Fans remember favorite Kirstie Alley roles, from 'Cheers' to 'Look Who's Talking'
She romantically sparred with Ted Danson in "Cheers," danced with John Travolta in "Look Who's Talking," fell in love with a hapless Mark Harmon in "Summer School" and portrayed life as a single woman and business owner in "Veronica's Closet."
Kirstie Alley is being remembered by fans for her most beloved roles following the announcement on Dec. 6 of her death at 71 from cancer in an Instagram post by her two children.
The two-time Emmy winner was best known for her portrayal of salty bar manager Rebecca Howe, the female foil to Danson's womanizing Sam Malone on the classic sitcom "Cheers."
Alley joined the cast in the middle of the season in 1987 after star Shelley Long decided to leave the show to pursue a movie career. Alley earned the first of her two Emmy awards as well as a Golden Globe in 1991 for playing Howe, and she remained part of the cast through 1993.
Fans remembered her on social media for her snappy back and forth with Danson as well as her physical comedy, including a scene where she kept a lit cigarette in her mouth to hide her smoking habit from Danson's character.
"I was one of those who felt that Cheers wouldn’t be much once Shelley Long left and the Sam and Diane dynamic was gone," one fan tweeted. "Kirstie Alley changed that. She was fantastic, she blended in with the cast perfectly, and her chemistry with Ted Danson showed. Rest in peace."
I was one of those who felt that Cheers wouldn’t be much once Shelley Long left and the Sam and Diane dynamic was gone. Kirstie Alley changed that. She was fantastic, she blended in with the cast perfectly, and her chemistry with Ted Danson showed. Rest in peace.
— Steve Clark (@SteveClarkMedia) December 6, 2022
"Sad to hear of the passing of Kirstie Alley, Cheers was in a league of its own, she was brilliant opposite Ted Danson," another fan tweeted.
Danson remembered his former costar in a statement obtained by TODAY on Dec. 5.
“I was on a plane today and did something I rarely do. I watched an old episode of 'Cheers',” Danson said. “It was the episode where Tom Berenger proposes to Kirstie, who keeps saying no, even though she desperately wants to say yes. Kirstie was truly brilliant in it. Her ability to play a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown was both moving and hysterically funny.
"She made me laugh 30 years ago when she shot that scene, and she made me laugh today just as hard," he continued. "As I got off the plane, I heard that Kirstie had died. I am so sad and so grateful for all the times she made me laugh. I send my love to her children. As they well know, their mother had a heart of gold. I will miss her.”
The same year she joined the cast of "Cheers," Alley was part of the cult comedy favorite "Summer School." Her biting sarcasm is on display as Robin Bishop, the reluctant love interest of Mark Harmon's Freddy Shoop, a goofy gym teacher forced to teach a remedial summer school class.
“Let us not forget Kirstie’s role in the majestic piece of cinema that was Summer School,” one fan tweeted.
"Kirstie Alley was great in Summer School, a movie not enough of you have seen or cherished properly," another tweeted.
Kirstie Alley was great in Summer School, a movie not enough of you have seen or cherished properly
— Tango & Cash Money Records (@gheorghetheblog) December 6, 2022
Alley’s movie career began in 1982 with a role in “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan,” and she also starred in the 1989 comedy hit “Look Who’s Talking” and its two sequels.
Alley plays Mollie, the single mother of Mikey, a baby whose internal commentary is voiced by Bruce Willis. Travolta, who paid tribute to Alley in a heartfelt statement, plays the taxi driver who ultimately falls in love with Mollie.
Fans remembered her heartwarming scenes with Travolta as well as Alley's portrayal of a single mom.
"I think people forget the significance of seeing Alley play a single woman like Mollie in LOOK WHO’S TALKING in the ‘90s," Indiewire editor Kristen Lopez tweeted. "She often epitomized strong single women who found love because they wanted to. Not because they needed to."
I think people forget the significance of seeing Alley play a single woman like Mollie in LOOK WHO'S TALKING in the '90s. She often epitomized strong single women who found love because they wanted to. Not because they needed to. pic.twitter.com/lOaivsUqR2
— Kristen Lopez (@Journeys_Film) December 6, 2022
“Kirstie Alley and John Travolta dancing in 1989’s ‘Look Who’s Talking’ will forever live in my mind #RIP,” a fan tweeted.
Alley portrayed another strong single woman, Veronica “Ronnie” Chase, on "Veronica's Closet" on NBC from 1997-2000. She also made numerous guest appearances over the years and appeared on multiple reality shows, most recently "The Masked Singer" earlier this year.
She also won a second Emmy in 1994 for her portrayal of a parent of a teen son with autism in the made-for-television movie "David's Mother."
This article was originally published on TODAY.com