I thought tat his fantastic, its internet, so The performance of this movement of the assembly It is the scoring of the whole film and it has a tension and build to it. That is just breathtaking and all of this in the context of having no other, for the rest of my life stuck on an island somewhere. I would not want to live without this one.
That was part of the second movements, have been hasn't simply number seven performed by the royal concerned about orchestra, amsterdam. The conductor there was organ. You can is very interesting to me. Kelsey grandma get in my job ultimate lots of a famous people.
but he accomplished people, but there is a difference, sometimes between people very to be in the moment you were listening to that and you were almost moved to tears by that you, Through life in that way, must be hard work. Yamba. My emotions are pretty available posted to have the guard yourself against that. If the protection that, after not listen to be left of ivory ridicule maiden of ngos, that again, looking just you know, I said so much emotion through my early years my childhood everything, especially after lord was gone. I guess I just part of my being able to become a whole human being was just express. My emotions, so that began when you could get up on state into it. You know
I've gotten better and better and as I've got an older zone, available to me, one second after the first blush? of realising that the other was tragedy in life and profound tragedian. After my sister died. I bribed icing shot off for a long time has been about three years promotion, just an angry mode, and I spent a lot of walk, walking a strange in new york city, and best to make a living? I was working as a waiter and trying to get a job as an actor but TAT there was an angry made. It was just percolating cookin I'd watch the park, the years when you really shouldn't want to the park, but It was either god or just good sense from people, just avoided me. Mr Karen died in horrific circumstances. She was murdered at you were very close to her What were you gonna happen? Then? I was twenty. Are you still working it's out or do you feel that on figures current because
You miss about them is. Them in your life. And as long as I'm alive, I will miss her and that's the way it is so you carry that have an I. Embraced it and probably not I've, I've learned, forgive And told the guy, still alive to killed her. I do forgive him, although I dont advocate for his freedom. I don't think that's reasonable, but are you you're just left with it. So I cherish her memory and then great love that we had and. I continue to carry the joy that I felt annoyed her with me and I
continue to carry the loss of it. I just don't let it disrupt me or destroy. Went when- and I know this because in the public domain, when the parole hearings come up, you try to attend, and you say these are the reasons that this person should not be a free man written enough that one of the letters to the proper I said: no, it doesn't it punishment, shouldn't be worse for the family than it is for the guide, an exit killed the person and that's what this feels like. Sometimes so we ve been. We don't have to push for a law that actually involves families in all the states in the united states. In view them and give them the right to speak, because sometimes they don't have that right and that horrible moment when suddenly your loved ones, killers stand in a restaurant you're there, and that is the kind of stuff happen, sometimes with our justice system- and I don't know- that's justice- let's have some unease at kelsey We're gonna hear your. This is your fourth tell me that
but this choice this joker her and it's it's as others originally written. I think in recorded by the box, tops, I think, in a commercial and at the end of shooting a commercial, the production team- and I all went to one of those. You know rock n roll hotels and ally, and after a few drinks, I decided. I play the piano little bits, we're sitting there and who walks in but Joe cocker and actually did play together for a while. He sang the saw he was later, I'm workin on his song. It was called kedo, managing the blues? Should abloom answering the whites any of it just so silly, but invisibility lit up that we kicked around four Well, that was one of the good joys of my life and this recording. I think, I'm the statute of limitations on this area. As we come on in my car. I'd be driving Twenty thirty miles an hour faster, and I was one before started-
First of all, there was to cooker- and the little seems rose incongruous, kelsey grammar- to come up with something that seems like mountain ask you to talk, but there are other spick and span sending pine quit school in fort loaded, but take me there for a moment that was the first place you performed was it ya was approved driscoll alarm what was, nick about it was an eighth grade, this man and richard mitten. He wanted
every class and said all boys new york sing for me, and we were thinking cases autonoe you'd gone home to his angry, so we all went sang most guys sang a blackboard ethic. That bird sing in the dead of night and He's. Okay, though euro euro lyric tenor, your base, europe, a above baritone said tomorrow, shot through court rummages amusing, started singing and was an extraordinarily positive thing for us to have this. Personal relationship with music? He was a phenomenal influence in my life, and it was few years after that and great when a new english teacher came and listen to us all singing and I sat down next to him as part of this meeting great the new teachers of the year? And he looked when he said. I want to talk to you
can you can you smoke a cigar as it while you are proud? I think I was asking my parents would let me, but I actually I was a pipe smokers that time beyond any known pretension in history. I was sixteen yes, my mother had bought me some pipes because I liked it then she didn't want me. This agreed smoke, or so I said, ok, so I acquired this artistic pipe habit. So as it happened. I could actually smoke a cigar and I was pretty good at it and we did this plan little foxes than hubbard. went very well, and that was actually the first play that made me think I could do this for living and the few of being on stage, was water that young chaps louis after all, fraying on edited. I guess that's what you look for and so you wanna scholarship to juilliard the faith AMOS school in new york after you, Second! You did you leave away. You kicked out our because I wasn't gonna acting class.
