His roles on Cheers and its spin-off show Frasier made us laugh, but actor Kelsey Grammer's life story is surprisingly tragic.
While we all have our share of unhappy memories, Grammer's early life was marked by one misfortune after another, ending with a tragic crime that still haunts the actor to this day.
Born on the U.S. Virgin Islands, Grammer was just 2 years old when his parents divorced. He and his younger sister, Karen, were raised by their mother and grandfather during their childhood. But in the space of a few years, the Grammer family's world was rocked twice more.
First, Kelsey and Karen's grandfather died. Then, their father, a local restaurant owner, was murdered during a home invasion when Kelsey was just 13.
As the actor revealed, at such a young age he was more familiar with tragedy than many adults.
"Every one of us is going to experience some terrible loss," he said. "I just got a big dose. For every story you hear that’s tragic, there’s another that’s equally tragic or more so. I think you come to look at it as part of life.”
But the worst was still yet to come. The Grammer family had moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado in the 1970s, putting them on a collision course with one of America's most notorious spree killers.
Freddie Lee Glenn and his accomplice Michael Corbett murdered three people (and were suspected of killing two more) in the summer of 1975.
The pair's final confirmed victim was Grammer's sister Karen. She was working at a Red Lobster restaurant when the pair robbed it, and they decided to kidnap her. The 18-year-old was raped and murdered, and Grammer didn't learn her fate until a week after she died.
Glenn was arrested and convicted for Karen's murder, but the actor admitted years later in an interview with Oprah Winfrey that he lost his faith for years after her death.
But in the same interview, Grammer revealed he was willing to forgive Glenn, his sister's killer, if he took responsibility for his crime.
Grammer has since met Glenn, and says he's forgiven the man for his crimes. Although he doesn't support Glenn's release, which he says would be a "betrayal of my sister's life."
Despite coming to terms with his sister's death, and finding happiness with his wife and children, Grammer admits the pain still runs deep.
“I miss her,” Grammer said about his sister. “I miss her in my bones. She was my best friend and the best person I knew. She had so much to live for.”
I was a huge fan of his, but never knew about his tragic past!