- ❝ Niles – Remember what Mom always said: a handshake's as good as a hug
Frasier – Wise woman ❞
- —Maternal insight[src]
Hester is the deceased wife of Martin Crane, the mother of Frasier Crane and Niles Crane, the mother-in-law of Daphne Crane and the paternal grandmother of Frederick and David Crane. Like her two sons, Hester was a psychiatrist. She met Martin over the outline of a body, as she was called by the Seattle Police Department to create a profile for a murder suspect.
Martin mentions that she commemorated the occasion of their anniversary by baking gingerbread men shaped like the outline (Frasier and Niles thought they were dancing). She had an affair when her children were young, one summer at the lake. Though it was tough on their marriage, they were able to get past it and ultimately spent 40 years together before her death.
She was first seen on Cheers in 1984, played by Nancy Marchand, where she tried to break up the relationship between Diane Chambers and Frasier as she predicted their relationship would be disastrous (which ultimately turned out to be true when Diane left him at the altar). She died three years later in 1987, during the timeline of Cheers.
Hester named her sons after two lab rats she observed while pregnant with Frasier. Although her exact cause of death was never stated, in a flashback Martin has implied she died from lung cancer. A younger version of her appeared on Frasier, when Frasier briefly dates a woman who bears a striking resemblance to her, and later in a dream sequence.
Fraiser once complained that the Crane men never had a partner that the others liked, although Martin immediately refuted this by pointing out that they all loved Hester.
- The depiction of Hester on Cheers contrasts greatly with the recollections that her family has of her on Frasier; she is described by the Crane men as loving and gentle whereas the version played by Marchand is judgmental, manipulative and controlling. The version seen in "Don Juan In Hell: Part 2" was intended to act as a middle-ground between the two versions.
- Hester died only two years before the birth of her and Martin's first grandchild, Frederick.
- In Don Juan In Hell: Part 2, she describes each of Frasier's exes as "The Barmaid, Slacker and Icicle" referring to Diane, Nanette and Lilith respectively.
- In You Can't Tell A Crook By His Cover, it is mentioned that Hester smoked while she was pregnant with Frasier.