Kirstie Louise Alley
January 12, 1951
Wichita, Kansas, U.S.
|Died||December 5, 2022 (aged 71)|
Clearwater, Florida, U.S.
(m. 1971; div. 1977)
(m. 1983; div. 1997)
Kirstie Louise Alley (January 12, 1951 – December 5, 2022) was an American actress. Her breakout role was as Rebecca Howe in the NBC sitcom Cheers (1987–1993), for which she received an Emmy Award and a Golden Globe in 1991. From 1997 to 2000, she starred as the lead in the sitcom Veronica's Closet, earning additional Emmy and Golden Globe nominations. On film, she was perhaps best known for her role as Mollie Jensen in Look Who's Talking (1989) and its two sequels, Look Who's Talking Too (1990) and Look Who's Talking Now (1993).
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Alley appeared in various films, including Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982), Summer School (1987), Shoot to Kill (1988), Madhouse (1990), Sibling Rivalry (1990), Village of the Damned (1995), It Takes Two (1995), Deconstructing Harry (1997), For Richer or Poorer (1997), and Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999).
Alley won her second Emmy Award in 1994 for the television film David's Mother. In 1997, Alley received another Emmy nomination for her work in the crime drama series The Last Don. In 2005, she played a fictionalized version of herself on Showtime's Fat Actress, something she would also do on episodes of King of Queens and Hot in Cleveland, as well as in Syrup (2013). In 2013, Alley returned to acting with the title role on the sitcom Kirstie. In 2016, she appeared on the Fox comedy horror series Scream Queens.
She also appeared in reality television including Kirstie Alley's Big Life (2010) and served as a contestant on the 12th season of Dancing with the Stars (2011–2012), where she finished in second place, behind Hines Ward, and the 22nd series of the British reality show Celebrity Big Brother (2018), in which she finished as runner-up. In early 2022, she appeared on The Masked Singer.
Alley was born in Wichita, Kansas, to Robert Deal Alley, who owned a lumber company, and Lillian Alley. She had two siblings, Colette and Craig. Alley attended Wichita Southeast High School, graduating in 1969. She attended college at Kansas State University, dropping out after her sophomore year. After moving to Los Angeles to pursue Scientology and work as an interior designer, Alley appeared as a contestant on the game show Match Game in 1979. Winning both her games, she went on to win $500 in her first Super Match and $5,500 in her second. She also appeared on the game show Password Plus in 1980. On both shows, she described her profession as interior designer. In 1981, an automobile crash involving a drunk driver killed her mother and left her father seriously injured.
Alley made her film debut in 1982 in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan in the role of the Vulcan Starfleet officer Lieutenant Saavik. The Saavik character became very popular with Star Trek fans, but Alley chose not to reprise the role in the next two film sequels so the role was recast. She was also a regular on the ABC television series Masquerade from 1983 to 1984. In the years following, she starred in a number of smaller films, including One More Chance, Blind Date and Runaway. In 1985, she starred in the ABC miniseries North and South, and also portrayed feminist icon Gloria Steinem in the television movie A Bunny's Tale. In 1987, Alley starred alongside Mark Harmon in the comedy film Summer School. The film was a box office success, grossing over $35 million in the United States.
Later in 1987, Alley joined the cast of NBC sitcom Cheers, replacing Shelley Long. It became her breakout hit role and she remained with the show for six years until its eleventh and final season. In 1989, Alley starred with John Travolta in Look Who's Talking. The film grossed over $295 million worldwide. They then went on to make two other films centered on the same theme, Look Who's Talking Too and Look Who's Talking Now. After two Emmy Award nominations for her work on Cheers, in 1988 and 1990, she won the Emmy on her third nomination, in 1991. In her acceptance speech, she memorably thanked "my husband Parker, the man who has given me the big one for the last eight years."
Alley earned her second Emmy for the 1994 television film David's Mother. For her contributions to the film industry, Alley received a motion pictures star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7000 Hollywood Boulevard in 1995.
From 1997 to 2000, Alley played the title character in the NBC sitcom Veronica's Closet, as well as serving as executive producer on the show. She served as the spokesperson for Pier 1 Imports from 2000 to 2004, and for Jenny Craig from 2004 to 2007. She appeared as a contestant on seasons 12 and 15 of Dancing with the Stars, partnering with Maksim Chmerkovskiy.
