David Hyde Pierce

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David Hyde Pierce
David Hyde Pierce VF Shankbone 2010.jpg
Pierce in New York City in 2010
Born
David Pierce

(1959-04-03) April 3, 1959 (age 63)
Alma materYale University (BA)
Occupation
  • Actor
  • comedian
  • theatre director
Years active1982–present
Spouse(s)
(m. 2008)

David Hyde Pierce (born April 3, 1959)[1] is an American actor and director of stage, film and television. Pierce is best known for starring as psychiatrist Dr. Niles Crane on the NBC sitcom Frasier from 1993 to 2004, receiving four Primetime Emmy Awards and a Screen Actors Guild Award for the role. Pierce also received the 2007 Tony Award for playing Lieutenant Frank Cioffi in the musical Curtains. Pierce is also widely known for playing Frank Prady in eight episodes of the television legal drama The Good Wife, and Henry Newman in the hit comedy film Wet Hot American Summer and its subsequent television spin-offs.

Pierce has played supporting roles in many films, including Terry Gilliam's The Fisher King (1991), Nora Ephron's Sleepless in Seattle (1993), Mike Nichols' Wolf (1994), and Oliver Stone's Nixon (1995). He has also starred in the cult comedy Down with Love (2003), and the dark comedy film The Perfect Host (2010). His voice roles include Disney Pixar's A Bug's Life (1998), Osmosis Jones (2001), and Treasure Planet (2002).

Besides his performance in Curtains, Pierce also had Broadway roles as Sir Robin in Monty Python's Spamalot, Vanya in Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike and Horace Vandergelder in the 2017 revival of Hello, Dolly!; the latter two of which Pierce was nominated for a Tony Award. In 2015, he directed the Broadway musical It Shoulda Been You.

Early life[edit]

Pierce was born in Saratoga Springs, New York. His father, George Hyde Pierce,[2] was an aspiring actor, and his mother, Laura Marie Pierce (née Hughes),[2] was an insurance agent.[1] He is the youngest child of four children and has three older siblings: two older sisters, Barbara and Nancy and one older brother, Thomas.[3][4] He adopted the middle name Hyde to avoid confusion with another actor named David Pierce.[5] As a child, Pierce frequently played organ at the local Bethesda Episcopal Church.[6] As a child, Pierce attended the all boys' sleepaway summer camp Kabeyun, where he first began acting in their camp productions of Gilbert & Sullivan and directed their production of H.M.S. Pinafore.[7]

After graduating from Saratoga Springs High School in 1977,[8] Pierce attended Yale University. He originally majored in music with an emphasis in piano performance, but later changed to a double major in English literature and theater studies.[9] While attending Yale, Pierce performed in and directed student productions, appearing in the Yale Gilbert & Sullivan Society's production of H.M.S. Pinafore. Pierce also directed the Gilbert & Sullivan Society's operetta Princess Ida.[10] Pierce graduated from Yale in 1981 with a Bachelor of Arts degree.

Career[edit]

1980s[edit]

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, with Kevin Kline in the title role, and made his Broadway debut in 1982 in Christopher Durang's Beyond Therapy.[11]

1990s–2000s[edit]

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

In part owing to his close facial resemblance to Kelsey Grammer,[13] the producers of the Cheers spin-off Frasier created the role of Niles Crane (Frasier Crane's younger brother) for him.[12] 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.[13] 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.

Pierce also appeared alongside Jodie Foster in Little Man Tate, with Anthony Hopkins in Oliver Stone's Nixon (1995), and with Ewan McGregor in Down With Love (2003).[12] 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 his role in Sleepless in Seattle (1993), Pierce played the brother of Meg Ryan's character, a professor at Johns Hopkins University. The movie was released three months before the start of Frasier.[12] In 2001, he starred in the cult 1981-set summer camp comedy Wet Hot American Summer, as the befuddled astrophysicist, Prof. Henry Newman.

In 2005, Pierce joined Tim Curry and others in the stage production of Spamalot.[12] 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[12] 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.[12] 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."[14]

On November 19, 2007, Pierce was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts Degree from Niagara University in Lewiston, New York. In 1999 he was awarded an Honorary Degree from Skidmore College, located in his native Saratoga Springs.

2010s[edit]

Hyde Pierce with Bette Midler at Hello, Dolly! on Broadway in 2017

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.[15] Also in 2010, Pierce had his first starring film role as Warwick Wilson in the dark comedy/psychological thriller The Perfect Host.

