David Hyde Pierce landed his first Broadway show in 1982, Christopher Durang’s comedy Beyond Therapy upon graduating from Yale. For the next few years, he performed Off-Broadway and in regional theatres like Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis, the Goodman Theatre in Chicago and the New York Shakespeare Festival. He toured the Soviet Union and Japan with The Cherry Orchard before returning to Broadway in 1989 in Wendy Wasserstein’s Pulitzer Prize winning The Heidi Chronicles.
He was cast by Mike Nichols as the cowardly Sir Robin in the smash hit Spamalot. Then came Curtains, the hit musical comedy whodunit that was the last collaboration between legendary musical duo John Kander and Fred Ebb. David won the Tony award for Best Lead Actor in a Musical in June 2007. David starred in Manhattan Theatre Club’s (MTC) Accent on Youth, and made his West End debut in June 2010 in La Bête opposite Mark Rylance and Joanna Lumley, transferring to Broadway in October 2010. In December/January 2011/12 David starred in MTC’s world premier production of Molly Smith Mezler’s play, Close up Space.
In Spring 2012, David starred in the Vineyard Theatre’s Developmental Lab production of John Kander and Greg Pierce’s musical The Landing. In fall 2012 David starred alongside Sigourney Weaver in the new Christopher Durang Chekhov-inspired comedy, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. A McCarter Theater Center/Lincoln Theater Center co-production it began life at the McCarter Theater Center, Princeton, New Jersey, then transferred to New York’s Lincoln Center.
He made his first foray into television with the Norman Lear-produced The Powers That Be and caught the eye of a casting director for a new Cheers spin-off. Frasier was an immediate commercial and critical success, and David’s portrayal of Dr. Niles Crane was recognized with a record eleven Emmy nominations for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy, winning four times (1995, 1998, 1999 and 2004). He also won two Screen Actors’ Guild awards (1996 and 1997).
In 1988, David began to appear in movies, most notably in Crossing Delancey. In 1991, Jodie Foster cast him in her directorial debut, Little Man Tate. Other films include Mike Nichols’ Wolf, Oliver Stone’s Nixon, Steven Soderbergh’s Full Frontal, and the cult hits Wet, Hot American Summer and The Perfect Host. He also lent his voice to movies like A Bug’s Life and Treasure Planet, and a memorable turn as Sideshow Cecil in The Simpsons.
In 2011 Pierce made a successful debut as director of the new musical It Shoulda Been You, with music by Barbara Anselmi, book by Brian Hargrove and lyrics by Brian and several others. The musical starred Tyne Daly and Harriet Harris, had an acclaimed world premiere run in Fall 2011 at George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and is aiming for a Broadway production in the Fall of 2013.
David’s second foray into directing happened in summer 2012 in a Guys and Dolls style production of The Importance of Being Earnest at the Williamstown Theater Festival.
David has been a board member and spokesperson for the Alzheimer’s Association since 1999, and currently serves on the federal advisory council of the National Alzheimer’s Project Act. In June 2010, he received an honorary Tony when he became the second ever recipient of the Isabelle Stevenson Award, in recognition of his work in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.
Pierce is dedicated to fighting AIDS and advocating Equality. With Laura Linney, he Co-Chairs the Artists Committee of The Actors Fund, the national human services organization for the creative community.