Edward Bridge "Ted" Danson III (born December 29, 1947) is an American actor. He played the lead character Sam Malone on the NBC sitcom Cheers, Jack Holden in the films Three Men and a Baby and Three Men and a Little Lady, and Dr. +more John Becker on the CBS sitcom Becker. He also starred in the CBS dramas CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and CSI: Cyber as D. B. Russell. Additionally, he plays a recurring role as a fictionalized version of himself on Larry David's HBO sitcom Curb Your Enthusiasm, starred alongside Glenn Close in legal drama Damages and was a regular on the HBO comedy series Bored to Death. In 2015, he starred as Hank Larsson in the second season of FX's black comedy-crime drama anthology Fargo. From 2016 to 2020, he played the afterlife architect Michael in the NBC sitcom The Good Place. He played Neil Bremer in NBC's Mr. Mayor from the start of the show in 2021 until it was cancelled in 2022.

During his career, Danson has been nominated for 18 Primetime Emmy Awards, winning two; 11 Golden Globe Awards nominations, winning three; one Screen Actors Guild Award; and one American Comedy Award and has been awarded a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame. He was ranked second in TV Guides list of the top 25 television stars. +more Danson has also been a longtime activist in ocean conservation. In March 2011, he published his first book, Oceana: Our Endangered Oceans and What We Can Do to Save Them, written with journalist Michael D'Orso.

...
Join Group About Ted Danson
1.725 Members
764 Posts
...
...
...
...

Early life and education

Danson was born in San Diego to Edward "Ned" Bridge Danson Jr. (1916-2000), an archaeologist and director of the Museum of Northern Arizona from 1959 to 1975, and Jessica MacMaster (1916-2006), and has an older sister, Jan Ann Haury (born January 11, 1944). +more Danson was raised in Flagstaff, Arizona. His ancestry is mostly English and also partially Scottish. Danson traces his ancestry back to colonial New England, being descended from Roger Williams, Anne Hutchinson, John Webster and Roger Ludlow.

In 1961, Danson enrolled in the Kent School, a prep school in Connecticut, where he was a star player on the basketball team. Forgoing a career in the NBA, he became interested in drama while attending Stanford University and, seeking a better acting program, transferred to Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, where he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in drama in 1972.

Career

Television

Early career

Danson began his television career as a contract player on the daytime soap opera Somerset. He played the role of "Tom Conway" from 1975 to 1976. +more 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. He was also in a number of commercials, most recognizably as the "Aramis man".

He made a number of guest appearances in episodic television in the late 1970s and early 1980s, including spots on Laverne & Shirley, +more_and_the_Bear'>B. J. and the Bear, Family, Benson, Taxi, Magnum, P. I. , The Amazing Spider-Man, Tucker's Witch and Mrs. Columbo.

Career breakthrough: Cheers

In 1982, Danson was cast as a former local legend baseball player and bartender Sam Malone on the NBC sitcom Cheers, in which he has an on-and-off relationship with college-educated, sophisticated Diane Chambers. Though the show finished last in the ratings in the first season, it was well received by critics. +more Ratings gradually improved in 1983 and by 1986 Cheers was one of the top ten shows on TV. The show had a run of 11 seasons and its finale (May 20, 1993) was watched by 80 million people, becoming the second-most-watched finale in television history at that time. It won four Emmy Awards for Outstanding Comedy Series and a Golden Globe for Best Series - Musical or Comedy. The show ran from 1982 to 1993, with Danson receiving eleven consecutive Emmy nominations and nine Golden Globe nominations, ultimately winning two Emmys and two Golden Globes. In 2002, TV Guide named Cheers the 18th Greatest Show of All Time. It was also included in Time Magazine's 100 Greatest Shows of All Time.

Danson also appeared as Sam Malone in guest-starring roles on other sitcoms, such as Cheers spin-off Frasier, The Jim Henson Hour, and The Simpsons.

Later career

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. +more 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. +more He reprised his role of Sam Malone in a second-season episode of Frasier and voiced him in The Simpsons episode "Fear of Flying".

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.

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. +more In the second season Danson became a recurring character instead of one of the principal cast. Nevertheless, Danson received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series but lost to Michael J. Fox for his 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".

In July 2011, it was announced that Danson would star in the CBS police drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. He played +moreB. _Russell'>D. B. Russell, a new graveyard shift supervisor who previously headed a crime lab in Seattle, Washington. Tony Shalhoub, Robin Williams, and John Lithgow were also considered for the role.

