Ted Danson

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Ted Danson
'The Good Place' cast and crew visit San Diego Comic Con for a panel (43100198314) (cropped).jpg
Danson in 2018
Born
Edward Bridge Danson III

(1947-12-29) December 29, 1947 (age 76)
Education Stanford University
Carnegie Mellon University (BFA)
Occupations
  • Actor
  • producer
  • activist
Years active1975–present
Known for
SpouseRandall Gosch1970-1975 div.

Cassandra Coates 1977-1993 div.

Mary Steenburgen 1995-present
Children2
Relatives Charlie McDowell (stepson)

Edward BridgeDanson III (born December 29, 1947) is an American actor. He achieved stardom playing the lead character Sam Malone on the NBC sitcom Cheers , for which he received two Primetime Emmy Awards and two Golden Globe Awards. He was further Emmy-nominated for the legal drama Damages (2007–2010) and the NBC dramedy The Good Place (2016–2020). He was awarded a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame in 1999. [1]

Contents

Danson made his film debut in 1978 in the crime drama The Onion Field . His breakout film role was as Jack Holden in the films Three Men and a Baby (1987) and Three Men and a Little Lady (1990). He also acted in Body Heat (1981), Creepshow (1982), Dad (1989) and Saving Private Ryan (1998).

Danson's other leading roles on television include the CBS sitcom Becker (1998–2004), CBS drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2011–2015), and CSI: Cyber (2015–2016). [2] [3] In 2015, he starred in the second season of FX's anthology series Fargo . He has played roles in the HBO comedies Bored to Death (2009–2011) and Curb Your Enthusiasm (2000–2024), and the NBC sitcom Mr. Mayor (2021–2022).

Danson is also known for his longtime activism in ocean conservation. In March 2011, he published his first book, Oceana: Our Endangered Oceans and What We Can Do to Save Them which was written with journalist Michael D'Orso. He has been married to actress Mary Steenburgen since 1995.

Early life and education

On December 29, 1947, Danson was born in San Diego to Edward Bridge "Ned" Danson, Jr., an archaeologist and curator of the Museum of Northern Arizona, from 1959 to 1975, and Jessica Harriet (née MacMaster). [4] [5] He has an older sister, Jessica Ann "Jan" Haury. [5] Danson was primarily raised in Flagstaff, Arizona. [6] He has Scottish and English heritage. Their ancestors lived in colonial New England and are descended from historical figures like Anne Hutchinson. [7] [8]

In 1961, at age 14, Danson enrolled at the Kent School, a university-preparatory school in Connecticut; he was a star player on the basketball team. He became interested in drama while later attending Stanford University; in his search for a better acting program, he transferred to Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh. He was graduated with a B.F.A. in Drama in 1972. [9]

Career

1975–1981: Early roles and film debut

Danson began his television career as a contract player on the daytime soap opera Somerset . [10] He played the role of Tom Conway from 1975 to 1976. In 1977, he played Dr. Mitchell Pierson on the daytime soap opera The Doctors , having also appeared earlier in 1975 as another character, Dr. Chuck Weldon. [11] He was also in a number of commercials, most notably as the "Aramis man". [12]

His guest appearances on television in the late 1970s and early 1980s include being on Laverne & Shirley , B. J. and the Bear , Family , Benson , Taxi , Magnum, P.I. , The Amazing Spider-Man , Tucker's Witch , and Mrs. Columbo .

1982–1993: Breakthrough with Cheers

Danson at the 42nd Emmy Awards in 1990 Ted Danson.jpg
Danson at the 42nd Emmy Awards in 1990

In 1982, Danson was cast in the role of Sam Malone, a former local-legend baseball player and bartender, for the NBC sitcom Cheers . On the show, he has an on-again-off-again relationship with the college-educated, sophisticated Diane Chambers. Although the show finished last in ratings in its first season, it was well-received by critics. Ratings gradually improved by 1983, and by 1986, Cheers was among the top ten most-viewed shows on television. The series ran for 11 seasons (1982–1993), with the series finale (May 20, 1993) being watched by 80 million people, the second-most watched series finale in television history (in 1993). Cheers won four Emmy Awards for Outstanding Comedy Series, plus a Golden Globe for Best Series–Musical or Comedy. During his time on the show, Danson won two of his 11 consecutive Emmy nominations for the role of Sam Malone, and won two of his nine Golden Globe nominations. In 2002, TV Guide magazine named Cheers the 18th “Greatest Show of All Time”. On December 15 1988, Danson got into a minor car accident in which he got a bloody nose, he was in some pain, but his nose wasn’t broken. The bloody nose was written into the episode of Cheers How to Win Friends and Electrocute People. It was included in Time's “100 Greatest Shows of All Time”. [13] Danson reprised the role of Sam Malone in a second-season episode of Frasier, and did the voiceover for his character in an episode of The Simpsons, "Fear of Flying".

