Four-time Emmy Award winner David Hyde Pierce is once again earning rave reviews and early awards buzz for his new role as Paul, the retired diplomat husband to Sarah Lancashire’s Julia Child in HBO Max’s Julia. Beloved for his role as Niles Crane on Frasier, for which he was nominated for 11 Emmys, Pierce is celebrating 40 years in the spotlight. The Good Wife actor is also celebrating 39 years together with his husband Brian Hargrove.
The Simpsons voiceover actor gave a wide-ranging interview to People magazine where he discussed everything from his early years in the entertainment business to his nearly four-decade-long relationship. Success did not come easy for Pierce, as he mentioned his Broadway debut saying,
“Just a few months after arriving in New York City I was cast in my first Broadway show ‘Beyond Therapy.’ After opening night the New York Times review came out, and it was really not good. The next night I went onstage, and there was not a laugh in the audience, and two weeks later we closed. When the curtain came down, I just sat on the stage and cried. In one experience I got everything that can happen in the theater: the thrill of being cast, the excitement of opening night and the crush. But I still wanted to be there. That’s when I knew — I would stay.”
The Tony Award winner most recently appeared on Broadway in the glorious 2017 revival of Hello, Dolly starring Bette Midler. Some of the movies he has acted in through the years include Sleepless in Seattle, Little Man Tate, The Fisher King and Isn’t She Great.
The Wet Hot American Summer star also talked about being open about his sexuality and relationship explaining,
“It took me a while to figure out how to just be me with all this attention and celebrity. I tried to thread that needle for a long time in terms of wanting to live my life and live it openly and not be forced to say anything in particular. I tried not to make speeches, but there are things more important than what I was trying to accomplish. Ultimately, when I knew I was coming back to the theater [after ‘Frasier’ ended], I started talking very publicly about [my partner] Brian.”
Pierce and Hargrove met at an audition in 1982. The two men had the same agent so a meeting seemed likely. Pierce remembers,
“When Brian and I first met, we did not know that either of us was gay. We just hung out as best friends. Eventually, we figured it out! I’ve always felt that the fact that the relationship was built on friendship first is part of the reason why we’ve been together for 39 years. The image I had of a relationship came from my mom and dad, who were together for almost 50 years. It was a dedicated relationship. That’s what I ended up looking for and ultimately finding.”
Pierce immediately signed for the eight-episode limited series Julia thinking,
“I loved the writing. What a complicated, interested, gnarly kind of guy he was. And they were a loving couple who were devoted to the end.”
Julia is streaming now on HBO Max. New episodes drop every Sunday.