Kelsey Grammer Opens Up About the Guilt He Felt After His Sister’s Murder: “I Could Not Forgive Myself”

Kelsey Grammer
Kelsey Grammer opened up to Vanity Fair about the guilt he felt after his sister's murder at the hands of Freddie Glenn in 1975, saying, "I could not forgive myself" Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images

Kelsey Grammer struggled with forgiveness after his sister's tragic murder 40 years ago, not just for her killer but also for himself. The Frasier star, 60, wasn't even in the same state when Freddie Glenn took 18-year-old Karen Grammer's life, but as he told Vanity Fair in a new interview, he felt guilty nonetheless for not protecting her. 

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Asked about his history with substance abuse — he checked into rehab in 1996 — Grammer was frank. "I'll speak to the straight of it," he told VF. "That was the time when I could not forgive myself for my sister's death." 

He continued: "It's hard to explain. It's not rational. But it happens anyway. I know a lot of people who've lost their siblings and blame themselves."

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Indeed, as VF reports, Grammer told the parole board in 2009 that the guilt he felt over Karen's death "very nearly destroyed" him. "When we heard [her killer] might be paroled, the suffering began anew," he wrote at the time, as reported by multiple news outlets. (Glenn, who was convicted of two other murders in 1975, has been up for parole twice, but was denied both times, in part due to Grammer's objections and testimony.)

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The actor, now starring on Broadway in Finding Neverland, still grieves his sister's untimely death but seems to have reached a place of acceptance — maybe even peace.

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Asked what he'd learned from the tragedy, he said, "That every one of us is going to experience some terrible loss. I just got a big dose. For every story you hear that's tragic, there's another that's equally tragic or more so. I think you come to look at it as part of life."

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