David Hyde Pierce is an American actor best known for his role as psychiatrist Dr. Niles Crane on the television sitcom Frasier, appearing in 263 episodes from 1993-2004.
Pierce was born in Saratoga Springs, New York, the youngest child of Laura Marie Hughes and George Hyde Pierce, an insurance agent and aspiring actor.
He has two older sisters, Barbara and Nancy, and an older brother, Thomas.
As a child he became very interested in the piano and frequently played organ at the local Bethesda Episcopal Church in Saratoga Springs.
He began acting in high school and was recognised as best Dramatic Arts student. He also received the Yaddo Medal for character and scholarship.
However, his love of music was still strong so he decided to study classical piano at Yale University. Unfortunately, he soon grew bored with music history lessons and found that he wasn't dedicated enough to practice the required amount of hours to become a successful concert pianist.
Instead, he graduated in 1981 with a double major in English and Theatre Arts.
Pierce then moved to New York City, where he worked several menial jobs (including selling ties at Bloomingdales and working as a security guard) while acting in the theatre during the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Pierce's first big television break came in the early 1990s with Norman Lear's The Powers That Be. Pierce played Theodore, a suicidal congressman on the political comedy.
Despite positive reviews from critics, the show was cancelled after a brief run. Pierce has commented in interviews that the cancellation came as a shock to him and that he was very disappointed the show did not continue.
His career would soon, however, take off with a role on another sitcom. Because of his resemblance to Kelsey Grammer, the role of Niles Crane on the Cheers spin-off Frasier was created for him.
For this role, Pierce was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Emmy for a record 11 consecutive years, winning in 1995, 1998, 1999 and 2004.
For the last few years of the run of the show, Pierce was paid up to $1-million per episode.
Pierce also acts in movies from time to time. He appeared alongside Meg Ryan in Sleepless in Seattle, with Jodie Foster in Little Man Tate and alongside Ewan McGregor in Down With Love. He also provided the voice for Doctor Doppler in Disney's 42nd animated feature, Treasure Planet.
In his role in Sleepless in Seattle Pierce plays Ryan's character's brother, a professor at the Johns Hopkins University. Upon his sister's admission that she has been fantasising about the man in Seattle, Pierce's character replies, "It rains nine months of the year in Seattle."
This was roughly one year before the start of Frasier. In 2005, he joined Tim Curry and others in the stage production of Spamalot.
In August/September 2006, he starred in Curtains a new Kander and Ebb musical at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, and will follow the show to Broadway in 2007.
He has also starred in television commercials as the voice of the Tassimo coffee system.
Pierce has a distinctive voice and, like his Frasier co-star Kelsey Grammer, is called on often to provide voice work.
Some of his more notable roles in this calling include the Walking Stick insect Slim in A Bug's Life and the amphibian Abe Sapien in Hellboy (of note is the fact that Pierce refused credit for his Hellboy role, because he felt that it was Doug Jones' performance, and not his own voice, which ultimately brought the character of Abe Sapien to life).
He also provided the voice for Drix, a cold pill in the animated comedy Osmosis Jones.
In a deliberate in-joke, he has also voiced Sideshow Bob's brother, Cecil, in one episode of The Simpsons, in which he and Grammer essentially recreated the Frasier/Niles relationship (at one point, Cecil mistakes his "wife" for Maris, the unseen wife of Niles on Frasier).
The episode was humorously titled Brother from Another Series.
In 2006 he co-starred in the animated pilot for The Amazing Screw-On Head as the Screw-On Head's arch-nemesis Emperor Zombie.
Pierce resides in Los Angeles with his two Wheaten Terriers, Maud and Mabel, and remains very close to his three siblings.
Pierce's father and grandfather suffered from Alzheimer's Disease, resulting in him being very active in fighting for research into the disease.