Peri Gilpin on ‘Frasier’ star Kelsey Grammer’s ‘golden ear’
Q: Did doing the YouTube series “Old Guy” change your perspective on ageism in Hollywood?
A: Well, it did because I think looking at it in such a humorous way, like you think about things differently when you can laugh at it and laugh at it so good-naturedly. You know, it’s not like snarky satire. It’s kind of good-natured just making fun. And to see a man that age at the center of it, I thought it really helped me see the point that they were trying to make. And as we’re all getting older, I’m getting older – like there’s this fabulous show, it’s with Derek Jacobi … it’s called “Last Tango in Halifax.” It’s fantastic. So I mean, I just wish Roger (Burton, the series’ late star) could have auditioned for that.
Q: Looking back on your time on “Frasier,” how was it working with Kelsey Grammer and working out scenes with him?
A: He’s seriously the greatest. I mean, he loved when other people got laughs. He loved setting you up. He didn’t love rehearsing. … I think Kelsey’s one of those people that love to perform but doesn’t love rehearsing. But if you said to him, “Can we please run through this again because I’m having a hard time with this or that,” and he’d go, “Yeah, of course.” And he was just right there. …
You know, he’s a theater guy, he follows all the protocol and etiquette and manners of theater, he’s super-generous and he’s honest. He’s direct. If he’s got something to say, he says it. But usually he’s like, “Let’s just have fun. You know, it’s the good life. Let’s enjoy this.” And we did.
Q: It sounds like he was a great teammate.
A: Amazing teammate, and that’s it exactly, I think, the way he looked at it. It was a team. … He knew how fortunate we were and he also has a golden ear. That’s what Ted Danson used to always say. He knows what’s good and so you could always trust him. And we all learned a lot.
George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.