1994–2009: Established actor

Danson has also been featured in numerous films. His most notable film appearances included Three Men and a Baby with Tom Selleck and Steve Guttenberg, its sequel Three Men and a Little Lady, and Cousins with Isabella Rossellini. He also appeared in The Onion Field (his first film, as the bagpipe-playing Officer Ian Campbell), Creepshow , Body Heat , Little Treasure , Just Between Friends (with Mary Tyler Moore), A Fine Mess , Dad , Made in America , Getting Even with Dad , Loch Ness , and Saving Private Ryan .

Although he was best known for his work in comedy, he also appeared in a drama, Something About Amelia , about a family devastated by the repercussions of incest, which co-starred his later co-star on Damages, Glenn Close. He won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie and was nominated for an Emmy Award. In 1996, three years after Cheers concluded, Danson starred in the short-lived CBS sitcom Ink with his real-life wife Mary Steenburgen. In the same year, they starred as Lemuel Gulliver and his wife in an acclaimed television miniseries of Gulliver's Travels . Danson went on to star in the successful CBS sitcom Becker (produced by Paramount Television which also produced Cheers), which ran from 1998 to 2004. Danson also plays a fictionalized version of himself on Curb Your Enthusiasm . In 1999, Danson was presented with a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame.

Danson returned to series television in the fall of 2006, playing a psychiatrist in the ABC sitcom Help Me Help You , which was canceled at midseason due to low ratings.[ citation needed ] In 2006, Danson received a nomination for a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a TV Movie or Miniseries for his role in Knights of the South Bronx . In 2007, Danson starred in the FX Network drama Damages as a corrupt billionaire, Arthur Frobisher. The role earned him an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, but he lost to co-star Željko Ivanek. During the second season Danson became a recurring character instead of one of the principal cast. He received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series but lost to Michael J. Fox for Fox's guest appearance in Rescue Me . In 2011, Danson appeared in the music video for "Make Some Noise" by the Beastie Boys. He is also mentioned in the song's lyrics.

Danson starred in the HBO sitcom Bored to Death as George Christopher, the laconic and sometime downright infantile editor of Edition magazine. Critics often praised Danson as being the highlight of the program, calling his character a "scene stealer." [14] [15]

2011–present: Career resurgence

In July 2011, CBS announced that Danson would star in its police drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation . He played D.B. Russell, a new graveyard-shift supervisor who previously headed a crime lab in Seattle. Tony Shalhoub, Robin Williams, and John Lithgow were also considered for the role. [2] [3] [16] In March 2013, it was announced that Danson signed a deal to be on CSI for two more years. [17] It was planned for the character he played to move to the third CSI spin-off, CSI: Cyber in the show's second season. CSI: Cyber was canceled after two seasons. [18]

In 2015, Danson appeared in the second season of the TV show Fargo . He portrays Sheriff Hank Larsson. [19] From September 2016 to January 2020 Danson appeared opposite Kristen Bell as the character Michael in the NBC sitcom The Good Place . [20] He has both been nominated for and won numerous awards for his performance as Michael.

In July 2019, Danson was cast as one of the main lead roles for the situation comedy Mr. Mayor , in which he plays a wealthy businessman who runs for mayor of Los Angeles for all the wrong reasons. NBC added the show to the 2020–2021 television season. [21]

Personal life

Marriage and relationships

Danson with wife Mary Steenburgen in December 2009 TedDansonMarySteenburgenDec09.jpg
Danson with wife Mary Steenburgen in December 2009

Danson and his first wife, actress Randall "Randy" Gosch (known as Randy Danson), were married in 1970 and divorced in 1975. [22]

