John Lithgow turned down the part of Frasier Crane in ‘Cheers’ when he was going through a “snobbish” phase.
The ‘3rd Rock From The Sun’ star has confirmed producers of the hit sitcom offered him the part ahead of Kelsey Grammer, who went on to land the role and go on to score a massive hit with spin-off show ‘Frasier’, but John insists he just didn’t want to work on a sitcom.
Speaking on ‘The Jess Cagle Podcast with Julia Cunningham’, he explained: “They (‘Cheers’ bosses) approached my agent. They did offer it to me. It was during my very snobbish early years in Hollywood and I still had Broadway fairy dust all over me. And I simply was never going to even consider doing a weekly comedy series. In fact, I had totally forgotten that this offer ever even came to me even after ‘Cheers’ and ‘Fraiser’ … I did not remember. It had just come and gone …"
John eventually got over his about concerns about working on sitcoms and landed a starring role on screwball comedy ‘3rd Rock From The Sun’ and he is adamant he no regrets over missing out on ‘Cheers’ and ‘Frasier’.
He added: “I never regretted it and I still don’t regret it. ‘Frasier' would not have been the hit it was with me. ‘Frasier’ is an extraordinary hit because of Kelsey and David Hyde Pierce (who was cast as Fraiser Crane’s brother Niles). And David Hyde Pierce (his character Niles Crane) was created because he (David) looked so much like Kelsey from what I have heard.”
John concluded: “I defer to Kelsey, he’s fantastic in it. He really is better than I ever would have been and I got ‘3rd Rock From The Sun’.
"It’s arguable that I had more a lot fun doing that than I would have done on 'Frasier' just because it was so completely nut ball.”