‘Cheers’ Stars Mourn Kirstie Alley, Following Her Private Cancer Battle

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Kirstie Alley (Photo via her Facebook page)

Kirstie Alley, who starred for six seasons as Rebecca Howe in the TV sitcom, Cheers, died today (Dec. 5, 2022) at 71. The news of the Emmy Award winner’s death of cancer, only recently discovered, was shared by her family on her social media accounts.

Alley, born Jan. 12, 1951, in Wichita, Kansas, made her feature film debut in 1982’s Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, playing the Vulcan Starfleet officer. She joined the cast of Cheers, the anchor of NBC’s long-running Must-See TV lineup on Thursday evenings in 1987, replacing Shelley Long and remained with the show until its eleventh (and final) season. She earned an Emmy Award for her role as Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series in 1991 after being nominated twice earlier.

Her Cheers co-star, Ted Danson, told People, “I was on a plane today and did something I rarely do. I watched an old episode of Cheers. It was the episode where Tom Berenger proposes to Kirstie, who keeps saying no, even though she desperately wants to say yes. Kirstie was truly brilliant in it. Her ability to play a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown was both moving and hysterically funny.

“As I got off the plane, I heard that Kirstie had died. I am so sad and so grateful for all the times she made me laugh. I will miss her.”

Fellow Cheers star Rhea Perlman wrote, “Kirstie was a unique and wonderful person and friend,” she said. “Her joy of being was boundless. We became friends almost instantly when she joined the cast. She had massive Halloween and Easter parties, and invited the entire crew of the show, and their families. She wanted everyone to feel included. I’ve never met anyone remotely like her. I feel so thankful to have known her. I’m going to miss her very, very much.”

Kelsey Grammer, another member of Cheers‘ great ensemble cast, wrote, “I always believed grief for a public figure is a private matter, but I will say I loved her.”

In 1989, she starred opposite John Travolta in the feature film Look Who’s Talking. In a tribute, her co-star wrote, “Kirstie was one of the most special relationships I’ve ever had.” See his full tribute below.

Watch Alley and her Cheers co-star Ted Danson

A classic scene…

The family’s complete statement: To all our friends, far and wide around the world…

We are sad to inform you that our incredible, fierce and loving mother has passed away after a battle with cancer, only recently discovered.

She was surrounded by her closest family and fought with great strength, leaving us with a certainty of her never-ending joy of living and whatever adventures lie ahead. As iconic as she was on screen, she was an even more amazing mother and grandmother.

We are grateful to the incredible team of doctors and nurses at the Moffitt Cancer Center for their care.
Our mother’s zest and passion for life, her children, grandchildren and her many animals, not to mention her eternal joy of creating, were unparalleled and leave us inspired to live life to the fullest just as she did.

We thank you for your love and prayers and ask that you respect our privacy at this difficult time.

With love always,
True and Lillie Parker

Alley’s ex-husband, fellow actor Parker Stevenson, paid tribute.

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  1. Lorelei
    #1 Lorelei 6 December, 2022, 00:47

    People need to stop dying! Every day one or more people that I like keep dying and it’s heartbreaking :'( This one was another shocker. Thank you for all of the laughs Kirstie <3

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