Danson's second wife was producer Cassandra "Casey" Coates, whom he married in 1977. On December 24, 1979, while giving birth to their first daughter, Kate, Coates suffered a stroke. Danson spent several years caring for her and helping her recuperate. They later adopted a second daughter, Alexis. [23] His affair with actress Whoopi Goldberg contributed to their divorce in 1993. [24] At the time, it was known as one of Hollywood's costliest divorces and reportedly cost Danson $30 million. [25]

Whoopi Goldberg

While a guest on The Arsenio Hall Show in late 1988, he met actress Whoopi Goldberg; he describes her as "a sexy, funny woman". [26] They became friends and were in Help Save Planet Earth in 1990 which is about saving the environment (Danson played himself, Goldberg portrayed Mother Earth). [27] While making Made in America in April 1992, the two became romantically involved, a pairing that was heavily featured in gossip tabloids such as the National Enquirer . The couple also appeared on the Rock the Vote TV special in the same year; [28] they were set to star in a Paramount-produced version of Neal Barrett Jr.'s Pink Vodka Blues, [29] written by Marshall Brickman.[ citation needed ]

Danson received negative press attention October 8, 1993, after his appearance wearing blackface at a Friars Club comedy roast in honor of Goldberg, and for using many racist slurs. Later, Goldberg defended the sketch, explaining that she had helped write much of the material and referred Danson to the makeup artist who painted his face as a societal critique. [30]

Mary Steenburgen

On October 7, 1995, Danson married actress Mary Steenburgen, whom he met on the set of Pontiac Moon in 1993, and became the stepfather to Steenburgen's children, Lilly and Charlie, from her previous marriage to actor Malcolm McDowell. [31] Danson has been on a plant-based diet multiple times, [32] [33] but as of 2016, he is on a pescetarian diet. [34] Danson is Episcopalian. [35]

Environmentalism

Danson testifying at a United States House Committee on Natural Resources session about plastic in 2019 Ted Danson testifying at House Dems Natural Resources WOW Oversight Hearing in 2019.jpg
Danson testifying at a United States House Committee on Natural Resources session about plastic in 2019

Danson's interest in environmental concerns began when he was 12 years old. Bill Breed, then curator of geology at the Museum of Northern Arizona, introduced Danson and their friend Marc Gaede to a "game" he referred to as "billboarding". Armed with axes and saws, Breed, Gaede, and Danson destroyed over 500 outdoor advertising signs. [36]

Danson's interest in environmentalism continued over the years, and he began to be concerned with the state of the world's oceans. He was a contributing founder of the American Oceans Campaigns in the 1980s; it merged with Oceana in 2001 and he is a board member. [37] His commitment to the environment led him to host the A&E television series "Challenge of the Seas" in 1991, filming 26 one-hour episodes. [38]

In March 2011, Danson published his first book, Oceana: Our Endangered Oceans and What We Can Do To Save Them which was written with journalist Michael D'Orso. [39] [40] On October 25, 2019, Danson was arrested and charged along with actress Jane Fonda at a climate-change protest outside the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. [41]

Political activism

Danson is a friend of former President Bill Clinton, who attended Danson and Steenburgen's wedding. Danson has donated $85,000+ to Democratic candidates, including Al Gore, John Edwards, Barbara Boxer, Bill Clinton, Al Franken, and John Kerry. He has also donated to the Democratic Party of Arkansas and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Danson and Steenburgen campaigned for Senator Hillary Clinton during her 2008 presidential campaign. [42] He attended the wedding of Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton's daughter Chelsea on July 31, 2010. [43] He appeared with Steenburgen at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. On October 3, 2016, he attended the opening of Hillary Clinton's new campaign office in Lancaster, Pennsylvania at the old Queen Pharmacy on King Street. [44] [45] [46]

Filmography

Film

YearTitleRoleNotes
1979 The Onion Field Det. Ian James Campbell
1981 Body Heat Peter Lowenstein
1982 Creepshow Harry Wentworth
1985 Little Treasure Eugene Wilson
1986 Just Between Friends Chip Davis
How can I tell if I'm really in loveHimself
A Fine Mess Spence Holden
1987 Three Men and a Baby Jack Holden
1988 She's Having a Baby HimselfUncredited cameo
1989 Cousins Larry Kozinski
Dad John Tremont
1990 Three Men and a Little Lady Jack Holden
1993 Made in America Hal Jackson
1994 Getting Even with Dad Raymond Gleason
Pontiac Moon Washington Bellamy
1996 Loch Ness John Dempsey
1998 Jerry and Tom Guy
Homegrown Gianni Saletzzo
Saving Private Ryan Capt. Fred Hamill
1999 Mumford Jeremy Brockett
2004Fronterz
2007 Nobel Son Harvey Parrish
The Amateurs Moose
2008 Mad Money Don Cardigan
The Human Contract E.J. Winters
2009 The Open Road Coach
2011 Jock the Hero Dog PezuluVoice only
2012 Big Miracle J.W. McGrath
Ted HimselfUncredited
2014 The One I Love Therapist
2018 Hearts Beat Loud Dave
2020 Best Summer Ever Executive producer

