A short, private battle with cancer has ended the life of TV and movie star Kirstie Alley at 71.
Her family announced her death on her official social media accounts:
Alley was born on January 12, 1951, in Wichita, Kansas, but relocated to Los Angeles in her late twenties to pursue her acting career. The emerald-eyed bgeauty made a successful if pushy appearance as a contestant in 1979 on Match Game, interacting with regulars like Brett Somers and Charles Nelson Reilly. Interestingly, one of the celebs on the show at the time was Jamie Lee Curtis, with whom she would much later co-star on Scream Queens. Another was Betty White, who she beat for an Emmy in 1991.
By 1982, she was making her film debut as Vulcan Starfleet officer Lt. Saavik. Along with appearances on the TV shows Quark (1978) and The Love Boat (1983), she showed up in the films Champions (1984), Blind Date (1984), and Runaway (1984).
One of her biggest early roles was playing Gloria Steinem during her Playboy phase in the TV movie A Bunny's Tale. She was also in both parts of the blockbuster miniseries North & South (1985 & 1986).
From 1987-1993, played Rebecca Howe on 148 episodes Cheers, a role for which she won a Golden Globe and an Emmy. Her Emmy speech, in 1991, included an infamous acknowledgment of hubby Parker Stevenson:
Alley won a Golden Globe and an Emmy for her work on on the Cheers, and a second Emmy for 1994's David’s Mother.
Other notable film work included the Look Who's Talking series (1989-1993) with fellow Scientologist John Travolta, as well as Village of the Damned (1995) with Christopher Reeve and the 1999 beauty-pageant black comedy Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999).
She headlined the sitcom Veronica's Closet (1997-2000) for 67 episodes and seven episodes of the self-deprecating Fat Actress (2005). She aimed to make a comeback with Kirstie (2013-2014), but the show ended after a dozen episodes.
Alley made many one-off appearances on TV, including on The Middle (2015) and The Goldbergs (2019), enjoyed a 10-episode arc on Scream Queens (2016), and gave her final performances in the TV movie You Can't Take My Daughter (2020) and a forthcoming short called L'Impressioniste.
In her later years, Alley spoke candidly about her onetime cocaine addiction. She was also a loud and frequent supporter of right-wing causes, and a rare Trump voter in Hollywood.
Alley was memorialized by Look Who's Talking co-star John Travolta:
"Kirstie was one of the most special relationships I’ve ever had. I love you Kirstie. I know we will see each other again."
She is survived by her children, True and Lillie Parker, and grandchildren. Her ex-husband Parker Stevenson remembered her briefly and sweetly on Instagram, writing:
"Dear Kirstie, I am so grateful for our years together, and for the two incredibly beautiful children and now grandchildren that we have. You will be missed. With love, Parker."