Most fans will remember John Mahoney as eccentric dad — Martin Crane — from the fabulous television show Frasier. Others will know him from his acting with Chicago’s renowned Steppenwolf Theatre Company. Mahoney died this week.
In a revealing interview with Cathleen Falsani, Mahoney expressed his deep faith and dependence upon prayer and God’s blessing. “I’m more spiritual than anything else, and Christianity is probably the most important facet of my life,” he told her. “I try to live my life in a way that is definitely spiritually based. I pray a lot. It’s the first thing I do when I get up in the morning, and it’s the last thing I do before I go to bed. I have a little mantra that I say probably twenty or thirty times throughout the day: ‘Dear God, please help me to treat everybody — including myself — with love, respect, and dignity.’ That’s why it’s important for me to be liked.
“If people like me, it means I’m treating them well and it’s sort of proof that I’m doing the right thing,” he says, interrupting himself momentarily to thank the waitress when she brings his cup of chicken soup to the table and to ask her gently when my artichoke ravioli might be arriving. “I try to be charitable. I think that’s the greatest virtue. I was always taught that it is the greatest virtue, and I feel that. I try to be very loving to people, and I try to be very patient with people, which is my biggest failing. I’m a very impatient person. I work constantly on that.”
Falsani continues: “While he can’t put an exact date on it, John believes his mind began to change when his heart did, around the time he had what he describes as an ‘epiphany’ in a Roman Catholic church in downtown Chicago around 1975. “I was in the Loop, and I went into St. Peter’s and went to Mass, and it was just about the most emotional thing that ever happened to me. I don’t know where it came from, I just had a little breakdown of some sort, and after that, made a conscious effort to be a better person, to be a part of the world, and to try to revolve around everyone else in the world instead of expecting them to revolve around me.
“I think maybe it was the intercession of the Holy Ghost,” he continues. “I’ve always prayed to the Holy Ghost for wisdom and for understanding and knowledge. I think he answered my prayers when I stopped in the church that day. My life was totally different from that day on. I saw myself as I was, and I saw into the future and saw what I wanted to be. And I sort of rededicated myself to God and begged him to make me a better person. It wasn’t fear of hell or anything like that. I just somehow knew that to be like this, like what I was, wasn’t the reason I was created. I had to be better. I had to be a better person. And I think I am now. I like myself,” he says, breaking into one of his patented head-back-eyes-closed-mout
“I’m pretty much in a spiritual state most of the time. Even when I’m out drinking with my friends, and even when I drink too much, God’s never far from my thoughts. I’m not a freak, asking ‘What would Jesus do?’ and stuff like that. I don’t think things like that. I don’t pride myself on being able to do what he did anyway. We don’t really know. I just try to live a good life.”
To read her entire remembrance, click HERE.