We can't because acting teaches that really like very much welcome, so I can go to class and then I suppose you don't go class. What's the point of the internet, I agree completely We got the music. I just need to fact check something with you. Is it true that, because you here was so long, you warwick disloyal downstream in that's I've been honesty in council and we had passed a rule. That said, there was no more here code while anew dean came in the following year and he said now haircuts back its. above the collar. That's it! So I said well, I'm buying awake. was a jane, fonda wig this only gets better. I cut back off but my heart upon it to put up my head, but the whig on Did you ever smoke the fight with the wigwam? No, never smuggler where safety is not just safety thing there. Let's go to your music. Let's hear your fists This is a song I just loved. It's a singular recording by the singular artist when Campbell, singing wichita alignment.
the town and drive. The main thing is that
Glenn Campbell, am wichita alignment. Kelsey grammar and I dont use- tell you this, but I should tell us your distant successfully for the globe theatre in san, diego in the mid seventies by nineteen, seventy six and you routes and ones. you're biography that that what you enjoyed about it was, you said you functioned as a full he'll, see human being. Was it the parameters of that of knowing where you had to be when to my our thanks, oh yeah, or my first job and make a lot of money but ya. Gotta I think I did fourteen plays in two years and They did set for some wrote music for another directed appeal I started several of them. My very first, a word was a golden global ward for arms, the man I played blanche linares and the man great dog and had a motorcycle and I lived in a garage, but I could open the door at night sleep and it was just it was.
perfect time in my life. That moment, when cheers made it onto our screens, I mean I can still remember it. It was a golden ensemble peace where every character seemed as taught and has been Fifthly executed as the next well. You know what it's funny odd sort of siena in honour of, like that. When I came into the show all my friends, that's a phone calls, my knowledge of it before that was pretty limited. But my knowledge of living and working in a bar wasn't the help me. I had some experience. It was funny- and I, like the guy the guy was plan, and course the birth of frazier and force about frazier being picked eyes as the person as the character as you. Yet That was going. To be the single united one. The idea, but tell me about that process about three years. Reform of cheers ended the folks not came to me and said, we want to develop a show for you. That was the. Tap on the shoulder united said something new
haven't for you and I was great, and so three years later we started to come, trucked. What would be the next job? It wasn't we'll be frazier. Originally the press. The paramount at the time John pike ray, the strategy sediment taken dinner. So I went there and are: The main question I said cast read the script. I think a sitcom should be funny I don't do something about and then he said I want you to play. Frazier. How was it was john packed. My next response was You just gotta change a ring about his life. I said it's its provision or new in a new world and he said okay that was the birth of the dog and so thirsty seven enemies and taught me astonishing figures. It was only just got past and I think it was a game thrones having picked up another anything
one one more than us in somebody accommodated thirsty, and mps eleven years. It ran for end the famous piano and says what happened to that because it was at the centre of the apartment. There was a friend of mine, I used to run steinway and when the show is being put together, Simone Pianosa, let us and about here when the show was over, they wanted it back, but they want asked to sign it, and then they would somewhere, so I just bought it up. Is that now it's too precious. I have it at home. Tell me, then, this next one? What are we gonna hear night elsie? Ah to a sort of my life with kate Todd rundown with somebody I was really respected. I think he's just a fantastic artist, but this one they spoke to me and when I met Kate They came back into my brain she's much younger than I am. the youngest. Person. I've ever gone out with in terms of a new age difference, but she is
wonderful that was told london and makes it and Lucy said. Consequently, you chosen that for your wife, Kate, even made what seven years now seven years, you have three young children. Is it true you had five did, marriage ceremony with capes? Yes, we're up bracken about
I'm playing another in that other guy needed any which, when it just became something fun? For us this is under visuals, but it's it's lovely and dumb I proposed in a garden of vegetable gardens naked. That was our first romantic blood. is there any bit of the naked proposal, individual garden, you can tell me about, or do we just have to it's all goods or clean, and what wonderful would just happened to be naked? It was as though we were in the garden of your right, beautiful that flagrantly pivots ass. You know I had planned to ask you just before we had an expert music if the crazy days are behind you- and I am- but I want to make it clear- I'm talking about the you know the drugs in the drink and that you look very hell slowly. At all it's funny, spend twenty five years did any that stuff, but midnight I still enjoy cocktail but I'd I had to end
