Kirstie Alley
Alley at the 46th Primetime Emmy Awards in 1994
Kirstie Louise Alley

(1951-01-12)January 12, 1951
DiedDecember 5, 2022(2022-12-05) (aged 71)
  • Actress
  • television personality
Years active1978–2022
Bob Alley
(m. 1971; div. 1977)
(m. 1983; div. 1997)
AwardsHollywood Walk of Fame

Kirstie Louise Alley[1] (January 12, 1951 – December 5, 2022) was an American actress. Her breakthrough 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 played 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.

Early life

Alley was born in Wichita, Kansas,[1] to Robert Deal Alley, who owned a lumber company,[2] and Lillian Alley.[3] She had two siblings, Colette and Craig. Alley attended Wichita Southeast High School, graduating in 1969.[2] She attended college at Kansas State University, dropping out after her sophomore year.[2] 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.[4] Winning both her games, she went on to win $500 in her first Super Match and $5,500 in her second.[5] 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[3] killed her mother and left her father seriously injured.[2]


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.[6] 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.[7] She was also a regular on the ABC television series Masquerade from 1983 to 1984.[8] 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,[9] and also portrayed feminist icon Gloria Steinem in the television movie A Bunny's Tale.[8] 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.[10]

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.[11] 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.[12] After two Emmy Award nominations for her work on Cheers, in 1988 and 1990, she won the Emmy on her third nomination, in 1991.[13] In her acceptance speech, she memorably thanked "my husband Parker, the man who has given me the big one for the last eight years."[14]

Alley earned her second Emmy for the 1994 television film David's Mother.[13] 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.[15]

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.[16] She appeared as a contestant on seasons 12 and 15 of Dancing with the Stars, partnering with Maksim Chmerkovskiy.[17][18]

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,[19] and ran for one season before it was canceled, five months after ending its freshman run.[20]

In 2018, Alley appeared on season 22 of the British series Celebrity Big Brother; she finished in second place.[17]

In 2022, Alley competed in season seven of The Masked Singer as "Baby Mammoth" of Team Cuddly.[21]

Personal life

Alley was married from 1971 to 1977 to high-school sweetheart Bob Alley, who coincidentally had the same name as her father.[22][23] Alley married actor Parker Stevenson on December 22, 1983.[24] After a miscarriage, the couple adopted their first child, a son, in October 1992, and in 1995, they adopted their second child, a girl.[24] The marriage ended in 1997.[23] In 2016, Alley became a grandmother through her son.[25]

In 1988 and 2000 respectively, Alley purchased estates in Jacksonville, Oregon, and Clearwater, Florida, retaining ownership of both properties until her death in 2022.[26][27] 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 Stevenson.[28]

Body image

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.[29]

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).[30]

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).[31]

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.[32] In September 2011, Alley announced she had lost 100 pounds (45 kg) using weight loss products from Organic Liaison.[33] 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.[34][35]

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.[34] In January 2015, Alley said that, since starting the Jenny Craig weight-loss program again, she had lost 50 pounds (23 kg).[36]


Alley was raised as a Methodist;[37] 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,[38] to end her addiction.[39] By 2007, she had attained the level of OT VII (Operating Thetan Level 7),[40] and by 2018, she was New OT VIII.[41][42] 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."[17] Alley gave $5 million to the church in 2007.[43]

Due to her commitment to the Church of Scientology, Alley decided not to reprise her role as Rebecca Howe on any episode of the Cheers spinoff Frasier, because the series was centered on the field of medical psychiatry, with different ideas than those of the Church; she was the only former Cheers regular not to do so.[44]


Alley stated that in past presidential elections, she had backed both Democratic and Republican nominees, and independent Ross Perot in 1992, but decided not to vote in 1988 and 2004.[45][46] 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.[47][48] On October 8, 2016, Alley retracted her endorsement of Trump, tweeting, "I hate this election and I'm officially no longer endorsing either candidate."[49]

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."[50] She also endorsed Republican John James in the 2020 U.S. Senate election in Michigan.[51]


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.[52][53][54][55]

Her ex-husband Parker Stevenson, her two children, Look Who's Talking co-star John Travolta,[56] and other celebrities posted their condolences on social media.[57] Her Cheers co-stars Ted Danson, Kelsey Grammer, and Rhea Perlman also released statements memorializing her.[58]



