5 Things You Didn't Know About Kelsey Grammer

iStock/GreenPimp
iStock/GreenPimp

TV audiences have long enjoyed Kelsey Grammer for his masterful portrayal of two very different characters: Dr. Frasier Crane and Sideshow Bob. Let's take a look at five things you might not know about the primetime powerhouse.

1. He's Had a Traumatic Personal Life

Although Grammer has been making audiences laugh for over 25 years, his personal life has been anything but comic. When Grammer was 13 years old, his dad was shot and killed by a deranged intruder. When Grammer was 20, his younger sister was raped and murdered by serial killer Freddie Glenn; Kelsey had to identify his sister's body. Further tragedy hit the family when Grammer was 25 years old; his two younger half-brothers died in a scuba diving accident.

2. Shelley Long Didn't Love Him

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When Cheers' writers created Frasier Crane, they didn't expect for the character to have such staying power. Grammer was originally supposed to be on the show for a six-episode arc in which he was mostly a device to help break up the relationship between Sam Malone and Diane Chambers.

Grammer's undeniable talent wrecked these plans, though. Audiences loved both the Frasier character and Grammer's ability to turn mundane lines into knee-slappers with his timing and inflection. The writers scrapped their original plans to write Frasier out of the show in favor of keeping him around, which delighted viewers.

It did not, however, delight costar Shelley Long. Grammer wrote in his 1995 memoir So Far that Long publicly campaigned against the Frasier character. When Long won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a musical or comedy, she blasted the Frasier character for making the show "terrible."

Long apparently managed to tone down her dislike of the good doctor eventually, though. She did a few cameos as Diane Chambers on Frasier.

3. He Didn't Originally Love Cheers


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In the same memoir, Grammer makes a somewhat surprising admission: "I actually saw the pilot episode of Cheers and, I've never admitted this publicly, [but] I didn't like it." Still, when the producers of Cheers were looking for someone to play the role of Frasier Crane, Grammer's old Juilliard classmate and Broadway buddy Mandy Patinkin talked him up to casting directors to help Grammer get the part.

Of course, Grammer's instincts have often been spot-on on other occasions. Before deciding to spin the Frasier Crane character off into Frasier, Grammer heard a much different pitch for his post-Cheers career. There were plans for a show in which Grammer portrayed a media mogul who had been disabled in a motorcycle wreck but managed to still "virtually run the country" in his bedridden state. Something's telling us that concept might not have done quite as well as Frasier.

4. He Didn't Love Eddie the Dog, Either

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Nothing against Grammer and David Hyde Pierce, but Frasier wouldn't have been anywhere as adorable without the Cranes' pet Jack Russell terrier, Eddie. So did Grammer adore his canine co-star, whose real name was Moose? Not so much.

Grammer told the Washington Post, "I love dogs. I don't have any particular feeling about that dog because I just work with him. It takes twice as long to finish a show when the dog's in it. It's a dog. It's not a hardship, you know, it just takes longer. He doesn't always get it the first time and we have to stop and go back."

Grammer went on to say, "Well, it's just so silly. He gets so much attention. I do draw the line when somebody says, 'Oh, he's such a good little actor.' That's it! He's not an actor, he's a dog!"

Maybe Grammer just felt a bit upstaged by the cute pooch. Throughout Frasier's run, producers publicly said that Moose received more fan mail than any of the show's human actors.

5. He's Got Quite the Set of Pipes

You know that Grammer lent his smooth voice to the part of Sideshow Bob, which won him an Emmy for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance in 2006. That's not the only place he's used his pipes to his advantage, though. Grammer also voiced Stinky Pete the Prospector in Toy Story 2.

Moreover, he can carry a tune. It's hard to forget Sideshow Bob singing the entire score of Gilbert and Sullivan's H.M.S. Pinafore, but you might not have known that Grammer also belted out the "Tossed Salad and Scrambled Eggs" theme song for Frasier.

'5 Things You Didn't Know About...' appears every Friday. If there's someone you'd like to see profiled, leave us a comment. You can read the previous installments here.

10 Rad Gifts for Hikers

Greg Rosenke/Unsplash
Greg Rosenke/Unsplash

The popularity of bird-watching, camping, and hiking has skyrocketed this year. Whether your gift recipients are weekend warriors or seasoned dirtbags, they'll appreciate these tools and gear for getting most out of their hiking experience.

