David Hyde Pierce
Pierce in New York City in 2010
Born
David Pierce

(1959-04-03) April 3, 1959 (age 65)
Alma materYale University (BA)
OccupationActor
Years active1982–present
Spouse
(m. 2008)

David Hyde Pierce (born David Pierce; April 3, 1959)[1] is an American actor. For his portrayal of psychiatrist Dr. Niles Crane on the NBC sitcom Frasier from 1993 to 2004, he received four Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series as well as two Screen Actors Guild Awards. Pierce has also received five Golden Globe Awards nominations for Best Supporting Actor for the role. He won the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his role of Lt. Frank Cioffi in the Broadway musical Curtains (2007).

Pierce acted in such films as Crossing Delancey (1988), The Fisher King (1991), Sleepless in Seattle (1993), Wolf (1994), Nixon (1995), Down with Love (2003), and The Perfect Host (2010). He voiced roles in Disney Pixar's A Bug's Life (1998), Osmosis Jones (2001), and Treasure Planet (2002). He portrayed Henry Newman in the comedy film Wet Hot American Summer and reprised his role in two series from Netflix in 2014 and in 2017. From 1992 to 1993, Pierce starred in the NBC sitcom The Powers That Be. He has since acted in the CBS legal drama The Good Wife (2014–2015), the ABC docu-drama When We Rise (2017), and the HBO Max series Julia (2022–present).

Besides his performance in Curtains, Pierce also had Broadway roles as Sir Robin in Monty Python's Spamalot (2005), Vanya in the comedic play Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (2013) and Horace Vandergelder in the revival of Hello, Dolly! (2017). For the latter two, Pierce was nominated for a Tony Award. He made his Broadway directorial debut with the musical It Shoulda Been You (2015).

Early life and education

Pierce was born in Saratoga Springs, New York. His father, George Pierce,[2] was an aspiring actor, and his mother, Laura Marie Pierce (née Hughes),[2] was an insurance agent.[1] He is the youngest of four children: he has two older sisters, Barbara and Nancy and one older brother, Thomas.[3][4] He adopted the middle name Hyde in 1993 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

1980–1992: Rise to prominence

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 an 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]

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. This did free Pierce up for his breakthrough role in Frasier, and the producers of that show did in part hire Pierce based on his performance in The Powers That Be.[13]

1993–2004: Breakthrough with Frasier

Pierce at the 1994 Emmy Awards

In part owing to his close facial resemblance to Kelsey Grammer,[14] 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.[14] 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 received praise for his skilled physical comedy and rapid fire comedy reactions. David Bianculli of New York Daily News declared, "Not since Jack Benny has TV seen such a great reactive comedian as Pierce, and whenever he and [Kelsey] Grammer share the same stage, Frasier is undiluted magic.[15]

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.

Pierce has played a number of roles as a voice actor. These 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.[16] 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. Pierce narrated an audio tour guide, Napa Uncorked, in 2002.[17] 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.[18]

2005–2016: Return to Broadway

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 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."[19]

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. Pierce was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album for Children in 2010 for his narration of The Phantom Tollbooth.

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.[20] 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.[21] 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 Kauffman, and closed on November 27.[22]

2017–present

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

In 2017, he returned to television in the limited docudrama series about LGBT 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.[23] Pierce received a 2017 Drama League award nomination for Hello, Dolly! and A Life.[24]

In 2020, Pierce replaced Tom Hollander as Paul Cushing Child in the biographical series Julia which premiered on HBO Max in March 2022. The cast includes Sarah Lancashire, Bebe Neuwirth, and Isabella Rossellini.[25] In October 2021 he starred as Walter in the musical The Visitor at The Public Theatre. The project is based off the 2007 film of the same name written by Tom McCarthy. In late 2022, it was revealed that Pierce had declined to return as Niles Crane in the 2023 revival of Frasier, saying he didn't think there was much left for Niles to do.[26]

Pierce starred in the final musical from Stephen Sondheim entitled Here We Are (2023) which was performed at The Shed in New York City. Pierce acted alongside Bobby Cannavale, Amber Gray, Rachel Bay Jones, Denis O'Hare, and Steven Pasquale.[27] The production involves a book by David Ives and was directed by Joe Mantello. It is based on the Luis Buñuel films The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972) and The Exterminating Angel (1962).

