Lilith Sternin is a recurring character on Frasier, portrayed by Bebe Neuwirth.

Character

Lilith is the ex-wife of Dr. Frasier Crane, and the mother and primary caregiver of their son Frederick Crane. She appears on the sitcoms Cheers and Frasier. Lilith is Jewish, and shares the name with a demon goddess. She has a mother, Betty Sternin, who appeared on Cheers, played by Marilyn Cooper. She also has a half-brother, named Blaine, played by Michael Keaton.

Story

BOSTON

Lilith first appears in the Cheers episode "Second Time Around," as Frasier's date. The date does not go well and Lillith ends up walking out on him. She returns in the episode "Abnormal Psychology," where they again feel a mutual attraction after Diane gives her makeover. They end up making out during a television appearance and decide to make another attempt at a relationship. Sometime after this, Lilith moves in with Frasier and they get married in 1987.

In the Cheers episode "The Stork Brings a Crane," Lilith gives birth to her and Frasier's son, Frederick in the back of taxi (though the birth happens off-screen).

In 1992, the marriage begins to show cracks. In the Cheers episode "One Hugs, the Other Doesn't," Lilith finds out that Frasier was previously married to Nanette Guzman (now known as the popular children's entertainer, Nanny G) and ends up attacking her at Frederick's birthday party after she sang a song implying romantic feelings for Frasier (knowing full well that he had remarried). Later that year, Lilith admits her affair with another man - Dr. Louis Pascal. Lilith ends up leaving Frasier and nearly drives him to suicide until Lilith talks him down and promises him that their marriage can be saved. Lilith then leaves with Pascal to live in an eco-pod. Frasier is still distraught and nearly sleeps with Rebecca Howe until Lilith unexpectedly returns in early 1993. Upon her return, Lilith reveals that the experiment was a disaster and that Pascal turned out to be claustrophobic (among other problems) and that she abandoned the project to return to Boston. Soon afterwards, Frasier, Rebecca and Pascal himself show up to the bar in pursuit of Lilith. Pascal shows up armed with a pistol, threatening to shoot Frasier and the others if Lilith does not return to him. However, Lilith tells Pascal that he needs to shoot her first, which causes Pascal to back down and surrender to the police. Even after all this, Frasier is initially reluctant to take Lilith back but ends up being won over by her pathetic sobbing, implying that they can possibly reconcile.

SEATTLE

A reconciliation never comes to pass as Lilith and Frasier divorce sometime between the Cheers finale and The Good Son. Additionally, it is revealed that Lilith was given custody of Frederick while Frasier was granted with visitation rights.

Lilith makes her first appearance on Frasier in The Show Where Lilith Comes Back, in which she calls into Frasier's radio show and criticizes the advice he gives to his callers. Later at Frasier's Apartment, Lilith reminisces with Frasier about the times they had together. It is here Lilith reveals that she found a letter from Frasier a month earlier about a possible reconciliation but he tells her he wrote that letter an entire year earlier. Frasier and Lilith make love at one point, though they both end up regretting it, thus ending any possibility of a reconciliation.

A running gag is that she is a very cold person (Martin once calls her "Frosty the Snow-wife"), though when she gets emotional, it's usually in abundance. She also has very pale skin, which is also the subject of several jokes. People also make jokes describing her as a witch or demon (in season 2, Martin says the signs of Lilith's presence on an island are "the sea starting to churn and all the birds taking flight from the trees").

She is a strict mother and does not let Frederick do many things his friends enjoy (her reaction to him turning goth is never seen, though she didn't inform Frasier of it in advance when Frederick visited him). She first appears on Frasier to reunite with her ex-husband, hoping they can find love again. She appears in the second season by chance, and goes to Seattle to tell Frasier she is getting remarried.

After her husband leaves her for a man, she is so desperate she ends up sleeping with Niles. She later returns to seek sperm from Frasier, hoping to mother a sibling for Frederick. However, they call it off. She later encounters a man on a plane (played by Brent Spiner), with whom a romance is implied.

Her final appearance is the Frasier episode Guns N' Neuroses, where she is unknowingly set-up on a blind date with Frasier by one of her colleagues. However, the two end up meeting for drinks but both end up canceling the blind date with neither of them knowing that it was with each other. Later on, Frasier and Lilith manage to resolve a dispute between a young married couple in the hotel they're staying at and end up spending the night together watching TV, falling asleep on the couch. The next morning, she says goodbye to Frasier and they part on good terms without ever restarting their romance.

She also had a guest appearance on the show Wings, and appeared alongside Frasier. She was played by Bebe Neuwirth.

Trivia

  • Although Frasier's name may have started elsewhere, it seems almost inconceivable that Lilith's surname isn't taken from Robert Sternin, the writing partner and husband of Prudence Fraser, both of whom were frequent scribes for comedy in the '80s and '90s.
  • Season 3 and Season 6 are the only instances in which Lilith does not appear.

Episodes

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