Former ‘Cheers’ star Kirstie Alley, 71, dies from cancer, children say

Kirstie Alley attends the LA premiere of "The Fanatic" at the Egyptian Theatre on Thursday,...
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 | Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
Published: Dec. 5, 2022 at 7:33 PM CST
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TAMPA, Fla. (WVUE) - Actress Kirstie Alley, who rose to stardom with a seven-season stint on the NBC sitcom “Cheers” starting in the late 1980s, has died of cancer at age 71, her children said in a social media post.

“We are sad to inform you that our incredible, fierce and loving mother has passed away after a battle with cancer, only recently discovered,” True and Lillie Parker wrote in a post on Alley’s official Twitter page. “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.”

Alley’s manager Donovan Daughtry confirmed the death in an email to The Associated Press.

The post thanked the doctors and nurses of the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa for their efforts in Alley’s treatment.

Alley made her film debut in 1982′s “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan,” portraying the Vulcan Starfleet officer Lt. Saavik. She co-starred with Mark Harmon in the 1987 comedy “Summer School,” but it was her television break later that year that made her a household name. When “Cheers” co-star Shelley Long engaged in a salary dispute, producers of NBC’s top-rated sitcom replaced her with Alley. Alley’s feisty character Rebecca Lowe became the new love interest of former pitcher-turned-bartender Sam Malone, portrayed by Ted Danson.

Alley remained on “Cheers” through its 11th and final season, then went on to co-star with John Travolta in the comedy film trilogy “Look Who’s Talking,” “Look Who’s Talking Too” and “Look Who’s Talking Now.”

From 1997-2000, Alley starred in her own NBC sitcom, “Veronica’s Closet,” for which she also served as executive producer.

Alley’s personal weight loss journey also made her recognizable, as she once shed 75 pounds while serving as the spokesperson for Jenny Craig from 2004-07. Two years later, she told People magazine, she had regained 83 pounds after parting ways with the diet company. In 2015, she said she lost 50 pounds since re-signing as a Jenny Craig spokesperson.

Alley, who was born Jan. 12, 1951, in Wichita, Kansas, also was a prominent member of the Church of Scientology, donating $5 million to the church in 2007.

Alley also tweeted her support for former President Donald Trump, and on Jan. 6, 2021, for the rioters storming the US Capitol, whom she called “Patriots.”

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