Although he is best known for his role as anal-retentive psychiatrist extraordinaire Niles Crane on the celebrated sitcom Frasier, David Hyde Pierce has also done considerable work on the stage and screen. Fair, birdlike, and bearing an uncanny resemblance to Frasier co-star Kelsey Grammer, Pierce is one of the entertainment business' finest purveyors of a certain kind of blue-blooded neuroticism, and, in the eyes of some viewers, has even gone so far as to make insecurity perversely sexy.
Born in Saratoga Springs, New York, on April 3, 1959, Pierce was raised in what he has described as a "very run-of-the-mill, middle-class" household. When he was eight, he began taking piano lessons, and he decided to pursue a career as a concert pianist. He continued to train until he got to Yale University, where he realized that he was better suited to the acting profession. Following graduation, Pierce moved to New York and did a brief stint as a tie salesman at Bloomingdale's before being cast in a Broadway play. Although the production was a flop, Pierce continued to work on the stage in New York and Chicago for several years and was eventually cast as a suicidal congressman on the short-lived sitcom The Powers That Be in 1992. His work on the show, coupled with his resemblance to Kelsey Grammer, led to his casting on Frasier the following year.