David Hyde Pierce: Hyde and Seek

When David Hyde Pierce took the role of Kelsey Grammer's psychiatrist brother on "Frasier," he said he had no illusions about the chances for any given show to take off. Now that "Frasier" is a hit, and Pierce has won an Emmy, you'd think he'd allow for an illusion or two, but not this guy.

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To make sure he doesn't get typecast as the goofy wit he's perfected on TV, he's playing John Dean in Nixon. "The movie roles I've turned down in the past are either what I already do on the show, or thinner versions of that," says Pierce. "Nixon's just smart for me right now."

What was it like going from what Pierce calls the "silly" set of "Frasier" to the various intensities that Oliver Stone movie sets are famous for? "I used to think, 'I want to be in an Oliver Stone movie, but I'm not sure I want to work with Oliver Stone." says Pierce. "I liked working with him, but he's no bed of roses. He has his opinions, and if you want to challenge him you better be prepared." Speaking of challenges, Pierce originally aspired to be a concert pianist, but dropped out because he knew his chances of succeeding were slim. Was the thespian bug always there, hiding in the background? You bet. "When I look back at old photos, I see myself dressed as General von Hindenburg for third-grade Halloween."

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Heidi Parker



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