Log In


Reset Password
  • MENU
    Nation
    Saturday, February 04, 2023

    Actress Kirstie Alley dies at 71 of cancer that was ‘only recently discovered’

    Kirstie Alley holds her trophy for Favorite Female Television Performer during the People's Choice Awards on March 11, 1991, in Los Angeles. Alley won for her role as Rebecca on "Cheers." Alley, a two-time Emmy winner who starred in the 1980s sitcom “Cheers” and the hit film “Look Who’s Talking,” has died. She was 71. Her death was announced Monday by her children on social media and confirmed by her manager. The post said their mother died of cancer that was recently diagnosed. (AP Photo/Julie Markes, File)
    Boston Red Sox third baseman Wade Boggs, center, poses, March 2, 1988, with the cast of "Cheers" during rehearsal for an episode in which he appears. Cast members include, John Ratzenberger, Rhea Perlman, George Wendt, Woody Harrelson, Kirstie Alley and Ted Danson. Alley, a two-time Emmy winner who starred in the 1980s sitcom “Cheers” and the hit film “Look Who’s Talking,” has died. She was 71. Her death was announced Monday by her children on social media and confirmed by her manager. The post said their mother died of cancer that was recently diagnosed. (AP Photo/Ira Mark Gostin, File)
    In this Jan. 5, 2015, file photo, Kirstie Alley attends the premiere of HBO's "Girls" fourth season in New York. Alley is joining the cast in the second season of "Scream Queens," premiering Sept. 20, on Fox. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

    Actress Kirstie Alley has died of cancer, her family announced Monday evening.

    Alley, 71, was battling cancer “only recently discovered,” according to a statement by her children, True and Lillie Parker.

    “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,” said the statement shared on Alley’s social media.

    Her family thanked doctors and nurses at the Florida-based Moffitt Cancer Center.

    Alley, a Kansas native, rose to fame after taking over the female lead on “Cheers” in 1987 after the departure of Shelley Long and her character, Diane Chambers.

    The much-beloved sitcom not only survived but thrived after the cast shake-up, with Alley’s character, Rebecca Howe, as the new manager of the show’s titular bar.

    In 1989, Alley teamed with John Travolta and director Amy Heckerling in one of the year’s biggest and perhaps most surprising smashes, “Look Who’s Talking,” which earned nearly $140 million at the domestic box office.

    She later starred in the sitcom “Veronica’s Closet,” which ran from 1997 to 2000.

    Alley was a show-business natural who resisted the urge to go into the industry until she was well into her 20s, according to an Aug. 20, 1987, Los Angeles Times article about her joining the cast of “Cheers.”

    She worked as an interior decorator in Wichita until she packed up and drove to Hollywood one day in 1981 “on an impulse.” Six months later, she was making her feature film debut in “Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan.”

    “I’d always wanted to be a star,” she said at the time. “I’m from an ordinary middle-class family in Kansas. When I was 5 I announced I wanted to be an actress. They laughed. I thought to myself, ‘I will, I will, I will — and when you least expect it!’”

    At the time she moved to Hollywood, she said, she knew one person in California, who did not work in entertainment.

    “I figured if you went in and auditioned and were good they would hire you,” Alley said. “Isn’t that ridiculous?”

    But the parts came in.

    In recent years, Alley sparred with establishment Hollywood figures over her conservative political views.

    The actor claimed she was “blackballed” from the industry after voting for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election.

    “On Twitter I had many celebrities follow me and now I think three follow me,” she told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson in 2021. “I’m the same person. I’m the girl who voted for Obama, twice. And I’m like, ‘Oh, so you liked me when I voted for Obama, and now you’re this?’ And it’s made me have to rethink, weirdly, my whole friendships, all my friendships.”

    Comment threads are monitored for 48 hours after publication and then closed.