I was really surprised when I read Kelsey Grammer has a dramatic role in a new TV series, Boss. Is he done with comedy?
—Ralph Williams, Pocatello, Idaho
While it is true that Grammer, 56, is best known for comedies like Frasier and Cheers, playing Dr. Frasier Crane on both series, he performed in dramas earlier in his career. They just didn't achieve the same fame as his sitcoms.
Grammer says that after his heart attack in 2008, he took a look at his life and decided it was time to make changes. The fact that his last two attempts at comedy series, Hank and Back to You, were flops, made it easier for him to decide to try something different.
"You have to have a sense of humor to sort of sustain you through these awful chapters, but it has always been in my mind to play a more serious role," he says. "I didn't start out as a comic actor. I started out in classical theater playing tragedies. That was my first love."
In Starz's Boss, Grammer plays Mayor Tom Kane, a ruthless politician at the center of Chicago's web of power and hiding a crushing secret. "This particular role probably couldn't have taken place directly after Frasier," he adds. "I just think it would have been too big a jolt. And I think the prevailing assumption about a political drama at that time was something like The West Wing. This is not The West Wing."