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Ted Danson's Guest Role on Taxi Led to His Casting on Cheers

  • Ted Danson's latest sitcom Mr. Mayor premieres tonight on NBC, and while Primetimer's Aaron Barnhart is ranking Danson's post-Cheers work, it's worth looking at his pre-Cheers work as well.

    Case in point, this guest role in Season 4 of the critically-beloved series Taxi, where he played a snooty hairdresser whose work proves he has no right to be snooty, as evidenced by the ridiculous coiff he gave to Elaine Nardo (Marilu Henner). Danson flits about with an affected manner, and is just abusively catty to everyone, and it's really kind of weird to see him in this role after knowing him as Sam "Mayday" Malone. 

    James Burrows was a regular director and Glen and Les Charles were producers on Taxi, and the three of them created Cheers, which debuted seven months after this episode aired in 1982. Danson apparently impressed them so much that they reworte Sam Malone into being a baseball player to suit his body type, moving away from their original intention to cast Fred Dryer, a real-life football player, in the role. Don't feel too bad for Dryer, though. He did appear on a few Cheers episodes as Sam's friend Dave Richards, and scored his own NBC cop show shortly afterward called Hunter.

    Mr. Mayor premieres with two back-to-back episodes at 8:00 PM ET tonight on NBC.

    People are talking about Mr. Mayor in our forums. Join the conversation.

    Andy Hunsaker has a head full of sitcom gags and nerd-genre lore, and can be followed @AndyHunsaker if you're into that sort of thing.

    TOPICS: Ted Danson, Cheers, Taxi, Fred Dryer, Glen Charles, James Burrows, Les Charles