Kelsey Grammer of 'Cheers' Lived a Life Shaped by Three Family Tragedies

Comfort Omovre
Jun 08, 2019
02:18 P.M.
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Award-winning “Cheers” actor, Kelsey Grammer enjoys a very successful career, but it is plagued by constant substance abuse, the destructive effects of his very tragic past.

Grammer is most popularly known for his skillful portrayal of psychiatrist Dr. Frasier Crane on the NBC sitcoms “Cheers” and “Frasier.”


He has won himself numerous awards attesting to his talented acting and fans find it very difficult to believe that the star still struggles with addiction, a way of coping with his tragic past.

In a 2015 “Vanity Fair” interview, Grammer went to great lengths to detail the three family tragedies that greatly influenced his lifestyle.

He boldly declared that his sister's unnatural death was a terrible blow and his addictions, though self-destructive, were the only way he could come to terms with it. He said:

“I’ll speak to the straight of it. That was the time when I could not forgive myself for my sister’s death.”


His sister, Karen, had been at the peak of her youth at 18 when infamous spree killer Freddie Glenn abducted, gang-raped, and murdered her in 1975.

Karen's killing is just one of the three shocking tragedies that almost destroyed Grammer. Just when he clocked 13 years old, his estranged father was murdered by a psychopath.


Also, his two step-brothers died in a scuba-diving accident, but the two terrible tragedies don't compare to Karen's death. Grammer disclosed that following her death; he was called on to identify her battered body after which he had to inform his mother.

He also explained that he felt very guilty for not being able to protect his younger sister, although he had been away from home at the time of the incident.

When asked what he could have done to protect her when he was only 20 years old himself and elsewhere, he said:

“It’s hard to explain. It’s not rational. But it happens anyway. I know a lot of people who’ve lost their siblings and blame themselves.”


Although Karen died about three decades ago, Grammer still hurts, and this was very evident when he strongly countered a plea for the release of her killer, Freddie Glenn.

His heartfelt message to the parole board successfully kept Glenn imprisoned. It read:

“I miss her in my bones; I was her big brother. I was supposed to protect her—I could not…. It very nearly destroyed me.”


He also explained that while he had forgiven Glenn, on observing his “contrition,” letting him out of jail would be betraying his sister. He once wrote to Glenn saying:

“I accept your apology. I forgive you. However, I cannot give your release my endorsement. To give that a blessing would be a betrayal of my sister’s life.”

According to reports, the nagging guilt of Karen's death proved deadly when his addictions marred Grammer's daily dealings. Grammer said:

“I liked it. I liked the way it made me feel. Maybe it was because I was running away from the feelings that weren’t, you know, as comfortable as I wanted them to do be, and maybe I do have a self-destructive part of me.”


The alcohol and drug abuse once even had his co-stars making plans to help him get the needed intervention. Thankfully, the father of seven seems to be doing very well now also going on to make himself a household name thanks to his “Cheers” and “Frasier” roles.