TV Land aired a sitcom that centered on Alley as Broadway star Madison "Maddie" Banks, who reconnects with her adult son who she gave up for adoption shortly after he was born. The series was titled Kirstie, and reunited her with former Cheers co-star Rhea Perlman and Seinfeld star Michael Richards. The series premiered on December 4, 2013, and ran for one season before it was canceled, five months after ending its freshman run.
In 2018, Alley appeared on season 22 of the British series Celebrity Big Brother; she finished in second place. In 2022, Alley competed in season seven of The Masked Singer as "Baby Mammoth" of Team Cuddly.
Alley was married from 1971 to 1977 to high-school sweetheart Bob Alley, who coincidentally had the same name as her father. Alley married actor Parker Stevenson on December 22, 1983. After a miscarriage, the couple adopted their first child, a son, in October 1992, and in 1995, they adopted their second child, a girl. The marriage ended in 1997. In 2016, Alley became a grandmother through her son.
In 1988 and 2000 respectively, Alley purchased estates in Jacksonville, Oregon and Clearwater, Florida, retaining ownership of both properties until her death in 2022. From 1991 to 2020, Alley also resided on Islesboro Island, Maine. She once owned the Mitchell Cottage, formerly the Islesboro Inn, with her then husband.
On The Dr. Oz Show on September 17, 2012, Alley said she started gaining weight in late 2003, and that she had been a compulsive eater all her life without gaining weight, only noticing the change after she reached early menopause in 1992.
While working as a Jenny Craig spokesperson from 2004 to 2007, Alley lost 75 pounds (34 kilograms), bringing her weight down to 145 pounds (66 kg).
In May 2009, she told People magazine that, after parting ways with Jenny Craig, she gained 83 pounds (38 kg) and weighed as much as 228 pounds (103 kg).
In March 2010, after gossip blogger Roger Friedman alleged a link between her Organic Liaison weight-loss system and the Church of Scientology, Alley denied it on the Today program. In September 2011, Alley announced she had lost 100 pounds (45 kg) using weight loss products from Organic Liaison. In 2012, she faced a class-action lawsuit alleging false advertising; the suit claimed that her weight loss was the result of exercise, including training for the TV show Dancing with the Stars, not Organic Liaison products. She settled the suit in 2013, agreeing to remove the term "Proven Products" from packaging, issue a disclaimer on the brand's website that it is a "calorie-based weight-loss product", and pay a $130,000 settlement.
In April 2014, she resumed a role as a spokesperson with Jenny Craig; the Organic Liaison product line was acquired by Jenny Craig's parent company, and subsequently integrated into Jenny Craig's product line. In January 2015, Alley said that, since starting the Jenny Craig weight-loss program again, she had lost 50 pounds (23 kg).
Alley was raised as a Methodist; she became a member of the Church of Scientology in 1979. She said that until she became a Scientologist she had been addicted to cocaine but then went through Narconon, a Scientology-affiliated drug treatment program, to end her addiction. By 2007, she had attained the level of OT VII (Operating Thetan Level 7), and by 2018, she was New OT VIII. Alley said: "Scientology made me a lot stronger and tougher ... It's made me more honest and more willing to take responsibility for other people." Alley gave $5 million to the church in 2007.
As a member of the Church of Scientology, Alley chose not to, though was never asked to, reprise her role as Rebecca Howe on any episode of Frasier, because the series was centered on the field of medical psychiatrists; she was the only former Cheers regular not to do so.
Alley stated that in past presidential elections, she had backed both Democratic and Republican nominees, but decided not to vote in 1988 and 2004. In August 2015, Alley tweeted that she would not support Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee, during the 2016 presidential election, and on April 8, 2016, she tweeted her support for Republicans Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani. On October 8, 2016, Alley retracted her endorsement of Trump, tweeting, "I hate this election and I'm officially no longer endorsing either candidate."
In October 2020, she stated she had indeed voted for Trump in 2016 and intended to vote for him again in 2020 because "he's NOT a politician." She also endorsed Republican John James in the 2020 United States Senate election in Michigan.
Alley was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer in May 2022 following a doctor’s visit for a sore back. Despite chemotherapy treatments at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida, she died at her home in Clearwater on December 5, 2022, at the age of 71.