relationship and find a new one which would signal I healthier one. That's all you just have to sometimes give him up. the great line, but I was one of these guys. Talking to said, I said The crucial gone by your view, event marooned for a year on a raft, even floaty, honorof, and your hanging onto a rock because you think it somehow important do. and the only way you can get to the ship that can rescue you is to throw away the rock just, throw away the rock of it you just gotta, get rid of observing that doesn't from anymore, so that was a good so you have seven children, it's difficult for four people. I know to answer this question, but what kind of a father do you think you are? What kind of a father do you want to be, I wanna be fair, I wanna hopefully have enough time to import the things. I think important, but your basic, just common decency, loving moreover, they are and not judging, prematurely judgment with our knowledge, is the greatest of all crimes
I've been carrying around for a long time. But I think that's actually true. And if you judge after you have knowledge than your conduct, jerk lesson What music kelsey tell me about this? This is u seventh dishonest for my. Children and for my man for my wife, when faith was born, we as for our track and as faith was taking her first breath. The next time that came on was this on bad companies shooting star
every one of our kids sensors base within born of a sense of John adored? The pangs of here they do is aware that was bad company and shooting stir once upon a time, kelsey grammar used to talk about inching politics. What recently in the possibility is that's my interview, a future presently ground gosh. I don't think so. You know this is just to master Well, I guess you know is rise above it I don't know I mean I just don't think it's really cut out for me
the more you say it's tuna is a very some would say interesting, some would say old time in politics, your republican, you voted for mr chump no presence How do you think is doing well I think he's doing what he said. He was to act which is he's a bit of a loud math and he does shake things up behind. promised a few things that I thought my mommy making get that dumb and you can't have done donald trump. Just one in a way in a world where nobody thought he would There's. Just anger is just the start with anger now, but it's very interesting because you are in a self declared republican, and you know in hollywood, it's a very argument about here. Five areas left leaning constituency. I do you feel the opprobrium personally when you're among your own people, I'm respected in the industry. I am. Probably reviled and some of the back channels- let's talk for a moment about you-
I read you said it is more important than ever It's a growing tide- and me here is sustained me when I was younger assistance. Through my grandfather's death I went through a relationship for years, with the same so god all around me at all times. I lost but my parents died, and then I thought that again and yet it is really apparent now I do think there is almost no problem that doesn't have you know, Solution in It- and that's been wonderful for me, no kelsey grammar that I'm leaving alone on this island? How will you be it surviving on run for airport and know how to build a fire, and I know how to build a sheltered. I was a boy scout officially the chasm gotta failure. You'll be ok. Tell me about you, you're, a piece of music. What are we gonna hear weren't here every song on this list answers Some part of me that I know I would want to deal with. Should I be stranded,
and then this one just give me a hoot, because you know: we are not so great about myself or whatever it is it's a tough day Paul. I really need to get more. black beard scatters, give me back my ball in nigeria in its energy and give me back my boots. Kelsey. I give all my castaways some books to take with them to the arguments against the bible. They get the complete works of sheep,
spear and also your loads. Take another book of your own alone are, would have chosen sovereign governments, Jordan, but Shakespeare Ivan. ok, fine, maggie wrestle that one out. My favorite novel is passed It's too india by m forster, just something about that book they caught. My imagination, I think, are ready when our sixteen them history of india. And now I was fantastic, but we shall give you that book you like to take you. can we rely to take little luxury or are we a big lecturing. What will you speak magnifying glass because I could read and I could start a fire. Ok, this year's and finally I would ask to save just one of these discs if they weren't strand, b washed away by the waves, which would be the one you would run to save interesting made, it. It's yours, cassie grammar! Thank you very much for letting us here desert island discs. My pleasure.
I hope you enjoy. This addition of desert island discs, you'll find more interviews with arsonists musician scientists, sports stars comedians aimed more at bbc dot, coda uk slash desert. I noticed this Is the bbc.
Transcript generated on 2022-06-12.