Kirstie Alley, a two-time Emmy Award-winning actor whose roles on Cheers, Look Who’s Talking, and Veronica’s Closet made her a beloved figure to viewers everywhere, passed away on Monday after a brief battle with cancer, according to her family. She was 71.
Her children, True and Lillie Parker, said, “We are heartbroken to inform you that our beautiful, fierce, and loving mother has passed away after a struggle with cancer, which was only recently found.” Alley’s social media pages were updated with a message in which they remembered her “zest and love for life” and “her eternal joy of creating.”
The statement said, “She fought with incredible strength and was surrounded by her closest relatives, leaving us with a certainty of her never-ending joy of living and whatever adventures lie ahead. As well-known off the screen, as she was on it, she was an even better mother and grandmother.
After making her acting debut as Rebecca Howe in the sixth season of Cheers, Alley quickly rose to fame. She won a Golden Globe and an Emmy in 1991 for her portrayal of Rebecca, the bar’s new manager, and Ted Danson’s down-to-earth barkeep’s love interest.
In her Emmy acceptance speech, Alley thanked her ex-husband Parker Stevenson as “the man who has given me the big one for the last eight years,” to a loud, scandalized applause from the audience. From 1983 to 1997, Stevenson and Alley were wed. They later divorced. The Los Angeles Times reported that they raised “about 40 animals, including dogs, cats, birds, and ring-tailed lemurs,” in addition to adopting two children, William True Stevenson and Lillie Price Stevenson.
According to the Times, Danson at the time referred to Alley as “a biker chick crossed with an earth mother.” Alley quickly gained enormous popularity and went on to appear in 147 episodes of Cheers until the show’s cancellation in 1993.
After Cheers, Alley maintained her relationship with NBC and returned in 1997 to play the lead character in the three-season sitcom Veronica’s Closet, which was created by the Friends writers and centered on a New York lingerie company owner.
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After beginning her career as a Starfleet commander-in-training under the guidance of Leonard Nimoy’s Spock in 1982’s Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Alley racked up a number of noteworthy film credits along the way. Prior to signing on with Cheers, Alley starred in the 1987 comedy Summer School as the teacher next door to Mark Harmon’s slick gym coach.
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She co-starred with John Travolta in 1989’s Look Who’s Talking, which continues to be one of her most cherished film roles. In the years that followed, the two Church of Scientology adherents remained extremely close, with Travolta even referring to Alley as his “soulmate” in 2019.
On Monday night, Travolta posted on Instagram that his relationship with Kirstie was “one of the most special relationships I’ve ever had.” “Kirstie, you are loved. I am confident that we shall cross paths again.
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Born in Wichita, Kansas, in 1951, Alley moved to Los Angeles after dropping out of college to pursue a career as an interior designer and to strengthen a growing relationship with Scientology. She joined the group in 1979 while dealing with substance abuse issues, and she credits Narconon, the organization’s drug rehabilitation program, with helping her kick her cocaine addiction.
At a later point in her career, Alley expanded her range, appearing as a fictionalized version of herself in the meta-comedy Fat Actress in 2005, serving as a spokesperson for Jenny Craig, making two appearances on Dancing With the Stars (where she finished second in 2011), and singing as the “Baby Mammoth” on The Masked Singer earlier this year.
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She later appeared in roles on The Middle, The Goldbergs, and Scream Queens’ second season, among other projects.
A Scream Queens co-star named Jamie Lee Curtis described Alley as “a beautiful mama bear in her very real life and a great comic foil on the show.”
She assisted me in purchasing onesies for my family for Christmas that year, Curtis recalled in a tribute Instagram post. “We respected and connected with each other even though we agreed to disagree on some issues. the bad news
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In addition to her affiliation with Scientology, Alley sparked controversy by publicly endorsing former President Donald Trump and declaring a month before the 2020 election that she would do the same thing she did in 2016. She complained about the industry backlash she had experienced for expressing her political views on Tucker Carlson Today in May of last year.
As long as, apparently, you didn’t vote for Trump, you can be making meth and sleeping with hookups, she told Carlson. With the whole idea of it, “I feel like I’m in The Twilight Zone, a bit.”
Alley tweeted, “Patriots: Do your best to not become Antifa.. we are better than that.. we come in Peace,” in support of the protesters who were rioting at the Capitol on January 6, 2021. Later that day, she added: “WAR SUCKS!!!!” in a another tweet. Even though it’s sometimes required, IT RUINS!
A few days later, she tweeted that the Capitol breach was “a treasonous criminal terrifying act and those people should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” clarifying her “stance on Jan. 6th.”