He was born Edward Bridge Danson III in San Diego, California, the son of an archaeologist. He was raised outside of Flagstaff, Arizona. He became interested in drama while attending Stanford University.
He is most famous for his role as bartender Sam Malone on the hit sitcom Cheers from 1982-1993. After Cheers, Danson starred in the sitcom Ink with his real-life wife Mary Steenburgen. Once Ink was cancelled Danson starred in the CBS sitcom Becker. Danson also plays himself on Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Danson, while still married, was involved with Whoopi Goldberg. She broke off the romance when he appeared on television in blackface and proposed to her.