David Hyde Pierce (born April 3, 1959) is an American actor, director, and comedian.
Pierce is known for playing the psychiatrist Dr. Niles Crane on the NBC sitcom Frasier, for which he won four Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series during the show's run. Pierce also has appeared in and directed for the stage. He won the 2007 Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical for his performance in the musical Curtains.
Pierce was born David Pierce in Saratoga Springs, New York. His father, George Hyde Pierce was an aspiring actor, and his mother, Laura Marie (née Hughes), was an insurance agent. He added his middle name "Hyde" to avoid confusion with another actor named David Pierce.
As a child, Pierce frequently played organ at the local Bethesda Episcopal Church.
While attending Yale, Pierce performed in and directed student productions, appearing in the Yale Gilbert & Sullivan Society's production of H.M.S. Pinafore. He also directed the Gilbert & Sullivan Society's operetta Princess Ida.
Among other roles Pierce played at Yale were in Waiting for Godot, Saint Joan, and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?.
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 and made his Broadway debut in 1982 in Christopher Durang's Beyond Therapy.
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. Despite positive reviews from critics, the show was canceled after a brief run.
In part due to his close physical resemblance to Kelsey Grammer, the producers of the Cheers spin-off Frasier created the role of Niles Crane (Frasier Crane's younger brother) for him. 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. 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, and with Ewan McGregor in Down With Love. 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 2001, he starred in the cult 1980s summer camp comedy Wet Hot American Summer as the befuddled astrophysicist, Prof. Henry Newman. In his role in Sleepless in Seattle, Pierce played the brother of Meg Ryan's character, a professor at Johns Hopkins University. The movie was released just three months before the start of Frasier.
In 2005, Pierce joined Tim Curry and others in the stage production of Spamalot. 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 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. 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."
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. 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. Also in 2010, Pierce had his first starring film role as Warwick Wilson in the dark comedy/psychological thriller The Perfect Host.
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.
Pierce appears 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 closes on November 27.
Pierce is known for his distinctive voice and, like his Frasier co-star, Kelsey Grammer, is often called upon to provide voice work. His notable roles include the narrator of the movie The Mating Habits of the Earthbound Human in 1999, walking stick insect Slim in A Bug's Life, Doctor Delbert Doppler in Disney's film Treasure Planet, and the amphibian Abe Sapien in Hellboy. Pierce refused credit 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. He was the voice for Drix, a cold pill, in the animated comedy Osmosis Jones.
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 (who starred as Frasier and Niles's father in the show) voices Dr. Robert Terwilliger, Sr., the father of Cecil and Sideshow Bob.
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.
Pierce narrated an audio tour guide Napa Uncorked in 2002.
After years of media speculation about his sexuality, Pierce came out in 2007 and later confirmed through his publicist that he and television writer, director and producer Brian Hargrove were a couple. 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." They married in California on October 24, 2008, just days before Proposition 8 was adopted as law, banning same-sex marriages in the state. 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.
He and Frasier co-star John Mahoney are godparents to Frasier co-star Jane Leeves' son, Finn. 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."
|1988||The Appointments of Dennis Jennings||Businessman||Short film|
|1988||Bright Lights, Big City||Bartender at Fashion Show|
|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|
|1995||Nixon||John Dean||Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture |
|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||Laud Weiner||Laud Weiner||Short film|
|2002||Treasure Planet||Doctor Doppler||Voice|
|2003||Down with Love||Peter MacMannus|
|2004||Hellboy||Abe Sapien||Voice |
|2008||Forever Plaid: The Movie||Narrator||Voice|
|2010||The Perfect Host||Warwick Wilson|
|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||20 episodes|
|1993–2004||Frasier||Dr. Niles Crane||264 episodes |
American Comedy Award for Funniest Supporting Male in a Television Series (1995–2000)
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (1995, 1998–1999, 2004)
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
Television Critics Association Award for Individual Achievement in Comedy (1997–98)
Viewers for Quality Television Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Quality Comedy Series (1994–1998, 2000)
Nominated—American Comedy Award for Funniest Supporting Male in a Television Series
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film (1995–1998, 2001)
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (1994, 1996–97, 2000–2003)
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film (2003–2004)
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series (1995, 1997–2002)
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series (1995–1999, 2001–2004)
Nominated—Viewers for Quality Television Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Quality Comedy Series
|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" |
CableACE Award for Best Guest Actor in a Drama Series
|1996||Mighty Ducks||Baron von Lichtenstamp||Voice |
|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 |
|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 |
|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|
|1990||The Heidi Chronicles||Peter Patrone|
|2001||Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks||Michael Minetti|
|2005–2006||Spamalot||Sir Robin and others||Nominated—Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical|
|2005||A Wonderful Life||Clarence|
|2007–2008||Curtains||Lieutenant Frank Cioffi||Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical |
Nominated—Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical
|2009||Accent on Youth||Steven Gaye|
|2013||Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike||Vanya||Nominated—Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play|
|2015||It Shoulda Been You||Director|
|2016||A Life||Nate Martin|