Television

YearTitleRoleNotes
1975–1976 Somerset Tom Conway #2Unknown episodes
1975, 1977 The Doctors Dr. Chuck Weldon (1975) / Mitch Pierson (1977)19 episodes
1979 The Amazing Spider-Man Major Collings2 episodes
Mrs. Columbo Richard DellingerEpisode: "Ladies of the Afternoon"
Trapper John, M.D. Injured ManEpisode: "Love Is a Three-Way Street"
B. J. and the Bear Tom SpencerEpisode: "Silent Night, Unholy Night"
The French Atlantic Affair Abe Stanley, Assistant to Dr. ClemensMiniseries; Episode #1.3
1980 The Women's Room NormanTelevision film
Once Upon a SpyJack ChenaultTelevision film
Laverne & Shirley Randy CarpenterEpisode: "Why Did the Fireman..."
Family David BartelsEpisode: "Daylight Serenade"
1981 Benson Dan Slater2 episodes
Magnum, P.I. Stewart CraneEpisode: "Don't Say Goodbye"
Dear TeacherSteve GoodwinTelevision film
Our Family BusinessGepTelevision film
1982 Taxi Vincenzo SenacaEpisode: "The Unkindest Cut"
Tucker's Witch Danny Kirkwood2 episodes
1982–1993 Cheers Sam Malone Main role, 275 episodes
1983Allison Sydney HarrisonDavid HarrisonTelevision film
CowboyDale WeeksTelevision film
1984 Something About Amelia Steven BennettTelevision film
1986 When the Bough Breaks Alex Delaware Television film
1987We Are the ChildrenTelevision film
1988 Mickey's 60th Birthday Sam MaloneTelevision film
1989 Saturday Night Live Himself (host)Episode: "Ted Danson/Luther Vandross"
The Jim Henson Hour HimselfEpisode: "Aquatic Life"
1990 The Earth Day Special Sam MaloneTelevision special
1994 The Simpsons Sam Malone (voice)Episode: "Fear of Flying"
1995 Frasier Sam MaloneEpisode: "The Show Where Sam Shows Up"
1996–1997 Ink Mike LoganMain role, 22 episodes
1996 Gulliver's Travels Lemuel Gulliver2 episodes
1997 Pearl SalEpisode: "The Write Stuff: Part 2"
1998–2004 Becker Dr. John BeckerMain role, 129 episodes
1998 Thanks of a Grateful Nation Jim TuiteTelevision film
Veronica's Closet Nick VanoverEpisode: "Veronica's $600,000 Pop"
1999 Diagnosis: Murder HimselfEpisode: "The Roast"
2000–2024 Curb Your Enthusiasm HimselfRecurring role, 34 episodes
2000Search for AtlantisHimselfTelevision film
Grosse Pointe Jack the Dog (voice)Episode: "Sleeping with the Enemy"
2002 Living with the Dead James Van PraaghTelevision film
2003 Gary the Rat Terry McMillian (voice)Episode: "Mergers and Acquisions"
2004 It Must Be Love George GazelleTelevision film
2005 Our Fathers Mitchell Garabedian Television film
Knights of the South Bronx RichardTelevision film
2006 Heist Tom2 episodes
2006–2007 Help Me Help You Dr. Bill HoffmanMain role, 14 episodes
2007–2010 Damages Arthur FrobisherMain role, 23 episodes
2008 King of the Hill Tom Hammond (voice)Episode: "The Accidental Terrorist"
2009–2011 Bored to Death George ChristopherMain role, 24 episodes
2010 Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! Little Danson ManEpisode: "Greene Machine"
2011–2015 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Director D.B. Russell Main role, 84 episodes
2013 CSI: NY Episode: "Seth and Apep"
2015–2016 CSI: Cyber Main role, 18 episodes
2015 Fargo Sheriff Hank LarssonMain role, 10 episodes
2015–2020 American Dad! Dr. Ray Petit (voice)4 episodes
2016–2020 The Good Place MichaelMain role, 52 episodes
2017 Finding Your Roots HimselfEpisode: "Puritans and Pioneers"
2018–presentAdvancementsHimself79 episodes
2019–2022 The Orville Admiral PerryRecurring role (season 2-3); 6 episodes
2021–2022 Mr. Mayor Mayor Neil BremerMain role, 20 episodes
2023 Mulligan Brad Chadman (voice)Episode: "Not My President"

