Emmy-winning comedic actress Kirstie Alley who was known for her roles in Cheers, Veronica’s Closet and three Look Who’s Talking films, lost her short battle with cancer. Alley 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,” her family said in a statement on Facebook. “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.”
The family statement added they were “grateful for the incredible team of doctors and nurses at Moffitt Cancer Center” in Tampa, Florida.
Alley was born in Wichita, Kansas to Robert Deal Alley, who owned a lumber company, and Lillian Alley. After attending Wichita Southeast High School, Alley attended college at Kansas State University. She dropped out after her sophomore year.
After moving to Los Angeles to become an interior designer, Alley first appeared as a contestant on the game show Match Game in 1979. She also appeared on the game show Password Plus in 1980.
Alley made her film debut in 1982 in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, playing the Vulcan Starfleet officer Lieutenant Saavik, but chose not to reprise that role in the next two sequels, later saying she was offered less money than for Star Trek II.
In the years following, she starred in a number of smaller films, including One More Chance, Blind Date and Runaway. In 1985, she played Virgilia Hazard in the ABC miniseries North and South, Books I and II.
In 1987, Alley would take over for a departing Shelley Long on Cheers. She played Rebecca Howe on the Boston-based series, earning eight Emmy nominations. Eventually, Alley won in 1991. She would stay with the series until its conclusion in 1993
She then starred on NBC’s Veronica’s Closet as Veronica “Ronnie” Chase, the head of a New York lingerie company from 1997 to December 2000.
While continuing to act on TV, Alley also nabbed starring roles in movies. She played the accountant Mollie Jensen, a single mother who has a baby (voiced by Bruce Willis), opposite John Travolta in the hit comedy Look Who’s Talking (1989), directed by Amy Heckerling, then returned for sequels in 1990 and 1993.
In 2022, Alley competed in season seven of The Masked Singer as “Baby Mammoth” of Team Cuddly.
Alley had an ongoing battle with her weight, leading her to become a spokeswoman for Jenny Craig. From 2004 to 2007, Alley lost 75 pounds.
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