1. Stanley Nesting Two-Cup Cookset; $14

Amazon

Stanley’s compact and lightweight cookset includes a 20-ounce stainless steel pot with a locking handle, a vented lid, and two insulated 10-ounce tumblers. It’s the perfect size for brewing hot coffee, rehydrating soup, or boiling water while out on the trail with a buddy. And as some hardcore backpackers note in their Amazon reviews, your favorite hiker can take the tumblers out and stuff the pot with a camp stove, matches, and other necessities to make good use of space in their pack.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Osprey Sirrus and Stratos 24-Liter Hiking Packs; $140

Amazon

Osprey’s packs are designed with trail-tested details to maximize comfort and ease of use. The Sirrus pack (pictured) is sized for women, while the Stratos fits men’s proportions. Both include an internal sleeve for a hydration reservoir, exterior mesh and hipbelt pockets, an attachment for carrying trekking poles, and a built-in rain cover.

Buy them: Amazon, Amazon

3. Yeti Rambler 18-Ounce Bottle; $48

Amazon

Nothing beats ice-cold water after a summer hike or a sip of hot tea during a winter walk. The Yeti Rambler can serve up both: Beverages can stay hot or cold for hours thanks to its insulated construction, and its steel body (in a variety of colors) is basically indestructible. It will add weight to your hiker's pack, though—for a lighter-weight, non-insulated option, the tried-and-true Camelbak Chute water bottle is incredibly sturdy and leakproof.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Mappinners Greatest 100 Hikes of the National Parks Scratch-Off Poster; $30

Amazon

The perfect gift for park baggers in your life (or yourself), this 16-inch-by-20-inch poster features epic hikes like Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park and Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. Once the hike is complete, you can scratch off the gold foil to reveal an illustration of the park.

Buy it: Amazon

5. National Geographic Adventure Edition Road Atlas; $19

Amazon

Hikers can use this brand-new, updated road atlas to plan their next adventure. In addition to comprehensive maps of all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Canada, and Mexico, they'll get National Geographic’s top 100 outdoor destinations, useful details about the most popular national parks, and points on the maps noting off-the-beaten-path places to explore.  

Buy it: Amazon

6. Adventure Medical Kits Hiker First-Aid Kit; $25

Amazon

This handy 67-piece kit is stuffed with all the things you hope your hiker will never need in the wilderness. Not only does it contain supplies for pain, cuts and scrapes, burns, and blisters (every hiker’s nemesis!), the items are organized clearly in the bag to make it easy to find tweezers or an alcohol wipe in an emergency.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Hiker Hunger Ultralight Trekking Poles; $70

Amazon

Trekking poles will help increase your hiker's balance and stability and reduce strain on their lower body by distributing it to their arms and shoulders. This pair is made of carbon fiber, a super-strong and lightweight material. From the sweat-absorbing cork handles to the selection of pole tips for different terrain, these poles answer every need on the trail. 

Buy it: Amazon

8. Leatherman Signal Camping Multitool; $120

Amazon

What can’t this multitool do? This gadget contains 19 hiking-friendly tools in a 4.5-inch package, including pliers, screwdrivers, bottle opener, saw, knife, hammer, wire cutter, and even an emergency whistle.

Buy it: Amazon

9. RAVPower Power Bank; $24

Amazon

Don’t let your hiker get caught off the grid with a dead phone. They can charge RAVPower’s compact power bank before they head out on the trail, and then use it to quickly juice up a phone or tablet when the batteries get low. Its 3-inch-by-5-inch profile won’t take up much room in a pack or purse.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Pack of Four Indestructible Field Books; $14

Amazon

Neither rain, nor snow, nor hail will be a match for these waterproof, tearproof 3.5-inch-by-5.5-inch notebooks. Your hiker can stick one in their pocket along with a regular pen or pencil to record details of their hike or brainstorm their next viral Tweet.

Buy it: Amazon

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22 Creepy Cryptids From Around the World

Belgian painter Pieter Dirkx's interpretation of the Mongolian death worm.
Belgian painter Pieter Dirkx's interpretation of the Mongolian death worm.

According to Merriam-Webster, a cryptid is an animal "that has been claimed to exist but never proven to exist." But as Bigfoot believers and Loch Ness Monster enthusiasts are often quick to point out, it’s pretty difficult to prove that something doesn’t exist. Plus, it’s much more fun to indulge in the idea that giant sea monsters and hairy humanoids are roaming the uncharted corners of the planet.

On this episode of The List Show, Mental Floss editor-in-chief Erin McCarthy is taking viewers across time and space to unearth legends about lesser-known monsters that, again, haven’t been proven to not exist. Take the Mongolian death worm, a lamprey-like nightmare that supposedly lives in the Gobi Desert and radiates a poison so strong that you could die just by standing near it. If you’re an ill-behaved child or a Catholic who scarfs down steak every Friday during Lent, watch out for the Rougarou, a Louisiana-based werewolf that sniffs out those two demographics.

Learn about more fearsome, fascinating cryptids of all kinds in the video below, and subscribe to the Mental Floss YouTube channel for future episodes of The List Show.