Kirstie Alley, a sit-com icon we came to know as Rebecca Howe on “Cheers,” has died of cancer at age 71.
Her family released a statement on social media that said the actress received a recent diagnosis of cancer and was undergoing treatment in Tampa.
The actress won an Emmy, a Golden Globe and a People’s Choice Award for the role that replaced outgoing Shelley Long in 1987.
Alley claimed she had a rough relationship with her mother, growing up in Kansas. She initially pursued a career in interior design.
Her roles as an actress included an officer mentored by Spock in “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan,” more sit-com roles in “Veronica’s Closet” and “Fat Actress,” and a rom-com role in “Look Who’s Talking” with John Travolta. She also became a spokesperson for Jenny Craig’s weight loss program.
Over a four-decade career, Alley was known for being candid, sharing her feelings about her weight and defending the Church of Scientology.
She described in a memoir discovering Scientology in the late 70’s after reading L. Ron Hubbard’s book “while snorting cocaine from a silver tray and drinking limeades.”
Alley credited Scientology with teaching her that she had the strength to climb out of her drug addiction and depression. She drove for 26 days from Kansas to Newport Beach, California, to visit a Scientology center, stopping periodically along the way to buy drugs.Newsweek
She eventually purchased a home in Clearwater, Florida, from fellow Scientologist Lisa Marie Presley, blocks from the city’s Scientology center.
In recent years, Alley was known as a Donald Trump supporter, and a critic of the #MeToo movement and Hollywood.
Alley also downplayed the coronavirus and believed in ivermectin as a legitimate treatment.