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David Hyde Pierce

Paternal 10th cousin, once removed

As with many of my discoveries, finding David Hyde Pierce was a pleasant surprise. David's 9th Great Grandparents were Thomas Lord and Dorothy Bird, my 10th, Great Grandparents. This makes David and I 10th cousins, once removed. We are related through my paternal side of the family and through David's paternal side as well. 

I was happy to find such a talented actor to add to my growing family tree. For years I would watch David play the role of Dr. Niles Crane on the TV show "Frasier" - a spin-off from the show "Cheers" which just happened to have starred another famous distant cousin of mine, Ted Danson.

The character of Dr. Niles Crane paired beautifully with the lead character, Fraser Crane, and the supporting cast. If you haven't had the opportunity to watch this show, I suggest you give it a try.

Until I started researching this distant cousin, that was pretty much the extent of my knowledge of David Hyde Pierce - I knew him as an extremely talented comedic actor who had often caused me to laugh with his perfect depiction of an up-tight, slightly snobbish character. While an actor can bring a character to life, it is by no means a clear indication of the actual actor, so, as usual, I started to research this cousin.

David was born on April 3rd, 1959, in Saratoga Springs, New York, north of Albany. His parents are George Hyde Pierce and Laura Marie Hughes. David attended, and graduated from Yale University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1981. While attending Yale, David appeared in a production of H.M.S. Pinafore and he directed the operetta Princess Ida. Once David graduated, he moved to New York City and worked several jobs while studying at Michael Howard Studios and pursuing acting jobs. Some of David's jobs at the time included working at Bloomingdale's, where he sold ties, and as a security guard. 

In the early 1990's David got his first big TV break when he was hired to act in Norman Lear's political comedy, The Powers That Be. David role was that of Theodore, a Congressman. I vaguely recall this show, but its run was short - debuting in March, 1992, and ending in January, 1993. Later in 1993, David took on the role for which he is best known, that of Dr. Niles Crane, an uptight, snooty psychiatrist who is the brother of Dr. Fraser Crane (originally a character on Cheers played by Kelsey Grammer) on the long-running show Fraser. For his role as Niles Crane, David was nominated as Best Supporting Actor 11 times, and won the award 5 times.

TV is not David's only claim to fame, however, and he has acted in no fewer than 30 movies. David has also been a voice actor in a number of animated movies and TV shows, including the thinly veiled character Cecil Terwilliger (brother of Sideshow Bob) on The Simpsons. David has also performed in live theatre, and has won 2 Tony awards and has been nominated for 2 more. 

Since the finale of Fraser, David has remained very active as an actor in theatre, on TV and in movies. 

David is also an advocate for the National Alzheimer's Project Act, giving his voice to this cause.

In his personal life, David is married to TV writer, producer and director, Brian Hargrove. David and Brian were married on October 24th, 2008 in California, just prior to the passing of Proposition 8, a bill which banned same-sex marriages in that state. In 2015, the US Supreme Court struck down all State same-sex marriage bans, legalizing marriage between members of the same sex. 

Although I know David Hyde Pierce only through the characters he has played, I can say he is a very talented actor who has brought this writer hours of laughs with his excellent delivery of funny lines, and his excellent character portrayals.  I am proud to add my distant cousin to my ever-growing family tree.