Kirstie Alley, Emmy-winning ‘Cheers’ star, dies at 71

Kirstie Alley attends the LA premiere of "The Fanatic" at the Egyptian Theatre on Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP) (Richard Shotwell, 2019 Invision)

Kirstie Alley, an Emmy-award winning actor known for her role in the comedy series “Cheers,” has died following a battle with cancer, her children announced Monday in a post on Twitter. She was 71.

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

She starred opposite Ted Danson as Rebecca Howe on “Cheers,” the beloved NBC sitcom about a Boston bar, from 1987 to 1993. She joined the show at the height of its popularity after the departure of original star Shelley Long.

Alley would win an Emmy for best lead actress in a comedy series for the role in 1991. She would take a second Emmy for best lead actress in a miniseries or television movie in 1993 for playing the title role in the CBS TV movie “David’s Mother.”

She had her own sitcom on the network, “Veronica’s Closet,” from 1997 to 2000.

In the 1989 comedy “Look Who’s Talking,” which gave her a major career boost, she played the mother of a baby who’s inner thoughts were voiced by Bruce Willis. She would also appear in the 1990 sequel “Look Who’s Talking Too.”

John Travolta, her co-star in both films, paid her tribute in an Instagram post.

“Kirstie was one of the most special relationships I’ve ever had,” Travolta said, along with a photo of Alley. “I love you Kirstie. I know we will see each other again.”

She would play a fictionalized version of herself in the 2005 Showtime series “Fat Actress,” a show that drew comedy from her public and media treatment over her weight gain and loss.

And in recent years she appeared on several reality shows, including “Dancing With the Stars.”

A native of Wichita, Kansas, Alley attended Kansas State University before dropping out and moving to Los Angeles.

Her first television appearances were as a game show contestant, on “The Match Game” in 1979 and Password” in 1980.

She made her film debut in 1982′s “Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan.”

Other film roles included 1987′s “Summer School,” 1995′s “Village of the Damned” and 1999′s “Drop Dead Gorgeous.”

Alley was married to her high school sweetheart from 1970 to 1977, and to actor Parker Stevenson from 1983 until 1997.

She told the AP in 2010 if she married again, “I’d leave the guy within 24 hours because I’m sure he’d tell me not to do something.”


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