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Frasier Star Kelsey Grammer Has Had The Most Interesting (And Kind Of Tragic) Rise To Fame

Updated June 14, 2019 53.2k views12 items

To most of us, Kelsey Grammer will always be Frasier Crane, the fussbudget psychiatrist juggling the pressures of his job with his often-in-shambles personal life. But Frasier isn't the only one who has had to manage a very public career while dealing with personal tragedies; Grammer himself knows this challenge all too well. The astonishing string of tragedies that have followed Grammer, from his rise to fame and beyond, is almost beyond comprehensible. How one person can withstand so much misfortune while simultaneously achieving and maintaining Grammer's level of talent and fame is something truly remarkable.

Allen Kelsey Grammer was born in the U.S. Virgin Islands in 1955. His tumultuous childhood gave way to an equally turbulent adulthood. Yet throughout it all, he carefully cultivated both his abilities and career, going from stage work to television and film. But it is television that has long been Grammer's forte. In addition to Cheers and Frasier, he has starred in the series Back to You, Boss, and The Last Tycoon. Over the course of his career, Grammer has won five Emmys, three Golden Globes, and a Tony.

But in his past and throughout his high-profile career, Grammer has had to weather the storms of some major and life-changing personal setbacks. Below, learn more about these experiences and how they shaped the beloved star.

  • He Served Time In Jail

    When his addiction was at its height, Grammer's struggle with substances impeded both his work and personal lives. There were interventions conducted by his colleagues on the sets of both Cheers and Frasier. In 1988, he was arrested for drunk driving and possession of cocaine, for which he was given a 30-day jail sentence. In 1990, he was again arrested for possession of cocaine, and in 1991, his probation was extended when it was discovered he was still using the drug. Rehab eventually put him on the path to sobriety.

  • He Was Raised By His Grandparents

    At just a year old, Grammer's parents, both musicians, separated. He was then sent from the Virgin Islands to New Jersey, where he was mostly raised by his grandparents. His grandmother was abusive, and Grammer rarely saw his father. By the time Frank Grammer was killed in 1968, Kelsey had seen him only twice since his parents separated. Having such tenuous bonds to his family members while coming of age in an abusive home caused Grammer to retreat into books and make-believe. His first encounter with Julius Caesar, which he read as an adolescent, provided escape and dreams of a stage career.

  • He Was Kicked Out Of Juilliard And Was Temporarily Homeless

    In 1973, Grammer was accepted into the most prestigious acting school in the country, Juilliard. But after two years of a four-year program, he was kicked out. As he told Larry King:

    "Oh, thrown out. Not bodily, but I was disinvited... Poor attendance, really... I was fortunate to get in, and I value the experience, but after the first year, where you spend most of the time sort of sitting on the floor and learning how to breath, and vibrate, they start trying to teach you how to act. And I didn't like my acting teacher that much. He seemed a lot more interested in the girls and, you know, I don't know what was going on, so I quit, yes. Quit, and, you know, they said, 'You've got to go.'"

    With no school and no money, Grammer ended up sleeping in Central Park for a period of time.

  • He's Had Three Failed Marriages

    If there's one thing we can learn from celebrity culture, it's that fame doesn't make personal relationships any easier. When you add in the multitude of traumas Grammer has endured throughout his life, relationships become even more complicated and difficult to navigate. As a result, Grammer has had three failed marriages: his first wife was dance teacher Doreen Alderman; his second wife was ex-stripper Leigh-Anne Csuhany; and his third was Camille Donatacci, who has since become famous as a Real Housewife. As of 2017, Grammer is married to flight attendant Kayte Walsh. Grammer has seven children and one grandchild.