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In a statement posted to Alley’s Twitter on Monday night, her family shared that the actress, known for her performances in Look Who’s Talking, Veronica‘s Closet and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, had died of cancer.
“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,” the statement said. “As iconic as she was on screen, she was an even more amazing mother and grandmother.”
Among Alley’s earlier and most memorable roles was her portrayal of the lovable and unlucky bar manager Rebecca Howe in more than 100 episodes of Cheers. In a statement, Alley’s co-star Ted Danson celebrated her memory by recounting how he heard the sad news of her passing after only just getting off a plane.
“I was on a plane today and did something I rarely do. I watched an old episode of Cheers. 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 said. “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.”
In their own statements, Alley’s fellow Cheers stars Kelsey Grammer and Rhea Perlman shared their own appreciation for the actress. Grammer noted that “I always believed grief for a public figure is a private matter, but I will say I loved her,” while Perlman called Alley “a unique and wonderful person and friend” whose “joy of being was boundless.”
“We became friends almost instantly when she joined the cast of Cheers. She loved kids and my kids loved her too. We had sleepovers at her house, with treasure hunts that she created. She had massive Halloween and Easter parties and invited the entire crew of the show and their families. She wanted everyone to feel included,” Perlman continued. “She loved her children deeply. I’ve never met anyone remotely like her. I feel so thankful to have known her. I’m going to miss her very, very much.”
On Twitter, her series co-star John Ratzenberger expressed sadness over her death, adding, “God bless you and keep you Kirstie Alley.”
The actress, who starred on both the small and big screen, also appeared alongside John Travolta in 1989’s Amy Heckerling-directed rom-com Look Who’s Talking, which was followed with two sequels.
In a statement posted to his Instagram, Travolta said his co-star “was one of the most special relationships I’ve ever had” before adding that the two would “see each other again.”
The Kansas-born actress, who embodied everything from comedic to dramatic roles, most recently appeared on the small screen, including turns in Ryan Murphy’s Scream Queens alongside Jamie Lee Curtis and the Betty White, Jane Leeves, Wendie Malick and Valerie Bertinelli-led TV Land comedy Hot in Cleveland.
Curtis, in her own post Monday night, called Alley’s death “sad news,” writing that “we agreed to disagree about some things but had a mutual respect and connection.”
“She was a great comic foil in @tvscreamqueens and a beautiful mama bear in her very real life,” Curtis added.
Bertinelli also shared her condolences, briefly writing, “rest in peace.”
Tim Allen, Alley’s co-star in For Richer or Poorer, called her “a sweet soul” in a tribute on Twitter while on Instagram, her ‘It Takes Two’ co-star Steve Guttenberg wrote, “Every day she amazed me with her generosity of the tangible and with her soulfulness. The world is a bit empty without Kirstie.”
Drew Carey Show star and then-young Cheers guest star Diedrich Bader recalled her kindness while he was briefly on the set, noting that “she was very welcoming and fun to be around.”
“I was just a kid w a small part and she was very lovely,” he added. “She was remarkably funny in everything [I] saw her do and really fun to watch rehearse.”
Actor Josh Gad wrote that his “heart breaks for Kirstie and her family,” remembering the Cheers star for her brilliance and adding that throughout her career, “her smile was always infectious, her laugh was always contagious and her charisma was always iconic.”
Secret Life of Pets screenwriter Brian Lynch also celebrated her work on Cheers and Look Who’s Talking, noting that she “had incredible comic timing.”
Broadway star Chenoweth, who appeared on Alley’s self-titled, one-season TV Land show, shared Travolta’s sentiments, tweeting, “I love you, Kirstie. I will see you again someday. I can’t believe you’re gone.”
Handmaid’s Tale and Marvel’s Runaway actress Ever Carradine, who starred with Alley in Veronica’s Closet, acknowledged that while they have not spoken in a while, she is thankful to the late actress “for launching my career.”
“She told me I was funny every single day on Veronica’s Closet, and I believed her,” she continued. “She threw the best parties and gave the parakeets as our wrap gift. Godspeed.”
Read more tributes below.
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