In 2024, it was announced that Pierce would star as Major General W.S. Gilbert in the Roundabout Theatre Company's revival of Gilbert and Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance starting in April 2025. Pierce will star opposite Ramin Karimloo as the Pirate King. The revival will be reportedly a reimagining set in New Orleans, "sizzling with Caribbean rhythms and French Quarter flair."[28]

Personal life

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.[29][30] 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."[31] They married in California on October 24, 2008, just days before Proposition 8 was adopted as law banning same-sex marriages in the state.[32] 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.[33]

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."[34]

Filmography

Film

Key
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 MacAllister
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
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
2009 Stingray Sam Narrator
2010 The Perfect Host Warwick Wilson
TBA The Georgetown Project Father Conor Post-production

Television

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: Fairly Tales for Every Child 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
2022–2023 Julia Paul Child / Charles Child Main role

Theatre

Year Title Role Venue Ref.
1982 Beyond Therapy Andrew Brooks Atkinson Theatre, Broadway
1986 Hamlet Laertes Newman Theatre, The Public Theatre
1988 Much Ado About Nothing Don John Delacorte Theatre, The Public Theatre
1990 The Heidi Chronicles Peter Patrone Plymouth Theatre, Broadway
2001 Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks Michael Minetti Geffen Playhouse, Los Angeles [35]
2004–2005 Spamalot Sir Robin and others Shubert Theatre, Chicago
2005–2006 Shubert Theatre, Broadway
2005 A Wonderful Life Clarence Shubert Theatre; Concert
2006 Curtains Lieutenant Frank Cioffi Ahmanson Theatre, Los Angeles
2007–2008 Al Hirschfeld Theatre, Broadway
2009 Accent on Youth Steven Gaye Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, Broadway
2010 La Bête Elomire Comedy Theatre, London
2010–2011 Music Box Theatre, Broadway
2013 Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike Vanya John Golden Theatre, Broadway
2015 It Shoulda Been You Director
2015 Ripcord Director
2016 A Life Nate Martin Peter Jay Sharp Theatre, Off-Broadway
2017–2018 Hello, Dolly! Horace Vandergelder Shubert Theatre, Broadway
2021 The Visitor Walter Newman Theatre, The Public Theatre
2022 The Pirates of Penzance Major General Stanley American Airlines Theatre; Stage reading
2023–2024 Here We Are Bishop The Shed, Off-Broadway
2023 Gutenberg! The Musical! The Producer (one night only) James Earl Jones Theatre, Broadway
2025 The Pirates of Penzance Major General Stanley Todd Haimes Theatre, Broadway[36]

Awards and nominations

Main article: List of awards and nominations received by David Hyde Pierce

Year Award Category Work Result Ref.
2007 Tony Award Best Actor in a Musical Curtains Won [37]
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 [38]
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 [39]
1995 Nominated
1996 Nominated
1997 Nominated
2000 Nominated
1994 Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Ensemble in a Comedy Series Frasier Nominated [40]
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

