Stars and Their Doctors: Seth MacFarlane With the Man Who Saved His Voice for the Oscars

Ramona Rosales
Seth MacFarlane (left) and Dr. Shawn Nasseri. Photographed by Ramona Rosales on July 31 in Nasseri’s Beverly Hills office

The 'Family Guy' creator needs a good ear, nose and throat man to keep those golden vocal cords healthy — and he's found one in the Harvard-educated doctor, who also sees Steven Tyler, Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber: "Doing an hour of animation voiceover is as strenuous as doing six hours of singing," he says for THR's annual Doctors Issue.

This story first appeared in the Sept. 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

"Doing an hour of animation voiceover is as strenuous as doing six hours of singing," says Seth MacFarlane, and he would know. When he isn't voicing a host of characters for his hit animated sitcoms (not to mention those Ted movies), the Family Guy mastermind tours the world with a 39-piece orchestra, belting standards to capacity crowds at Carnegie Hall, the Hollywood Bowl and, on Aug. 7, London's Royal Albert Hall.

The unenviable task of maintaining those golden vocal cords — the 41-year-old mogul's entertainment empire is said to be worth a cool billion — falls to MacFarlane's longtime ear, nose and throat surgeon of 11 years, Shawn Nasseri. It's Nasseri, 45, who rescued MacFarlane's 2013 Oscars-hosting gig, which nearly didn't happen thanks to a severe bout of walking pneumonia. "The producers were freaking out that Seth couldn't breathe, couldn't speak, couldn't stop coughing," recalls Nasseri of a frantic call from Academy Awards producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron. Nasseri prescribed an emergency regimen of "antibiotics, ste­roids, cough medications and inhalers," averting disaster.

Scan the Harvard-educated doctor's Beverly Hills office's walls, and you'll spot signed CDs from such patients as Steven Tyler, Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber and One Direction's Harry Styles, whose inscription reads, "To Shawny: Cheers a bunch for shoving an uncomfortable tube down my nose. Big love, Harry S." Hanging nearby are Family Guy doodles drawn by MacFarlane, including one in which the show's Stewie flips the bird at a Clay Aiken record. (It's an inside joke: Nasseri was the on-call doctor for much of American Idol's run.)

Of the many Family Guy characters he voices, MacFarlane says the nasal Quagmire "is probably the most taxing," and he claims his only vocal warm-up before concerts is a shot of Jack Daniel's. Nasseri winces at the admission: "You can't say that! He warms up and warms down. People don't realize he's classically trained as a singer." Jokes MacFarlane, "And there's that Quaalude cocktail you gave me one time," sending the two men into peals of laughter.

Read more from The Hollywood Reporter's Top Doctors Issue:

Hollywood's Top Doctors 2015

Hollywood DSM: Industry Shrinks Reveal What’s Wrong With Actors, Producers, Agents and More

Stars and Their Doctors: Seth MacFarlane With the Man Who Saved His Voice for the Oscars

Stars and Their Doctors: A 'Fifty Shades of Grey' Producer and the Man Who Knows Him Inside Out

Producer Nigel Lythgoe Pays Homage to the Doctor Who Saved His Baby Grandson

Stars and Their Doctors: Charlie Sheen and the Man Who Gives Him Stem Cells

How a Showtime PR Exec's Daughter Was Cured of Debilitating Scoliosis

Yes, You Can Turn 100 in Hollywood and Still Work

Former CAA Partner: Why I Became an Agent for the Sick (Guest Column)

Dr. Fredric Brandt's Suicide Sparks Frantic Scramble for His Celebrity Patients

Nancy Snyderman Breaks Silence on Ebola Nightmare, NBC News: "People Wanted Me Dead" (Exclusive)

Hollywood Psychologist on Reasons Why A-List Couples Fail

Hollywood's Top Doctors 2015: The Dentist List

Want to Get "Expensive Urine"? Look at the Hollywood History of Health Fads

L.A.'s Westside Mystery: Higher Cancer Rates in One Zip Code, Longer Lives in Another

Manopause and Male Aging: Gavin Polone Says Just Say No to Those Drugs (Guest Column)

Ken Jeong: How to Ditch Medicine for a Career in Comedy and Diagnose Castmates (Guest Column)

Why There’s a Medical Crisis for Transgender Youth (Guest Column)

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