Kirstie Alley, the 71-year-old TV and film diva best remembered for her appearances in Cheers, Veronica’s Closet, and Look Who’s Talking, has died.
Alley’s death was confirmed on Monday night in a message uploaded on her social media account by her children, William “True” Stevenson and Lillie Price Stevenson. Her management verified her death as well. Alley had recently been diagnosed with cancer and was receiving treatment at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Florida, according to her family.
— Kirstie Alley (@kirstiealley) December 6, 2022
“I am so grateful for our years together, and for the two amazingly beautiful children and now grandchildren that we have,” Alley’s ex-husband, actor Parker Stevenson, wrote. You will be sorely missed.”
Alley’s buddy and Look Who’s Talking co-star John Travolta also paid respect. “One of the most special relationships I’ve ever had was with Kirstie.” “Kirstie, I adore you,” he wrote. “I’m sure we’ll see each other again.”
Alley, who was born in Kansas in 1951, made her breakthrough in 1987 when she joined the cast of the sitcom Cheers as the bar’s new manager Rebecca Howe. Alley was cast after Shelley Long left the program, leaving Glen and Les Charles rushing to find a replacement female lead.
The Charles brothers finally cast Alley when Carl Reiner, who directed her in the 1987 picture Summer School, personally vouched for her comic skills. Alley’s performance in the show earned her a Golden Globe and an Emmy.
Her act as the mother of an autistic child in the made-for-television film David’s Mother earned her a second Emmy in 1994.
Alley was featured in films such as Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Summer School, Drop Dead Gorgeous, Woody Allen’s Deconstructing Harry, and Look Who’s Talking and Look Who’s Talking Too during the 1980s and 1990s. Following Cheers, she primarily portrayed humorous roles on television, including the title character in Veronica’s Closet, the short-lived sitcom Kirstie, and the horror-comedy anthology series Scream Queens.
In the early 2000s, amid extensive coverage of her weight in gossip magazines, Alley created and starred in the show Fat Actress, in which she portrayed a fictionalized version of herself as a fat actor attempting to find success in Hollywood while avoiding predatory tabloids and attempting to find love.
Alley later entered reality television, recording her efforts to shed 75 pounds (34kg) in the reality show Kirstie Alley’s Big Life and participated in Dancing with the Stars, Celebrity Big Brother in the United Kingdom, and The Masked Singer.
Alley married her high school sweetheart, Bob Alley, who shared her father’s name, in 1970; they divorced in 1977. She married Stevenson in 1983, and they adopted their two children. In 1997, they divorced.
Alley became a Scientologist in 1979 while struggling with a cocaine addiction, later crediting her sobriety to the church’s drug treatment program.