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  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. ^ Green, Jesse (March 6, 2005). "And Now for Something Completely Different..." The New York Times. Retrieved September 11, 2023.
  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" Archived April 13, 2015, at the Wayback Machine 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. ^ "David Hyde Pierce Almost Missed His Julia Moment". June 26, 2022.
  14. ^ a b Newman, Bruce (March 1, 1998). "All In Their Family". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 20, 2009.
  15. ^ "Its classic Fraser v. basic Home". Daily News. September 20, 1994. p. 368. Retrieved August 25, 2023.
  16. ^ Jones, Doug (May 11, 2007). "Doug Jones – Exclusive Interview". Horror.com (transcript). Interviewed by Staci Layne. Archived from the original on May 12, 2007. Retrieved June 11, 2008.
  17. ^ DeBord, Matthew (December 7, 2002). "Frasier's David Hyde Pierce Leads CD Tour of Napa Wine Country". WineSpectator.com. Retrieved October 9, 2017.
  18. ^ "IKEA Pax: Our Pre-Wedding Photographer Lives in Advertising". June 8, 2011. Archived from the original on December 12, 2021. Retrieved October 28, 2011 – via YouTube.
  19. ^ "David Hyde Pierce Acceptance Speech Tony Award". 2007. Archived from the original on March 9, 2009. Retrieved June 3, 2010 – via YouTube.
  20. ^ "Rylance, Lumley and Hyde Pierce bring La Bête to West End". London, UK. 2010. Retrieved July 27, 2010.
  21. ^ Stasio, Marilyn. "Off Broadway Review: 'Ripcord' by David Lindsay-Abaire", Variety, October 20, 2015
  22. ^ " 'A Life', Starring David Hyde Pierce, Extends Before Off-Broadway Opening", broadwayworld.com, September 27, 2016
  23. ^ McPhee, Ryan; Clement, Olivia. "Read the Reviews for Bette Midler in 'Hello, Dolly!'" Playbill, April 20, 2017
  24. ^ McPhee, Ryan. "Ben Platt, Sutton Foster, and Josh Groban Among 2017 Drama League Award Nominees" Playbill, April 19, 2017
  25. ^ "David Hyde Pierce Replaces Tom Hollander In HBO Max's Julia Child Drama Pilot". Deadline Hollywood. September 15, 2020. Retrieved February 6, 2021.
  26. ^ "David Hyde Pierce Isn't Returning for 'Frasier' Reboot". November 25, 2022.
  27. ^ "Stephen Sondheim's Here We Are to Star David Hyde Pierce, Rachel Bay Jones, Bobby Cannavale, Steven Pasquale, and More". TheatreMania. Retrieved August 22, 2023.
  28. ^ "Ramin Karimloo to star in jazz-infused Pirates of Penzance on Broadway". WhatsonStage.com. Retrieved January 9, 2023.
  29. ^ "'Frasier' brother finds home on stage". CNN. Associated Press. May 30, 2007. Archived from the original on June 29, 2007. Retrieved June 11, 2008.
  30. ^ "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.
  31. ^ "Rants & Raves". The Advocate. July 17, 2007. pp. 26, issue 989.
  32. ^ "Frasier Star Reveals He Wed Boyfriend". US Magazine. May 29, 2009. Retrieved August 3, 2015.
  33. ^ "David Hyde Pierce reveals he's been secretly married to partner of 25 years". Daily News. New York. May 29, 2009. Archived from the original on June 1, 2009. Retrieved May 30, 2009.
  34. ^ "David Hyde Pierce: Don't forget Alzheimer's". NBC News. October 19, 2011. Retrieved June 10, 2014.
  35. ^ Oxman, Steven (June 10, 2001). "Review: 'Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks'". Variety. Retrieved September 29, 2016.
  36. ^ "Sanaz Toossi's English, David Henry Hwang's Yellow Face, New Orleans-Themed Pirates of Penzance Join Roundabout Season | Playbill".
  37. ^ "David Hyde Pierce". Playbill.com. Retrieved May 19, 2020.
  38. ^ "David Hyde Pierce - Emmy Awards, Nominations, and Wins". emmys.com. Retrieved May 19, 2020.
  39. ^ "David Hyde-Pierce". Golden Globes. Retrieved May 19, 2020.
  40. ^ "David Hyde Pierce". sagawards.org. Retrieved May 19, 2020.