In March 2013, it was confirmed that Danson had signed a deal extending his stay on CSI for two more years. Following the cancellation of CSI, it was announced that his character would make a move over to the third spinoff show CSI: Cyber in the second season. +more The show was cancelled after two seasons.

In 2015, Danson appeared in the second season of the TV show Fargo. He portrays Sheriff Hank Larsson. +more From September 2016 to January 2020, Danson appeared opposite Kristen Bell as the character Michael in the NBC sitcom The Good Place. 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. +more Mayor, in which he plays a wealthy businessman who runs for mayor of Los Angeles for all the wrong reasons. The series was greenlit by NBC as an entry in the 2020-2021 television season.

Film

Danson has also been featured in numerous films. His most notable film appearances were in Three Men and a Baby with Tom Selleck and Steve Guttenberg, its sequel Three Men and a Little Lady, and Cousins with Isabella Rossellini. +more 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.

Personal life

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

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

On October 7, 1995, Danson married actress Mary Steenburgen, whom he met on the set of the movie Pontiac Moon in 1993, and became the stepfather to Steenburgen's children, Lilly and Charlie, from her previous marriage to actor Malcolm McDowell.

Danson has been on a plant-based diet multiple times, but he currently adheres to a pescetarian diet.

Relationship with Whoopi Goldberg

While a guest on The Arsenio Hall Show in late 1988, he met actress Whoopi Goldberg, whom he described as "a sexy, funny woman". The two became friends, co-hosting Help Save Planet Earth in 1990, a video guide to saving the environment (Danson played himself, Goldberg played the role of Mother Earth). +more 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 that same year, as well as being set to star in a Paramount-produced version of Neal Barrett Jr. 's Pink Vodka Blues, written by Marshall Brickman.

Danson experienced negative press attention on October 8, 1993, after his appearance wearing blackface at a Friars Club comedy roast in honor of Goldberg, and for using a plethora of 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.

Environmentalism

Danson's interest in environmental concerns was ignited when he was twelve years old and Bill Breed, then curator of geology at the Museum of Northern Arizona, introduced Danson and friend Marc Gaede to a game he referred to as "billboarding". Armed with an ax and saw, Breed, Gaede and Danson ended up destroying over 500 outdoor advertising signs.

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

In March 2011 Danson published his first book, Oceana: Our Endangered Oceans And What We Can Do To Save Them, written with journalist Michael D'Orso.

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.

Political activity

Danson is a friend of former U. S. +more President Bill Clinton, who attended Danson and Mary 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. He attended the wedding of their daughter Chelsea on July 31, 2010. He appeared with Steenburgen at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. On October 3, 2016, he helped open the new headquarters in Lancaster, PA at the old Queen Pharmacy on King Street for Hillary Clinton.

Filmography

Film

YearTitleRoleNotes
1979The Onion FieldDet. Ian James Campbell
1981Body HeatPeter Lowenstein
1982CreepshowHarry Wentworth
1985Little TreasureEugene Wilson
1986Just Between FriendsChip Davis
1986How can I tell if I'm really in lovehimself
1986A Fine MessSpence Holden
1987Three Men and a BabyJack Holden
1988She's Having a BabyHimselfUncredited cameo
1989CousinsLarry Kozinski
1989DadJohn Tremont
1990Three Men and a Little LadyJack Holden
1993Made in AmericaHal Jackson
1994Getting Even with DadRaymond Gleason
1994Pontiac MoonWashington Bellamy
1996Loch NessJohn Dempsey
1998Jerry and TomGuy
1998HomegrownGianni Saletzzo
1998Saving Private RyanCapt. +more Fred Hamill
1999MumfordJeremy Brockett
2004FronterzN/A
2007Nobel SonHarvey Parrish
2007The AmateursMoose
2008Mad MoneyDon Cardigan
2008The Human ContractE. J. Winters
2009The Open RoadCoach
2011Jock the Hero DogPezuluVoice
2012Big MiracleJ. W. McGrath
2012TedHimselfUncredited
2014The One I LoveTherapist
2018Hearts Beat LoudDave
2020Best Summer EverN/AExecutive producer
.

