Kirstie Alley, star of ‘Cheers’ and films including ‘Look Who’s Talking,’ dead at 71
Actress Kirstie Alley, star of the big and small screens known for her Emmy-winning role in “Cheers” and movies like “Look Who’s Talking,” has passed away after a short battle with cancer, her children True and Lillie Parker announced on her social media.
She turned 71.
“We are sorry to inform you that our incredible, fierce and loving mother passed away after a battle with cancer, which was only recently discovered,” the statement read.
“She was surrounded by her immediate family and fought with great strength, giving us the assurance of her unending joy in life and whatever adventures lay ahead,” the family statement continued. “As iconic as she was on screen, she was an even more amazing mother and grandmother.”
“The zest for life and passion of our mother, her children, grandchildren and her many animals, not to mention her eternal joy to create, were unparalleled and inspired us to live life to the fullest, just as she did” , the statement said.
Kirstie Alley’s Sexy Twist on ‘DWTS’
An Alley representative confirmed via email to CNN on Tuesday that she had been diagnosed with colon cancer before her death.
Alley, a two-time Primetime Emmy Award winner, was born in 1951 in Wichita, Kansas.
After a standout role in 1982’s ‘Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan’, she had roles in films like 1984’s ‘Blind Date’ and 1987’s ‘Summer School’ opposite Mark Harmon.
That same year, Alley would follow Shelley Long to star opposite Ted Danson in the final installment of TV classic sitcom “Cheers”, which premiered in 1982. Alley first appeared in 1987, as hardy and independent bar manager Rebecca Howe , and remained the critically acclaimed show until it ended in 1993.
After winning the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series in 1991 for “Cheers” and another for Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Special for 1994’s “David’s Mother,” she found television success again in the late 1990s with the series’ Veronica’s Closet’. ’, earning her another Emmy nod.
Kirstie Alley’s life in pictures
Moreover, Alley has starred in a number of memorable films such as the 1990 films “Look Who’s Talking”, “Madhouse” and 1999 “Drop Dead Gorgeous” with Ellen Barkin.
In 2005, Alley co-wrote and starred in the Showtime comedy ‘Fat Actress’ before making a foray into reality TV.
She appeared on “Kirstie Alley’s Big Life” in 2010, competed on Season 12 of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” the following year, and placed runner-up on Season 22 of the UK version of “Celebrity Big Brother” in 2018. In 2022, she participated in season 7 of Fox’s ‘The Masked Singer’.
Although she had an impressive body of work, the later part of her career was marked by Alley’s penchant for stirring up controversy, especially through social media.
In a 2007 interview, Alley said she was proud of her unrestricted manners.
“I’ve always felt that when someone asks me something, they want the real answer,” Alley told Good Housekeeping. “I think there’s something about being from Kansas as well. Usually people think I’m from New York. The only similarity between New Yorkers and Midwesterners is that what you see is what you get.”
Kirstie Alley Reflects on Her ‘Cheers’ Years (2005)
John Travolta, who co-starred with Alley in 1989’s hit “Look Who’s Talking,” as well as two sequels, wrote on Instagram on Monday: “Kirstie was one of the most special relationships I’ve ever had. I love you Kristie. I know we will see each other again.”
Jamie Lee Curtis – who worked with Alley on episodes of TV’s “Scream Queens” in 2016 – shared a statement on Facebook to pay tribute to the late actress, writing: “She was a great comedic foil in @tvscreamqueens and a beautiful mama bear in her very real life. She helped me buy rompers for my family for Christmas that year. We agreed that we disagreed on some things, but we had mutual respect and a connection. Sad news.”
Josh Gad tweeted, “My heart breaks for Kirstie and her family. Whether it was her brilliance in ‘Cheers; or her magnetic performance in the ‘Look Who’s Talking’ franchise, her smile was always contagious, her laugh was always contagious and her charisma was always iconic. REST IN PEACE.”
Alley’s “Cheers” co-star Ted Danson recounted deadline he had just seen Alley on an episode of the show while on a plane before learning of her death.
“I was on the plane today and did something I rarely do. I watched an old episode of ‘Cheers,'” Danson told the outlet. “It was the episode where Tom Berenger proposes to Kirstie, who keeps saying no, even though she really wants to say yes. Kirstie was really brilliant at it. Her ability to play a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown was both touching and hysterically funny.”
“She made me laugh 30 years ago when she shot that scene, and she made me laugh just as hard today. When I got off the plane, I heard that Kirstie had passed away. I am so sad and so grateful for all the times she made me laugh,” Danson added. “I send my love to her children. As they well know, their mother had a heart of gold. I will miss her.”
Another “Cheers” star, Rhea Perlman, told CNN in a statement that she and Alley became instant friends on the set of “Cheers.”
“Kirstie was a unique and wonderful person and friend. Her joy for being was boundless,” Perlman said. “We became friends almost instantly when she joined the cast of Cheers. She loved children and my children loved her too. We stayed at her house, with treasure hunts she invented. She had huge Halloween and Easter parties and invited all of the show’s crew and their families. She wanted everyone to feel involved. She loved her children dearly. I’ve never met anyone like her. I feel so grateful to have known her. I will miss her very, very much.”
“Baywatch” actor Parker Stevenson, who was married to Alley from 1983 to 1997 and is the father of her two children, also paid tribute to her on social media. In an Instagram post, confirmed by a rep for the actor that it belongs to Stevenson, he has wrote: “Kirstie, I am so thankful for our years together, and for the two incredibly beautiful children and now grandchildren we have. You will be missed.”