List of performances by Kirstie Alley in film
Year Title Role Notes
1982 Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan Saavik [59]
1983 One More Chance Sheila [60]
1984 Champions Barbara [60]
Blind Date Claire Simpson [60]
Runaway Jackie Rogers [60]
1987 Summer School Ms. Robin Elizabeth Bishop [60]
1988 She's Having a Baby Herself Uncredited[61]
Shoot to Kill Sarah Rennell [60]
1989 Loverboy Dr. Joyce Palmer [60][59]
Look Who's Talking Mollie Jensen [60]
1990 Madhouse Jessie Bannister [59]
Sibling Rivalry Marjorie Turner [60][59]
Look Who's Talking Too Mollie Jensen Ubriacco [59]
1993 Look Who's Talking Now [59]
1995 Village of the Damned Dr. Susan Verner [59]
It Takes Two Diane Barrows [60]
1996 Sticks & Stones Joey's mother [59]
1997 Nevada McGill Also co-producer[60]
Deconstructing Harry Joan [60]
For Richer or Poorer Caroline Sexton [60]
1999 The Mao Game Diane Highland [60]
Drop Dead Gorgeous Gladys Leeman [60]
2004 Back by Midnight Gloria Beaumont [59]
2013 Syrup Kirstie Alley [59]
2015 Accidental Love Aunt Rita [60]


List of performances by Kirstie Alley in television
Year Title Role Notes
1978 Quark Handmaiden (uncredited) Episode: "The Old and the Beautiful"[62]
1979 Match Game Herself 3 episodes[62]
1980 Password Plus Herself 1 episode
1983 Highway Honeys Draggin' Lady Television film[63]
The Love Boat Marion Stevens Episode: "The World's Greatest Kisser/Don't Take My Wife, Please/The Reluctant Father"[59]
1983–84 Masquerade Casey Collins Main cast[60]
1984 Sins of the Past Patrice Cantwell Television film[59]
1985 A Bunny's Tale Gloria Steinem Television film[59]
1985–86 North and South Virgilia Hazard Miniseries; main cast[59]
1985–87 The Hitchhiker Jane L. Angelica 2 episodes[64]
1986 Prince of Bel Air Jamie Harrison Television film[64]
Stark: Mirror Image Maggie Carter Television film[64]
1987–93 Cheers Rebecca Howe Series regular – 148 episodes[59][60][64]
1987 Infidelity Ellie Denato Television film[64]
1988 Mickey's 60th Birthday Rebecca Howe Television film[65]
1990 Masquerade: The Movie Casey Collins Television film[64]
1991–93 Saturday Night Live Herself / host 2 episodes[64]
1991 Flesh 'n' Blood Starr Baxter Episode: "Arlo and Starr"[66]
1992 My Name Is Prince Vanessa Bartholomew Music video[67]
1993 Wings Rebecca Howe Episode: "I Love Brian"[59]
1994 David's Mother Sally Goodson Television film[59]
1995 Peter and the Wolf Annie/Bird/Duck (voice) Television film[64]
1996 Radiant City Gloria Goodman Television film[64]
Suddenly Marty Doyle Television film; also writer[64]
1997–2000 Veronica's Closet Veronica Chase Series regular; also producer[59]
1997 Ink Dahlia Episode: "Breaking the Rules"[59]
Toothless Dr. Katherine Lewis Television film[64]
The Last Don Rose Marie Clericuzio Miniseries; main cast[59]
1998 The Last Don II Miniseries; main cast[59]
2001 Blonde Elsie Miniseries; main cast[59]
Dharma & Greg Dr. Tish (uncredited) Episode: "The End of the Innocence: Part 1"[59]
2002 Glory Days Mike's Agent Unaired pilot[68]
2003 Salem Witch Trials Ann Putnam Television film[60]
Profoundly Normal Donna Lee Shelby Thornton Television film; also executive producer[60]
2004 Without a Trace Noreen Raab Episode: "Risen"[59]
Family Sins Brenda Geck Television film[59]
While I Was Gone Jo Beckett Television film[64]
2005 Fat Actress Kirstie Alley Series regular; also writer / executive producer[59]
2006 The King of Queens Episode: "Apartment Complex"[59]
2007 Write & Wrong Byrdie Langdon Television film; also executive producer[64]
The Minister of Divine Sydney Hudson Television film[69]
2008 The Hills Herself Episode: "Girls Night Out"[59]
2010 Kirstie Alley's Big Life Series regular; also executive producer[59]
2011–12 Dancing with the Stars 34 episodes; contestant[64]
2012 The Manzanis Angela Television film[70]
2013 Baby Sellers Carla Huxley Television film[64]
2013–14 Kirstie Maddie Banks Series regular; also executive producer
Hot in Cleveland Maddie Banks
Kirstie Alley
2 episodes[59]
2015 The Middle Pam Staggs Episode: "Pam Freakin' Staggs"[59]
Time Crashers Herself Main cast (season 1)[60]
2016 Flaked Jackie Episode: "Palms"[71]
Scream Queens Nurse Ingrid M. Hoffel (née Bean) / The Green Meanie #4 Main cast (season 2)[59]
2018 Celebrity Big Brother 22 Herself Runner-up; housemate[64]
2019 The Goldbergs Janice Bartlett Episode: "Food in a Geoffy"[72]
2020 You Can't Take My Daughter Suzanne Television film[59]
2022 The Masked Singer Herself/Baby Mammoth Season 7 contestant; Eliminated in eighth episode of season 7[73]