Her ex-husband Parker Stevenson, her two children, Look Who's Talking co-star John Travolta, and other celebrities posted their condolences on social media. Her Cheers co-stars Ted Danson, Kelsey Grammer, and Rhea Perlman also released statements memorializing her.
|1982||Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan||Saavik|||
|1983||One More Chance||Sheila|||
|Blind Date||Claire Simpson|||
|1987||Summer School||Ms. Robin Elizabeth Bishop|||
|1988||She's Having a Baby||Herself||Uncredited|
|Shoot to Kill||Sarah Rennell|||
|1989||Loverboy||Dr. Joyce Palmer|||
|Look Who's Talking||Mollie Jensen|||
|Sibling Rivalry||Marjorie Turner|||
|Look Who's Talking Too||Mollie Jensen Ubriacco|||
|1993||Look Who's Talking Now|||
|1995||Village of the Damned||Dr. Susan Verner|||
|It Takes Two||Diane Barrows|||
|1996||Sticks & Stones||Joey's mother|||
|For Richer or Poorer||Caroline Sexton|||
|1999||The Mao Game||Diane Highland|||
|Drop Dead Gorgeous||Gladys Leeman|||
|2004||Back by Midnight||Gloria Beaumont|||
|2015||Accidental Love||Aunt Rita|||
|1978||Quark||Handmaiden (uncredited)||Episode: "The Old and the Beautiful"|
|1979||Match Game||Herself||3 episodes|
|1983||Highway Honeys||Draggin' Lady||Television film|
|1983||The Love Boat||Marion Stevens||Episode: "The World's Greatest Kisser/Don't Take My Wife, Please/The Reluctant Father"|
|1983–84||Masquerade||Casey Collins||Main cast|
|1984||Sins of the Past||Patrice Cantwell||Television film|
|1985||A Bunny's Tale||Gloria Steinem||Television film|
|1985–86||North and South||Virgilia Hazard||Miniseries; main cast|
|1985–87||The Hitchhiker||Jane L. Angelica||2 episodes|
|1986||Prince of Bel Air||Jamie Harrison||Television film|
|Stark: Mirror Image||Maggie Carter||Television film|
|1987–93||Cheers||Rebecca Howe||Series regular|
|1987||Infidelity||Ellie Denato||Television film|
|1988||Mickey's 60th Birthday||Rebecca Howe||Television film|
|1990||Masquerade||Casey Collins||Television film|
|1991–93||Saturday Night Live||Herself / host||2 episodes|
|1991||Flesh 'n' Blood||Starr Baxter||Episode: "Arlo and Starr"|
|1992||My Name Is Prince||Vanessa Bartholomew||Music Video|
|1993||Wings||Rebecca Howe||Episode: "I Love Brian"|
|1994||David's Mother||Sally Goodson||Television film|
|1995||Peter and the Wolf||Annie/Bird/Duck (voice)||Television film|
|1996||Radiant City||Gloria Goodman||Television film|
|Suddenly||Marty Doyle||Television film; also writer|
|1997–2000||Veronica's Closet||Veronica Chase||Series regular; also producer|
|1997||Ink||Dahlia||Episode: "Breaking the Rules"|
|Toothless||Dr. Katherine Lewis||Television film|
|The Last Don||Rose Marie Clericuzio||Miniseries; main cast|
|1998||The Last Don II||Miniseries; main cast|
|2001||Blonde||Elsie||Miniseries; main cast|
|Dharma & Greg||Dr. Tish (uncredited)||Episode: "The End of the Innocence: Part 1"|
|2002||Glory Days||Mike's Agent||Unaired pilot|
|2003||Salem Witch Trials||Ann Putnam||Television film|
|2003||Profoundly Normal||Donna Lee Shelby Thornton||Television film; also executive producer|
|2004||Without a Trace||Noreen Raab||Episode: "Risen"|
|Family Sins||Brenda Geck||Television film|
|While I Was Gone||Jo Beckett||Television film|
|2005||Fat Actress||Kirstie Alley||Series regular; also writer / executive producer|
|2006||The King of Queens||Episode: "Apartment Complex"|
|2007||Write & Wrong (aka. And She Was)||Byrdie Langdon||Television film; also executive producer|
|The Minister of Divine||Sydney Hudson||Television film|
|2008||The Hills||Herself||Episode: "Girls Night Out"|
|2010||Kirstie Alley's Big Life||Series regular; also executive producer|
|2011–12||Dancing with the Stars||34 episodes; contestant|
|2012||The Manzanis||Angela||Television film|
|2013||Baby Sellers||Carla Huxley||Television film|
|2013–14||Kirstie||Maddie Banks||Series regular; also executive producer|
|Hot in Cleveland||Maddie Banks
|2015||The Middle||Pam Staggs||Episode: "Pam Freakin' Staggs"|
|Time Crashers||Herself||Main cast (season 1)|
|Scream Queens||Ingrid Hoffel||Main cast (season 2)|
|2018||Celebrity Big Brother 22||Herself||Runner-up; housemate|
|2019||The Goldbergs||Janice Bartlett||Episode: "Food in a Geoffy"|
|2020||You Can't Take My Daughter||Suzanne||Television film|
|2022||The Masked Singer||Baby Mammoth||Eliminated in eighth episode of season 7|
Alley's work was honored by multiple associations throughout her career. For her role in the sitcom Cheers, she earned four Golden Globe Award nominations winning one for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy in 1991, and five Primetime Emmy Award nominations winning one for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series in 1991.
