by Hans ten Cate
Wednesday, 9 September 1998

John Cleese isn't the only figure of note in this year's Emmy Award competition. British-born Jane Leeves has also been nominated, this for her role on NBC's six-year running situation comedy Frasier. She portrays beautiful and quirky physical therapist Daphne Moon, one of the regular supporting characters on the show. This is Leeve's first ever Emmy nomination.

Why is this worth a couple minutes of your time? Well, Leeves had her humble beginnings as a dancer and model on the British stage and screen. In 1983 she was a dancer in Monty Python's The Meaning of Life. Says Leeves, "I was one of the dancers in the various, 'Every Sperm Is Sacred' and 'Christmas In Heaven' [routines]." A prize to the first person to spot her in the film - we haven't found her yet...

What was it like working with the Pythons? "I remember we all had a crush on Terry Jones, who was directing." What? The same Terry Jones who plays the vomiting/exploding Mr. Creosote in the film? "Oh, yes. He's very sexy, in a fatherly sort of way. All the dancers had such a big crush on him." She also went on to say that Terry didn't make any of the dancers feel insignificant, despite their small, non-speaking parts.

Acting always appealed to Leeves, who recalls writing in a school book at age 5 that she wanted to be an actress. Born on an April 18 in London, she was raised along with two sisters and a brother in East Grinstead, Sussex. Her first dream as a performer was to be a ballerina, but that career was cut short by an injury when she was 18. She bounced back with modeling and less strenuous dancing in commercials and rock videos, where she was given occasional lines to deliver.

Leeves moved to Los Angeles hoping to break out of dancing and to be considered for more serious acting gigs. She was soon cast in various but minor television roles. Audiences may know her best for her portrayal of Audrey Cohen, the girlfriend of Miles Silverberg, on "Murphy Brown." Leeves also has the distinction of having played the virgin who beds John F. Kennedy Jr. in one of the most talked-about episodes of NBC's Seinfeld.


Eric Idle listed in the Frasier credits as "Chuck"

John Cleese won an Emmy award for his 1987 portrayal of Frasier Crane's college friend, Dr. Simon Finch-Royce, on the television series Cheers. Fans have wondered if he would reprise his role on the television series Frasier, which was a spin-off series from the original Cheers. When John Cleese was asked this question in 1995 at the 92nd Street "Y" interview with Charlie Rose, Cleese replied that he had not been asked to play this role on Frasier and that it was not certain that he would be asked.

Never mind, we've got at least one other Python who has wandered onto the Frasier set. Eric Idle "appeared" on a 1996 episode of Frasier where he could be briefly heard as a caller on Frasier's call-in radio show. Eric appears in episode 65, "High Crane Drifter," which aired March 12, 1996 on NBC.

In the episode, Frasier resorts to physical force against an annoying Cafe Nervosa customer. The incident makes the newspapers, which causes other Seattle-area residents to follow Frasier's example, by exacting revenge on their nemises. On the radio show, callers recount how they dished out their "etiquette lessons." Eric Idle, as one of the callers, can be heard explaining "Hey, he asked for it. So, I put 100 scorpions in a FedEx package..."

The television show Frasier recently made history by earning its fourth consecutive Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series, becoming the first series to receive this honor each year it has been eligible and tying an Emmy record for wins by a comedy series. This year, Frasier is up for eleven separate Emmy awards, including Outstanding Comedy Series.