Ted Danson Says He Still Laughs at Cheers 40 Years Later: 'It's Great to See My Friends'

ted danson
ted danson

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Ted Danson has had 40 years of laughs thanks to his star-marking turn on the hit NBC sitcom Cheers.

As the show marked its 40th anniversary on Friday, the actor, 74, looked back on his days serving up drinks and one-liners as bartender Sam Malone at the Boston bar where "everybody knows your name."

"Unbelievable. I remember being 35 when I started, that's always a nice kind of memory," Danson told Entertainment Tonight. "My hair was brown, and I had a lot of it."

Danson continued, "It still makes me laugh when I watch sometimes. It's funny and it's great to see my friends and they make me laugh."

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"I was so blessed," Danson said about playing Sam from 1982 to 1993. "I got my introduction to this business with [Cheers creators] Jimmy Burrows and [Les Charles] and Glen Charles, who are like half-hour aristocrats. I mean, they were some of the best in the business and that's how I got introduced to half-hour [television]."

He noted, "The reason why we're talking, the reason why I'm sitting next to [Mr. Mayor co-star] Holly [Hunter] is because of Cheers. Everything I do is because of the popularity of that show."

Ted Danson attends Oceana's 2022 New York Gala at The Rainbow Room on September 13, 2022 in New York City.
Ted Danson attends Oceana's 2022 New York Gala at The Rainbow Room on September 13, 2022 in New York City.

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Danson's Emmy-winning turn as Malone is all the more remarkable because stepping into the shoes of a smooth-talking Lothario never felt very natural to him.

"It took me a year and a half on Cheers playing Sam Malone [to feel comfortable]," Danson shared on The Late Show with Seth Meyers in 2018.

"I never went to bars, I never picked up women. The woman would have to be standing naked in front of me and I'd go, 'Me?'" he joked.

He added, "Playing Sam Malone was anathema to me for the longest time."

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But it's clear the series struck a chord that easily outlasted its 11-season run — not least of which because it spawned the megahit spin-off Frasier, which has been in the works at Paramount+ since last year.

Star Kelsey Grammer — whose Cheers character Dr. Frasier Crane relocated from Boston to Seattle for the 1993 sitcom — said in 2021: "I gleefully anticipate sharing the next chapter in the continuing journey of Dr. Frasier Crane."

Perhaps in his nostalgia, Danson can hear the blues a-callin' for a Sam and Frasier reunion in the near future.