Who is Kirstie Alley? Cheers and Drop Dead Gorgeous star dies after short illness

Actress Kirstie Alley has died aged 71. (Getty Images)
Actress Kirstie Alley has died aged 71. (Getty Images)

Kirstie Alley shot to fame playing Rebecca Howe in the popular sitcom Cheers, for which she received an Emmy Award and a Golden Globe.

She was last seen on TV on the Masked Singer as Baby Mammoth of Team Cuddly.

A statement from her family posted on social media read: “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.”

The statement said Ms Alley was an “amazing mother and grandmother”.

Kirstie Alley’s personal life

Ms Alley was born in Wichita, Kansas and attended Wichita Southeast High School and later Kansas State University before dropping out.

She was married to her high school sweetheart and then later divorced and married Baywatch actor Parker Stevenson.

Ms Alley was raised as a Methodist but became a member of the Church of Scientology. She then moved to Los Angeles to pursue the religion and work as an interior designer.

Kirstie Alley’s TV and film career

Kirsty Alley’s first TV appearance was as a contestant on the game shows Match Game and Password Plus.

She then debuted her film career with Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan as the Vulcan Starfleet officer Lieutenant Saavik.

Her first box office hit was Summer School, later joining the cast of the NBC sitcom Cheers in the same year.

Her other film roles included Sibling Rivalry (1990), It Takes Two (1995), Village Of The Damned (1995), For Richer or Poorer (199) and Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999).

She won her second Emmy Award in 1994 for the television film David’s Mother and received a further Emmy nomination in 1997 for her work in the crime drama series The Last Don.

One of her biggest film roles with the highest worldwide earnings was when she partnered with John Travolta in Look Who’s Talking, with the film grossing more than $295m at the box office and followed by Look Who’s Talking Too and Look Who’s Talking Now.

Ms Alley returned to NBC to play the title character and be the executive producer on the show Veronica’s Closet earning her further Emmy and Golden Globe nominations.

She also appeared on Dancing with the Stars (the US version of Strictly Come Dancing) and The Masked Singer.

Ms Alley appeared on the 22nd series of UK Celebrity Big Brother coming second in the reality show, with Coronation Street star Ryan Thomas winning the series.

The Hollywood icon received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her contribution to motion pictures.

Kirstie Alley’s health

Ms Alley died from cancer that was “recently discovered”, according to the family’s statement.

The star was receiving care in her final days at Moffitt Cancer Centre in Tampa Florida.

“We are grateful to the incredible team of doctors and nurses at the Moffitt Cancer Center for their care,” the statement added.

Long-time friend Mr Travolta paid his respects on social media, saying: “Kirstie was one of the most special relationships I’ve ever had. I love you Kirstie. I know we will see each other again.”