Kirstie Alley, an iconic film and television actress, has passed away at the age of 71. The Cheers star passed away of cancer, according to a post on Alley’s Instagram account which included a statement from the actress’ two children.
Alley was perhaps best known for her role as Rebecca Howe on Cheers, a role which earned her five consecutive Emmy nominations. Alley replaced the long-time lead on the series, Shelley Long, as the romantic interest opposite of Sam, played by Ted Danson. She took over the role with ease, demonstrating sharp comedic instincts which held strong against such a cohesive and beloved ensemble cast.
However, Alley‘s work did not end at that basement bar in Boston. Alley also had a successful film career. Some of her most notable roles include her work in the beloved Look Who’s Talking film franchise, which featured her opposite John Travolta. The two held a longstanding friendship in real life. Alley also starred as a murderous pageant mom in the cult classic 1999 film Drop Dead Gorgeous and as the tooth fairy in the 1997 film Toothless.
Alley also exhibited her life in the short-lived unscripted series, Kirstie Alley’s Big Life, which aired in 2010. The later part of her career was marked by many celebrity guest appearances on reality television series and several autobiographical scripted series, including Kirstie and Fat Actress.
Alley had two children with her ex-husband Parker Stevenson. Together they had a son, William True Stevenson, and a daughter, Lillie Price Stevenson. The couple divorced in 1997. Her children were the ones to break the news on Alley‘s Instagram account. They assured her fans that Alley was “…surrounded by her closest family and fought with the greatest strength, leaving us with a certainty of her never-ending joy of living and whatever adventures lie ahead.”
They continued, noting her amazing role not only as an actress but as a beloved family member, saying, “[a]s iconic as she was on screen, she was an even more amazing mother.” They closed their statement with a request for privacy.
Despite recent controversies on social media, she will always be known as one of the most iconic actresses of her generation. With a sharp tongue and a wry sense of humor, Alley was never afraid to make herself the punchline of a joke, all the while keeping control of her narrative. Her work will endure for years to come.
Our thoughts are with Alley‘s friends, family, and loved ones. You can read her children’s statement in full below.
To all our friends, far and wide around the world…
We are sad to inform you that our incredible, fierce and loving mother has passed away after a battle with cancer, only recently discovered.
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.
We are grateful to the incredible team of doctors and nurses at the Moffitt Cancer Center for their care.
Our mother’s zest and passion for life, her children, grandchildren and her many animals, not to mention her eternal joy of creating, were unparalleled and leave us inspired to live life to the fullest just as she did.
We thank you for your love and prayers and ask that you respect our privacy at this difficult time.
With love always,
True and Lillie Parker