From 2014 to 2015 Pierce appeared in The Good Wife as Frank Prady on CBS. He also starred as Assoc. Prof. Henry Neumann in Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp (2015) on Netflix. Pierce directed the Broadway production of the musical It Shoulda Been You. In 2015 he directed the Manhattan Theater Club production of David Lindsay-Abaire's play Ripcord Off-Broadway at City Center.[16]

Pierce appeared in the Off-Broadway limited engagement of A Life by Adam Bock. The play premiered at the Peter Jay Sharp Theater on October 24, 2016, directed by Anne Kaufman, and closed on November 27.[17] In 2017 he returned to television in the limited docudrama series about LBGT rights, When We Rise as Dr. Jones. He also appeared as himself with Julie Andrews in Julie's Greenroom on Netflix.

Pierce co-starred with Bette Midler in the Broadway revival of Hello, Dolly!. The musical opened on April 20, 2017, at the Shubert Theatre. The show was a critical and box office hit. Pierce himself received a Tony Award nomination for Best Actor in a Musical for his performance.[18] Pierce received a 2017 Drama League award nomination for Hello, Dolly! and A Life.[19]

2020s[edit]

In 2020, Pierce replaced Tom Hollander as Paul Cushing Child in the limited series Julia set to debut on HBO Max. The cast includes Sarah Lancashire, Bebe Neuwirth, and Isabella Rossellini.[20]

Voice acting[edit]

Pierce is known for his distinctive voice and, like his Frasier co-star, Kelsey Grammer, is often called upon to provide voice work. His roles include the narrator of the movie The Mating Habits of the Earthbound Human in 1999, the walking stick insect "Slim" in A Bug's Life, Dr. Delbert Doppler in Disney's film Treasure Planet, and amphibian Abe Sapien in Hellboy.[12] Pierce declined to be credited 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.[21] He was the voice for "Drix", a cold pill, in the animated comedy Osmosis Jones.[citation needed]

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 voices Dr. Robert Terwilliger, Sr., the father of Cecil and Sideshow Bob.[citation needed]

Pierce 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.[22]

Pierce narrated an audio tour guide, Napa Uncorked, in 2002.[23]

Personal life[edit]

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

After years of media speculation about his sexuality, Pierce revealed in 2007 that he is gay and later confirmed through his publicist that he and television writer, director and producer Brian Hargrove were a couple.[24][25] 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."[26] They married in California on October 24, 2008, just days before Proposition 8 was adopted as law, banning same-sex marriages in the state.[27] On May 28, 2009, while a guest on The View, he publicly announced his marriage to Hargrove and expressed his anger about the approval of Proposition 8.[28]

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 publicly campaigned for the National Alzheimer's Project Act. Pierce 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."[29]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Key
Not yet released Denotes works that have not yet been released
Year Title Role Notes
1988 The Appointments of Dennis Jennings Businessman Short film
1988 Bright Lights, Big City Bartender at Fashion Show
1988 Crossing Delancey Mark
1988 Rocket Gibraltar Monsieur Henri
1989 Vampire's Kiss Theater Guy
1990 Across Five Aprils Union Soldier
1991 Little Man Tate Garth Emmerick
1991 The Fisher King Lou Rosen
1993 Sleepless in Seattle Dennis Reed
1993 Addams Family Values Delivery Room Doctor
1994 Wolf Roy
1995 Ripple Peter Short film
1995 Nixon John Dean
1998 A Bug's Life Slim Voice
1999 The Mating Habits of the Earthbound Human Narrator Voice
2000 Isn't She Great Michael Hastings
2000 Chain of Fools Mr. Kerner
2000 The Tangerine Bear Bird Voice
2001 Wet Hot American Summer Henry Newman
2001 Happy Birthday Barney Short film
2001 Osmosis Jones Drix Voice
2001 Laud Weiner Laud Weiner Short film
2002 Full Frontal Carl
2002 Treasure Planet Doctor Doppler Voice
2003 Down with Love Peter MacMannus
2004 Hellboy Abe Sapien Voice (uncredited)
2008 Forever Plaid: The Movie Narrator Voice
2009 Stingray Sam Narrator Voice
2010 The Perfect Host Warwick Wilson
TBA The Georgetown Project Not yet released Father Conor Post-production

