Kirstie Alley, Actress on ‘Cheers’ ‘Veronica’s Closet,’ and 'Fat Actress' Dies at 71
Kirstie Alley, the Emmy-winning comic actress known for her turns on Cheers, Veronica’s Closet and the three Look Who’s Talking films, has died. She was 71.
Alley died after a battle with cancer “only recently discovered,” her children True and Lillie Parker announced on Monday, describing their mom as “incredible, fierce and loving.” No other details were immediately available.
“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,” they said in a statement. “As iconic as she was on screen, she was an even more amazing mother and grandmother.”
They added that they were “grateful for the incredible team of doctors and nurses at Moffitt Cancer Center” in Tampa, Florida.
Alley collected eight Emmy nominations during her career.
In 2005, she played a fictionalized version of herself on Showtime’s Fat Actress (she was a spokesperson for Jenny Craig and had weight issues during her life.) More recently, she starred on TV Land’s Kirstie in 2013-14 as a Broadway diva and was on the 2016 Fox show Scream Queens.
“‘Ignorance is bliss’ applies to me,” she said in 2013. “I want to try things that I haven’t done. Anything that sounds exciting, I’m in.”
Alley was born on Jan. 12, 1951, in Wichita, Kansas. She graduated from Wichita Southeast High School in 1969, married her high school sweetheart, Bob Alley, in 1970 and spent two years at Kansas State University before coming to Los Angeles, where she appeared as a contestant on Match Game in 1979, winning about $6,000. She played a Vulcan Starfleet officer in her first film, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn (1982), was a regular on the ABC series Masquerade in 1983-84 and portrayed a Playboy Club-era Gloria Steinem in the 1985 telefilm A Bunny’s Tale. Then she worked on the acclaimed miniseries North and South, Books 1 and 2 in 1985 and ’86 and starred opposite Mark Harmon in Summer School (1987).
Alley’s film résumé also included Shoot to Kill (1988), Madhouse (1990), Sibling Rivalry (1990), John Carpenter’s Village of the Damned (1995), Woody Allen’s Deconstructing Harry (1997), For Richer or Poorer (1997) and Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999).
She competed twice on Dancing With the Stars and this year was on The Masked Singer as Baby Mammoth.
She wrote a memoir, The Art of Men (I Prefer Mine al Dente), published in 2012.
In a 2013 interview, Alley said that “I would really like to win an Academy Award just to astonish myself. I don’t think I’ve ever played the role where I would say, ‘Oh, my God, you’re an amazing actress!’ That would prove that this wasn’t all just a joke.”