On November 10, 1995, Alley was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her contributions to motion pictures.
|1989||American Comedy Awards||Funniest Female Performer in a Television Series||Cheers||Nominated|||
|1990||Funniest Female Performer in a Television Series||Cheers||Nominated|||
|1990||Funniest Actress in a Motion Picture||Look Who's Talking||Nominated|||
|1991||Funniest Female Performer in a Television Series||Cheers||Nominated|||
|1998||Funniest Female Performer in a Television Series||Veronica's Closet||Nominated|||
|1993||American Television Awards||Best Actress in a Situation Comedy||Cheers||Nominated|||
|1990||Bravo Otto Awards||Best Actress||Look Who's Talking||Nominated|||
|1991||Best Actress||Look Who's Talking Too||Nominated|||
|1987||CableACE Awards||Actress in a Dramatic Series||The Hitchhiker||Nominated|||
|1988||Actress in a Dramatic Series||Nominated|||
|1990||Golden Globe Awards||Best Actress in a Television Series – Comedy or Musical||Cheers||Nominated|||
|1991||Best Actress in a Television Series – Comedy or Musical||Won|||
|1992||Best Actress in a Television Series – Comedy or Musical||Nominated|||
|1993||Best Actress in a Television Series – Comedy or Musical||Nominated|||
|1995||Best Actress in a Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television||David's Mother||Nominated|||
|1998||Best Actress in a Television Series – Comedy or Musical||Veronica's Closet||Nominated|||
|1990||Nickelodeon Kid's Choice Awards||Favorite Movie Actress||Look Who's Talking||Nominated|||
|1991||Favorite Television Actress||Cheers||Nominated|||
|1996||Favorite Movie Actress||It Takes Two||Nominated|||
|1998||Favorite Television Actress||Veronica's Closet||Nominated|||
|1988||People's Choice Awards||Favorite Female Television Performer||Cheers||Nominated|||
|1990||Favorite Female Television Performer||Nominated|||
|1991||Favorite Female Television Performer||Won|||
|1992||Favorite Female Television Performer||Nominated|||
|1993||Favorite Female Television Performer||Nominated|||
|1998||Favorite Female Performer in a New Television Series||Veronica's Closet||Won|||
|1988||Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series||Cheers||Nominated|||
|1990||Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series||Cheers||Nominated|||
|1991||Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series||Won|||
|1992||Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series||Nominated|||
|1993||Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series||Nominated|||
|1994||Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Special||David's Mother||Won|||
|1997||Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Special||The Last Don||Nominated|||
|1998||Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series||Veronica's Closet||Nominated|||
|1997||Satellite Awards||Best Actress in a Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television||Suddenly||Nominated|||
|1983||Saturn Awards||Best Supporting Actress||Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan||Nominated|||
|1985||Best Supporting Actress||Runaway||Nominated|||
|1998||Screen Actors Guild Awards||Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series||Veronica's Closet||Nominated|||
|1997||The Stinkers Bad Movie Awards||Worst On-Screen Couple (shared with Tim Allen)||For Richer or Poorer||Nominated|||
|1999||Worst Supporting Actress||Drop Dead Gorgeous||Nominated|||
|1990||Viewers for Quality Television Awards||Best Actress in a Quality Comedy Series||Cheers||Nominated|||
|1991||Best Actress in a Quality Comedy Series||Nominated|||
|1992||Best Actress in a Quality Comedy Series||Nominated|||