I specifically remember an episode of a TV show where the Niles Crane character was in his living room and his often-talked-about wife made a brief appearance. I can visualize her clearly but can’t remember her name. She was very thin, mousy and had a rather pointed nose. Do you know if Niles Crane’s wife ever appeared in any episode of “Frasier”? Maybe it was “Cheers” or some other spinoff? — Dennis W., via e-mail
The character of Niles Crane (portrayed by David Hyde Pierce) was married to Maris Crane on “Frasier,” the highly successful spinoff of the hit comedy “Cheers.” Although she was often discussed on the show, she was never seen nor heard. On some occasions she was present on camera, though only her outline or shadow could be seen. Having Maris as an unseen character was inspired by Vera Peterson, Norm’s oft-mentioned but never-seen wife on “Cheers.” Niles and Maris divorced later on in the series, and Niles (briefly) married a plastic surgeon named Mel, even though he was in love with Daphne, whom he ended up marrying at the beginning of the 10th season. Perhaps the actress you’re thinking of is Bebe Newirth, who played Frasier’s ex-wife Lilith, and whose character has many of the physical traits you mentioned.
Is Jessica Capshaw the daughter of Kate Capshaw and Steven Spielberg? My sister says yes, but I say his only child is by Amy Irving. Who buys dinner? — Squabbling Sisters in Alabama
Looks like you’re going to have to go dutch. You are correct in that Steven and Amy do share a biological child, a son named Max Samuel. You are also correct in that Jessica Capshaw is not Steven’s biological daughter; her father is Robert Capshaw, whom Kate was married to from 1976-80. However, you are incorrect in your statement that Steven has only ONE biological child. He and Kate share three biological children (Sasha, Sawyer and Destry) as well as two adopted children (Theo and Mikaela).
I read that Anne Hathaway is giving up Hollywood to devote herself to the stage. Is this true? — Stephanie P., via e-mail
While it is true that Anne, 27, received rave reviews for her performance in Shakespeare in the Park’s “Twelfth Night” as Viola, she has no plans to leave Hollywood. In fact, she has many high-profile mov-ies in the can or in production, including “Alice in Wonderland,” “Valentine’s Day,” “Get Smart 2” and “Get Happy: The Life of Judy Garland.”
What happened to “Kings” on NBC? — Teresa P., Punta Gorda, Fla.
“Kings,” the inventive drama that starred Ian McShane of “Deadwood” fame, has been canceled. Due to low ratings, NBC pulled it from its Sunday night lineup after only four episodes. The network has been airing the final episodes on Saturday nights since June 13. The last episode will air July 25.
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Copyright 2009 King Features Syndicate