Television

YearTitleRoleNotes
1975-1976SomersetTom Conway #2Unknown episodes
1975, 1977The DoctorsDr. Chuck Weldon (1975) / Mitch Pierson (1977)19 episodes
1979The Amazing Spider-ManMajor Collings2 episodes
1979+more_Columbo_(TV_series)'>Mrs. ColumboRichard DellingerEpisode: "Ladies of the Afternoon"
1979Trapper John, M. D. Injured ManEpisode: "Love Is a Three-Way Street"
1979B. J. and the BearTom SpencerEpisode: "Silent Night, Unholy Night"
1979The French Atlantic AffairAbe Stanley, Assistant to Dr. ClemensMiniseries; Episode #1. 3
1980The Women's RoomNormanTelevision film
1980Once Upon a SpyJack ChenaultTelevision film
1980Laverne & ShirleyRandy CarpenterEpisode: "Why Did the Fireman. "
1980FamilyDavid BartelsEpisode: "Daylight Serenade"
1981BensonDan Slater2 episodes
1981Magnum, P. I. Stewart CraneEpisode: "Don't Say Goodbye"
1981Dear TeacherSteve GoodwinTelevision film
1981Our Family BusinessGepTelevision film
1982TaxiVincenzo SenacaEpisode: "The Unkindest Cut"
1982Tucker's WitchDanny Kirkwood2 episodes
1982-1993CheersSam MaloneMain role, 275 episodes
1983Allison Sydney HarrisonDavid HarrisonTelevision film
1983CowboyDale WeeksTelevision film
1984Something About AmeliaSteven BennettTelevision film
1986When the Bough BreaksAlex DelawareTelevision film
1987We Are the ChildrenN/ATelevision film
1988Mickey's 60th BirthdaySam MaloneTelevision film
1989Saturday Night LiveHimself (host)Episode: "Ted Danson/Luther Vandross"
1989The Jim Henson HourHimselfEpisode: "Aquatic Life"
1990The Earth Day SpecialSam MaloneTelevision special
1994The SimpsonsSam Malone (voice)Episode: "Fear of Flying"
1995FrasierSam MaloneEpisode: "The Show Where Sam Shows Up"
1996-1997InkMike LoganMain role, 22 episodes
1996Gulliver's TravelsLemuel Gulliver2 episodes
1997PearlSalEpisode: "The Write Stuff: Part 2"
1998-2004BeckerDr. John BeckerMain role, 129 episodes
1998Thanks of a Grateful NationJim TuiteTelevision film
1998Veronica's ClosetNick VanoverEpisode: "Veronica's $600,000 Pop"
1999Diagnosis: MurderHimselfEpisode: "The Roast"
2000-presentCurb Your EnthusiasmTed DansonRecurring role, 30 episodes
2000Search for AtlantisHimselfTelevision film
2000Grosse PointeJack the Dog (voice)Episode: "Sleeping with the Enemy"
2002Living with the DeadJames Van PraaghTelevision film
2003Gary the RatTerry McMillian (voice)Episode: "Mergers and Acquisions"
2004It Must Be LoveGeorge GazelleTelevision film
2005Our FathersMitchell GarabedianTelevision film
2005Knights of the South BronxRichardTelevision film
2006HeistTom2 episodes
2006-2007Help Me Help YouDr. Bill HoffmanMain role, 14 episodes
2007-2010DamagesArthur FrobisherMain role, 23 episodes
2008King of the HillTom Hammond (voice)Episode: "The Accidental Terrorist"
2009-2011Bored to DeathGeorge ChristopherMain role, 24 episodes
2010Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!Little Danson ManEpisode: "Greene Machine"
2011-2015CSI: Crime Scene InvestigationDirector D. B. RussellMain role, 84 episodes
2013CSI: NYDirector D. B. RussellEpisode: "Seth and Apep"
2015-2016CSI: CyberDirector D. B. RussellMain role, 18 episodes
2015FargoSheriff Hank Larsson10 episodes
2015-2020American Dad!Dr. Ray Petit (voice)4 episodes
2016-2020The Good PlaceMichaelMain role, 52 episodes
2017Finding Your RootsHimselfEpisode: "Puritans and Pioneers"
2018-presentAdvancementsHimself47 episodes
2019The OrvilleAdmiral PerryRecurring role (season 2); 3 episodes
2021-2022Mr. MayorMayor Neil BremerMain role, 20 episodes
.

