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EDDIE UNLEASHED

HERE’S THE POOP ON THAT PLUCKY POOCH WHO’S STEALING ALL THOSE SCENES ON ‘FRASIER’

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”I hear Eddie has been asking for more dog biscuits. That’s how it starts. Pretty soon he’ll be barking back at the director.” -John Mahoney, who plays Frasier’s Martin Crane, Eddie’s owner and Frasier’s father * ”I’ve worked with some real animals before, some real bitches, but Eddie is the consummate professional.” -Peri Gilpin, who plays Roz Doyle, Frasier’s intrepid call screener * ”I like working with Eddie, but I have a pet peeve. He’s always giving me acting notes. He tells me things like ‘Stare more,’ and ‘Scratch less.’ I’m sure he means well, but he’s not the director. It’s not his job. Frankly, I’m starting to really resent it.” -David Hyde Pierce, who plays Niles, Frasier’s snooty brother It was supposed to be the television season of the big name: Faye Dunaway on It Had to Be You, Roy Scheider on seaQuest DSV, Beau Bridges on Harts of the . West. But almost from the start these august thespians have been eclipsed by an out-of-nowhere newcomer: Moose (in the tradition of Madonna, Cher, and Sting, this upstart has no last name). He is, of course, better known as Eddie, the scene-stealing canine on NBC’s hit sitcom Frasier (Thursdays, 9:30-10 p.m.) who unnerves Kelsey Grammer’s Dr. Crane and upstages his costars with his trademark quizzical stare. Hipper than Lassie, brainier than Tiger (The Brady Bunch), cuter than Tramp (My Three Sons), Eddie is the hottest pooch to be unleashed on the airwaves in years-and America is lapping him up. According to his handlers at NBC, Moose receives hundreds of fan letters each week from across the country, including dozens of breeding requests and untold job offers. Media interest in the 3-year-old Jack Russell terrier has also been intense, with Moose fielding as many interview requests these days as the show’s human stars are. ”Moose gets recognized when we go out, but it’s not out of control,” says his trainer, Mathilde De Cagny, 30. ”He doesn’t have to wear sunglasses or anything.” Yet. Moose’s resume may not be in Scheider’s league-his only previous credit is a Louisiana state lottery commercial-but his off-camera lifestyle is every bit as glam. On the set, he enjoys all the perks befitting an actor of his prodigious Nielsen ratings (Frasier is the season’s top-rated new comedy), including home-cooked meals (chicken, stew beef, and hot dogs are his menu items of choice). Off the set, Moose shares a sprawling Santa Monica, Calif., abode with his live-in girlfriend, Folie, known by the cast as Mrs. Moose-who serves as his stand-in on the show-and their still-unnamed newborn triplet daughters (two of whom will become doubles; the other has been adopted). The household also includes the French-born De Cagny, who works for the Hollywood animal supplier Birds & Animals Unlimited; her husband, Michael; and a menagerie of animals she has trained, including finches, lizards, fish, and more dogs. (De Cagny has also trained animal actors for The Bodyguard, Steel Magnolias, and The Firm; one of her boarders is the bird Michelle Pfeiffer coughed up in Batman Returns.) Moose wasn’t always accustomed to such cushy Hollywood surroundings. He spent his early years as a house dog in Orlando, Fla., making the move to L.A. only eight months ago, when his original owner put him up for adoption. ”She was going crazy with him because he’s such a handful,” says De Cagny. ”He’s very hyper sometimes. He was bred to hunt, and he’s something of an escape artist. He loves to get attention.” That inner restlessness hasn’t hindered Moose’s development as an actor. ”Actually, he’s probably the most disciplined cast member,” says John Mahoney. ”The rest of us are the ones who goof around.” Agrees Jane Leeves, who plays Mahoney’s character’s ditzy (and psychic) live-in physical therapist, Daphne Moon, ”He’s amazing, the things he can do. It’s like he’s a method actor. I had one scene where I had to scold him and tell him to get off the couch. And for the whole week he was distant and cold. I couldn’t understand it. Later I figured out he was using that anger for the scene. I really respect that.” ”We have conflicting styles, so they don’t give us many scenes together,” says David Hyde Pierce. ”But we have mutual respect for each other. I will say I think his range is expanding.” ”He’s still pretty green,” says De Cagny. ”But he picked up on acting very fast. We have a good working relationship. I respect his need for playtime. He knows when it’s time to be focused and rehearse, and he knows when it’s time to play. He understands his limits. He knows he can tire himself out and lose his concentration.”