Former FRASIER star DAVID HYDE-PIERCE is planning to watch It's A Wonderful Life for the first time to prepare to play CLARENCE THE ANGEL in a one-off musical performance of the Christmas classic.

The actor admits he was always put off watching the James Stewart classic because the scenes he once saw featured his acting hero being mean to his onscreen wife.

He explains, "Years ago, on television, I saw a part of it. I love Jimmy Stewart - he's one of my heroes. I think he's such a fine actor and so wonderful.

"I saw part of it where he looked like a mess and he was being mean to his wife and I thought, 'Well, I don't wanna watch that,' and people tell me I'm an idiot.

"I've gotta watch it before I do this part."

Hyde-Pierce will team up with THE SOPRANOS star Dominic Chianese in the one-night-only musical - a fundraiser for the Actors Fund at New York's Shubert Theater.