Awards and nominations

YearAssociationCategoryNominated workResult
1983Primetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy SeriesCheersNominated
1984Golden Globe AwardsBest Actor - Television Series Musical or ComedyCheersNominated
1984Primetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy SeriesCheersNominated
1984Primetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a MovieSomething About AmeliaNominated
1985Golden Globe AwardsBest Actor - Miniseries or Television FilmSomething About AmeliaWon
1985Golden Globe AwardsBest Actor - Television Series Musical or ComedyCheersNominated
1985People's Choice AwardsFavorite Male TV PerformerCheersNominated
1985Primetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy SeriesCheersNominated
1986Primetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy SeriesCheersNominated
1987Golden Globe AwardsBest Actor - Television Series Musical or ComedyCheersNominated
1987Primetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy SeriesCheersNominated
1988People's Choice AwardsFavorite Male TV PerformerCheersNominated
1988Primetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy SeriesCheersNominated
1989American Comedy AwardsFunniest Male Performer in a Television SeriesCheersNominated
1989Golden Globe AwardsBest Actor - Television Series Musical or ComedyCheersNominated
1989People's Choice AwardsFavorite Male TV PerformerCheersNominated
1989Primetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy SeriesCheersNominated
1990American Comedy AwardsFunniest Male Performer in a Television SeriesCheersNominated
1990American Comedy AwardsFunniest Supporting Actor in a Motion PictureDadNominated
1990Golden Globe AwardsBest Actor - Television Series Musical or ComedyCheersWon
1990People's Choice AwardsFavorite Male TV PerformerCheersNominated
1990Primetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy SeriesCheersWon
1990Viewers for Quality TelevisionBest Actor in a Quality Comedy SeriesCheersNominated
1991American Comedy AwardsFunniest Male Performer in a Television SeriesCheersWon
1991Golden Globe AwardsBest Actor - Television Series Musical or ComedyCheersWon
1991People's Choice AwardsFavorite Male TV PerformerCheersNominated
1991Primetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy SeriesCheersNominated
1991Viewers for Quality TelevisionBest Actor in a Quality Comedy SeriesCheersNominated
1992Golden Globe AwardsBest Actor - Television Series Musical or ComedyCheersNominated
1992People's Choice AwardsFavorite Male TV PerformerCheersNominated
1992Primetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy SeriesCheersNominated
1993Golden Globe AwardsBest Actor - Television Series Musical or ComedyCheersNominated
1993People's Choice AwardsFavorite Male TV PerformerCheersNominated
1993Primetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy SeriesCheersWon
1997Satellite AwardsSatellite Award for Best Actor - Miniseries or Television FilmGulliver's TravelsNominated
2000Satellite AwardsBest Actor - Television Series Musical or ComedyBeckerNominated
2001Golden Globe AwardsBest Actor - Television Series Musical or ComedyBeckerNominated
2003Satellite AwardsBest Actor - Miniseries or Television FilmLiving with the DeadNominated
2005Satellite AwardsBest Actor - Miniseries or Television FilmOur FathersNominated
2006Satellite AwardsBest Actor - Television Series Musical or ComedyHelp Me Help YouNominated
2006Screen Actors Guild AwardsOutstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television MovieKnights of the South BronxNominated
2008Golden Globe AwardsBest Supporting Actor - Series, Miniseries or Television FilmDamagesNominated
2008Primetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama SeriesDamagesNominated
2009Primetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Guest Actor in a Drama SeriesDamagesNominated
2010Primetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Guest Actor in a Drama SeriesDamagesNominated
2017Critics' Choice Television AwardsBest Actor in a Comedy SeriesThe Good PlaceWon
2018Screen Actors Guild AwardsOutstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy SeriesCurb Your EnthusiasmNominated
2018Television Critics AssociationIndividual Achievement in ComedyThe Good PlaceNominated
2018Primetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy SeriesThe Good PlaceNominated
2018Carnegie Mellon UniversityHonorary Doctorate DegreeHonorary Doctorate DegreeAwarded
2018Critics' Choice Television AwardsBest Actor in a Comedy SeriesThe Good PlaceNominated
2019Critics' Choice Television AwardsBest Actor in a Comedy SeriesThe Good PlaceNominated
2019Primetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy SeriesThe Good PlaceNominated
2020Primetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy SeriesThe Good PlaceNominated

Further reading

Living people

Best Miniseries or Television Movie Actor Golden Globe winners

Best Musical or Comedy Actor Golden Globe (television) winners

Carnegie Mellon University College of Fine Arts alumni

Outstanding Performance by a Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Primetime Emmy Award winners