John Mahoney's famous co-stars share sweet remembrances: John Cusack, Cameron Crowe, Jane Leeves, and others

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Jane Leeves with John Mahoney
Back in the Frasier days, Jane Leeves as Daphne Moon and John Mahoney as Martin Crane. (Photo: David Rose/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

A lot of love was showered on actor John Mahoney after it was reported that he died Sunday in Chicago from complications of throat cancer. The 77-year-old actor certainly had a lot of fans, including many of his famous co-stars.

While the British actor was best known for his long run on the TV sitcom Frasier — he was the grumpy dad of Kelsey Grammer and David Hyde Pierce — his list of credits is long and diverse, despite starting his acting career in his late 30s. The two-time Emmy nominee — and Tony winner — also appeared in Moonstruck, Say Anything…, and Reality Bites. Most recently, he played Betty White’s love interest on Hot in Cleveland.

And his co-stars in those projects — and others — shared their fondness for him following the news of his passing.

Jane Leeves, who worked with Mahoney on Frasier and Hot in Cleveland, told TheWrap, “John was the dearest sweetest man I have ever known. His wicked sense of humor, usually whispered in your ear or spoken just loud enough that only you could hear, could bring you to tears. And his smile. Oh my God. He was lit from within.”

The actress, who tapped Mahoney to be the godfather of her son, ended with, “How lucky I am to have had him in my life. I loved him so much and will miss him so terribly.”

Peri Gilpin, who is also a Frasier alum (Roz!), shared a photo of “John singing at my wedding.” She urged followers to “watch Moonstruck, Say Anything and/or Frasier or anything you can find with him in it and raise a glass to John. Remember him well.”

And while Kelsey himself has evidently not commented, his ex-wife, Camille Grammer, did.

Say Anything…’s John Cusack thought Mahoney’s death was a hoax at first. He was disappointed to learn it wasn’t. He later paid tribute to him on Instagram, calling him “a true & beautiful soul — kind generous and wonderfully talented man.”

We had forgotten that Zach Braff worked with him until we saw this:

“I was so honored to work with the legendary John Mahoney on The Broken Heart’s Club,” he wrote on Twitter. “I was so nervous because Say Anything is one of my favorite films ever. He could not have been a kinder man.”

Dean Cain was also in that movie.

Cameron Crowe, Mahoney’s director in Say Anything…, also shared a throwback. “Here’s to you, John Mahoney!” he wrote. “You make the unforgettable look easy.”

It was Gary Sinise, along with John Malkovich, who invited Mahoney to join the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in the late 1970s. Mahoney, who had been a medical magazine editor, was already in his late 30s, getting his acting start pretty late. The Forrest Gump star remembered Mahoney fondly.

“Our old friend and Steppenwolf theatre colleague John Mahoney passed away yesterday,” wrote Sinise. “So many wonderful plays together over the years. A wonderful actor I’ll never forget his 1985 performance in Orphans (Chicago and New York). It was a great pleasure to know him and work with him. From Moira and I, Rest In Peace old friend.”

Martha Plimpton, who shared the Steppenwolf connection, also posted.

Marg Helgenberger worked with him in an episode of Frasier.

Max Greenfield worked with him in Hot in Cleveland.

Kathy Griffin befriended him during a trip to Chicago, “where I’m from and where he lived.”

Eriq La Salle worked with him in The Human Factor.

Ike Barinholtz’s path crossed with Mahoney on MADtv.

Richard Schiff and Mahoney worked together in The Hudsucker Proxy.

And plenty of stars who seem not to have worked with him at all praised his influence and talent.

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