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1987 Spenser: For Hire O'Neill Episode: "The Man Who Wasn't There"
1987 Crime Story NSA Agent Carruthers Episode: "Mig 21"
1988 Knightwatch Gibson Episode: "Friday Knight"
1992 Dream On Jerry Dorfer Episode: "The Guilty Party"
1992–1993 The Powers That Be Theodore Van Horne 21 episodes
1993–2004 Frasier Dr. Niles Crane 264 episodes
1995 Saturday Night Live Himself (host) Episode: "David Hyde Pierce/Live"
1995 Caroline in the City Dr. Niles Crane Episode: "Caroline and the Bad Back"
1996 The Outer Limits Dr. Jack Henson Episode: "The Sentence"
1996 Mighty Ducks Baron von Lichtenstamp Voice; 3 episodes
1996 Caroline in the City Jimmy Callahan Episode: "Caroline and the Cat Dancer"
1997 Happily Every After Puss Voice; Episode: "Puss in Boots"
1997, 2007 The Simpsons Cecil Terwilliger Voice; 2 episodes
1999 Jackie's Back Perry Television film
2001 Titus Jerry October Episode: "Life Forward"
2001 On the Edge Barney Television film
2003 Gary the Rat Addison Voice; Episode: "Strange Bedfellows"
2006 The Amazing Screw-On Head Emperor Zombie Voice; Television film
2010 Sondheim! The Birthday Concert Himself (host) Television special
2012 Sesame Street Commander Chiphead Episode: "Get Lost, Mr. Chips"
2014 The Simpsons Felix Voice; Episode: "Clown in the Dumps"
2014–2015 The Good Wife Frank Prady 8 episodes
2015 Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp Henry Newman 2 episodes
2017 Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later Henry Newman Episode: "End Summer Night's Dream"
2017 When We Rise Dr. Jones 3 episodes
2017 Julie's Greenroom Himself 2 episodes
2022 Julia Paul Cushing Child Main role

Theatre[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1982 Beyond Therapy Andrew
1990 The Heidi Chronicles Peter Patrone
2001 Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks[30] Michael Minetti
2005–2006 Spamalot Sir Robin and others
2005 A Wonderful Life Clarence
2007–2008 Curtains Lieutenant Frank Cioffi
2009 Accent on Youth Steven Gaye
2010–2011 La Bête Elomire
2013 Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike Vanya
2015 It Shoulda Been You Director
2015 Ripcord Director
2016 A Life Nate Martin
2017–2018 Hello, Dolly! Horace Vandergelder
2021 The Visitor Walter

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Work Result Ref.
2007 Tony Award Best Actor in a Musical Curtains Won [31]
2010 Isabelle Stevenson Award Won
2013 Best Actor in a Play Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike Nominated
2017 Best Actor in a Musical Hello, Dolly! Nominated
1994 Primetime Emmy Award Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series Frasier Nominated [32]
1995 Won
1996 Nominated
1997 Nominated
1998 Won
1999 Won
2000 Nominated
2001 Nominated
2002 Nominated
2003 Nominated
2004 Won
1994 Golden Globe Award Best Supporting Actor – Television Series Frasier Nominated [33]
1995 Nominated
1996 Nominated
1997 Nominated
2000 Nominated
1994 Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Ensemble in a Comedy Series Frasier Nominated [34]
Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series Nominated
1995 Outstanding Cast in a Motion Picture Nixon Nominated
Outstanding Ensemble in a Comedy Series Frasier Nominated
Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series Won
1996 Outstanding Ensemble in a Comedy Series Nominated
Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series Nominated
1997 Outstanding Ensemble in a Comedy Series Nominated
Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series Nominated
1998 Outstanding Ensemble in a Comedy Series Nominated
Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series Nominated
1999 Outstanding Ensemble in a Comedy Series Won
Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series Nominated
2000 Outstanding Ensemble in a Comedy Series Nominated
Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series Nominated
2001 Outstanding Ensemble in a Comedy Series Nominated
Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series Nominated
2002 Outstanding Ensemble in a Comedy Series Nominated
2003 Nominated