Theatre

YearTitleRoleVenueRef.
1973Status Quo VadisPaul Regents III Brooks Atkinson Theatre, Broadway [47]

Awards and nominations

YearAssociationCategoryNominated workResult
1983 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Cheers Nominated
1984 Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Nominated
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie Something About Amelia Nominated
1985 Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film Won
Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy Cheers Nominated
People's Choice Awards Favorite Male TV Performer Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Nominated
1986 Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Nominated
1987 Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Nominated
1988 People's Choice Awards Favorite Male TV Performer Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Nominated
1989 American Comedy Awards Funniest Male Performer in a Television Series Nominated
Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy Nominated
People's Choice Awards Favorite Male TV Performer Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Nominated
1990 American Comedy Awards Funniest Male Performer in a Television Series Nominated
Funniest Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture Dad Nominated
Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy Cheers Won
People's Choice Awards Favorite Male TV Performer Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Won
Viewers for Quality Television Best Actor in a Quality Comedy Series Nominated
1991 American Comedy Awards Funniest Male Performer in a Television Series Won
Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy Won
People's Choice Awards Favorite Male TV Performer Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Nominated
Viewers for Quality Television Best Actor in a Quality Comedy Series Nominated
1992 Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy Nominated
People's Choice Awards Favorite Male TV Performer Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Nominated
1993 Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy Nominated
People's Choice Awards Favorite Male TV Performer Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Won
1997 Satellite Awards Satellite Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film Gulliver's Travels Nominated
2000 Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy Becker Nominated
2001 Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy Nominated
2003 Satellite Awards Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film Living with the Dead Nominated
2005 Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film Our Fathers Nominated
2006 Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy Help Me Help You Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie Knights of the South Bronx Nominated
2008 Golden Globe Awards Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film Damages Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Nominated
2009 Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series Nominated
2010Nominated
2017 Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Actor in a Comedy Series The Good Place Won
2018 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series Curb Your Enthusiasm Nominated
Television Critics Association Individual Achievement in Comedy The Good Place Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Nominated
Carnegie Mellon University Honorary Doctorate Degree [48] Awarded
Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Actor in a Comedy Series The Good Place Nominated
2019Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Nominated
2020Nominated

Bibliography

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Diane Chambers is a fictional character in the American television situation comedy show Cheers, portrayed by Shelley Long and created by Glen and Les Charles. After her fiancé Sumner Sloan abandons her in the Cheers bar in the pilot episode, Diane works as a bar waitress. She has an on-off relationship with the womanizing bartender Sam Malone and a one-year relationship with Frasier Crane, who later becomes a main character of the series and its spin-off Frasier. When Long left the series during the fifth season, the producers wrote her character out. After that, they added her permanent replacement Rebecca Howe, a businesswoman played by Kirstie Alley, in the sixth season. Shelley Long made a special guest appearance as Diane in the series finale, as well as in Frasier as a one-time figment of Frasier's imagination, and as the actual Diane in the crossover episode "The Show Where Diane Comes Back".

<i>Cheers</i> season 1 Season of television series

The first season of the American television sitcom series Cheers premiered on September 30, 1982, and concluded on March 31, 1983. It consisted of 22 episodes, each running approximately 25 minutes at length. The show was created and produced by director James Burrows and writers Glen and Les Charles, who previously worked on Taxi, another sitcom. Cheers was produced by Charles Burrows Charles Productions in association with Paramount Television. The concept and production design of the show were inspired by a public house in Boston, the Bull & Finch, which is now called Cheers Beacon Hill.

<i>Cheers</i> season 8 Season of television series

The eighth season of Cheers, an American television sitcom, originally aired on NBC in the United States between September 21, 1989, and May 3, 1990. The show was created by director James Burrows and writers Glen and Les Charles under production team Charles Burrows Charles Productions, in association with Paramount Television.

References

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Further reading