Awards and nominations

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 once for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy in 1991;[74] and five Primetime Emmy Award nominations, winning one for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series in 1991. She won an additional Emmy for her role in the television film, David's Mother (1994).[13]

On November 10, 1995, Alley was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her contributions to motion pictures.[75]

List of awards nominated for or won by Kirstie Alley for acting performances
Year Association Category Title Result Ref.
1989 American Comedy Awards Funniest Female Performer in a Television Series Cheers Nominated [76]
1990 Nominated [77]
Funniest Actress in a Motion Picture Look Who's Talking Nominated [77]
1991 Funniest Female Performer in a Television Series Cheers Nominated [78]
1998 Veronica's Closet Nominated [79]
1993 American Television Awards Best Actress in a Situation Comedy Cheers Nominated [citation needed]
1990 Bravo Otto Awards Best Actress Look Who's Talking Nominated [80]
1991 Look Who's Talking Too Nominated [81]
1987 CableACE Awards Actress in a Dramatic Series The Hitchhiker Nominated [82][83][84]
1988 Nominated [citation needed]
1990 Golden Globe Awards Best Actress in a Television Series – Comedy or Musical Cheers Nominated [74]
1991 Won [74]
1992 Nominated [74]
1993 Nominated [74]
1995 Best Actress in a Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television David's Mother Nominated [74]
1998 Best Actress in a Television Series – Comedy or Musical Veronica's Closet Nominated [74]
1990 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Movie Actress Look Who's Talking Nominated [85]
1991 Look Who's Talking Too Nominated [86]
Favorite Television Actress Cheers Nominated [87][86]
1996 Favorite Movie Actress It Takes Two Nominated [88]
1998 Favorite Television Actress Veronica's Closet Nominated [89]
1988 People's Choice Awards Favorite Female Television Performer Cheers Nominated [citation needed]
1990 Nominated [citation needed]
1991 Won [90][91]
1992 Nominated [92]
1993 Nominated [citation needed]
1998 Favorite Female Performer in a New Television Series Veronica's Closet Won [93]
1988 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series Cheers Nominated [13]
1990 Nominated [13]
1991 Won [13]
1992 Nominated [13]
1993 Nominated [13]
1994 Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Special David's Mother Won [13]
1997 Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Special The Last Don Nominated [13]
1998 Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series Veronica's Closet Nominated [13]
1997 Satellite Awards Best Actress in a Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television Suddenly Nominated [94]
1983 Saturn Awards Best Supporting Actress Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan Nominated [95]
1985 Runaway Nominated [96]
1998 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series Veronica's Closet Nominated [97]
1997 The Stinkers Bad Movie Awards Worst On-Screen Couple (shared with Tim Allen) For Richer or Poorer Nominated [98]
1999 Worst Supporting Actress Drop Dead Gorgeous Nominated [99]
1990 Viewers for Quality Television Awards Best Actress in a Quality Comedy Series Cheers Nominated [citation needed]
1991 Nominated [citation needed]
1992 Nominated [citation needed]

See also


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  4. ^ Kovalchik, Kara (June 24, 2016). "11 Fun Facts About Match Game". Mental Floss. Retrieved January 5, 2023.
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  6. ^ "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan review – Spock and Kirk shine in charming Enterprise revisit". the Guardian. September 1, 2022. Retrieved December 6, 2022.
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  45. ^ Kirstie Alley [@kirstiealley] (September 7, 2020). "My voting history: not that you asked 🤣
    McGovern D (LOST)
    Carter D (W)
    Reagan R (W)
    Reagan R (W)
    Clinton D (W)
    Clinton D (W)
    W Busch [sic] R (W)
    Obama D (W)
    Obama D (W)
    Trump (W)
    Trump R
    Other than McGovern & 2 terms I refused to vote, my guys won! Imma good bet!"
    (Tweet). Retrieved February 14, 2023 – via Twitter.
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