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "David Hyde Pierce profile". Rootsweb. 2008. Retrieved June 11, 2008.
  2. ^ a b "David Hyde Pierce". IMDb.
  3. ^ "David Hyde Pierce revisits childhood". troyrecord. October 12, 2009. Retrieved February 13, 2022.
  4. ^ "David Hyde Pierce | TVSA". www.tvsa.co.za. Retrieved February 13, 2022.
  5. ^ "Hyde in a sort of Jekyll role". New York Post. June 29, 2011. Retrieved August 3, 2015. 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'
  6. ^ Barbara S. Wilson, Arlene Flancher, and Susan T. Erdey, The Episcopal Handbook (Moorhouse [Church] Publishing 2008), pp. 106-07; ISBN 978-0-8192-2329-6
  7. ^ Evans, Suzy (March 23, 2015). "How 'It Shoulda Been You' Got David Hyde Pierce Into Directing". AMERICAN THEATRE. Retrieved January 17, 2022.
  8. ^ Levith, Will (June 1, 2018). "Exclusive: Q&A With Emmy Award-Winning Actor And Saratoga Native, David Hyde Pierce".
  9. ^ Engel, Allison (February 13, 2014). "His Career Began with a Fall Down the Stairs". USC News.
  10. ^ Rizzo, Frank. "David Hyde Pierce Directs Comedy At Williamstown" courant.com, July 8, 2012
  11. ^ The Broadway League. "Profile at IBDb". Ibdb.com. Retrieved October 28, 2011.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h "Showperson; the DHP Website". Archived from the original on June 2, 2008. Retrieved June 19, 2008.
  13. ^ a b Newman, Bruce (March 1, 1998). "All In Their Family". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 20, 2009.
  14. ^ "David Hyde Pierce Acceptance Speech Tony Award". YouTube. 2007. Archived from the original on March 9, 2009. Retrieved June 3, 2010.
  15. ^ "Rylance, Lumley and Hyde Pierce bring La Bête to West End". London, UK. 2010. Retrieved July 27, 2010.
  16. ^ Stasio, Marilyn. "Off Broadway Review: ‘Ripcord’ by David Lindsay-Abaire", Variety, October 20, 2015
  17. ^ " 'A Life', Starring David Hyde Pierce, Extends Before Off-Broadway Opening", broadwayworld.com, September 27, 2016
  18. ^ McPhee, Ryan; Clement, Olivia. "Read the Reviews for Bette Midler in 'Hello, Dolly!'" Playbill, April 20, 2017
  19. ^ McPhee, Ryan. "Ben Platt, Sutton Foster, and Josh Groban Among 2017 Drama League Award Nominees" Playbill, April 19, 2017
  20. ^ "David Hyde Pierce Replaces Tom Hollander In HBO Max's Julia Child Drama Pilot". Deadline Hollywood. September 15, 2020. Retrieved February 6, 2021.
  21. ^ Jones, Doug (May 11, 2007). "Doug Jones – Exclusive Interview". Horror.com (transcript). Interviewed by Staci Layne. Retrieved June 11, 2008.
  22. ^ "IKEA Pax: Our Pre-Wedding Photographer Lives in Advertising". Youtube.com. June 8, 2011. Archived from the original on December 12, 2021. Retrieved October 28, 2011.
  23. ^ DeBord, Matthew (December 7, 2002). "Frasier's David Hyde Pierce Leads CD Tour of Napa Wine Country". WineSpectator.com. Retrieved October 9, 2017.
  24. ^ "'Frasier' brother finds home on stage". CNN. Associated Press. May 30, 2007. Archived from the original on June 29, 2007. Retrieved June 11, 2008.
  25. ^ "David Hyde Pierce joins list of out gay actors". AfterElton. May 30, 2007. Archived from the original on May 17, 2008. Retrieved June 11, 2008.
  26. ^ "Rants & Raves". The Advocate. July 17, 2007. pp. 26, issue 989.
  27. ^ "Frasier Star Reveals He Wed Boyfriend". US Magazine. May 29, 2009. Retrieved August 3, 2015.
  28. ^ "David Hyde Pierce reveals he's been secretly married to partner of 25 years". New York Daily News. May 29, 2009. Archived from the original on June 1, 2009. Retrieved May 30, 2009.
  29. ^ "David Hyde Pierce: Don't forget Alzheimer's". NBC News. October 19, 2011. Retrieved June 10, 2014.
  30. ^ Oxman, Steven (June 10, 2001). "Review: 'Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks'". Variety. Retrieved September 29, 2016.
  31. ^ "David Hyde Pierce". Playbill.com. Retrieved May 19, 2020.
  32. ^ "David Hyde Pierce - Emmy Awards, Nominations, and Wins". emmys.com. Retrieved May 19, 2020.
  33. ^ "David Hyde-Pierce". goldenglobes.com. Retrieved May 19, 2020.
  34. ^ "David Hyde Pierce". sagawards.org. Retrieved May 19, 2020.

External links[edit]