Kirsten Louise "Kirstie" Alley (born January 12, 1951) is an American actress known for her role in the TV show Cheers, in which she played Rebecca Howe from 1987-1993, winning an Emmy as the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for 1991.
Alley is a long standing member of the Church of Scientology and spokesperson for its anti-psychiatry front group the CCHR.
Kirstie Alley was born in Wichita, Kansas, where she was raised, the daughter of Lillian Mickie (née Heaton), a homemaker, and Robert Deal Alley, who owned a lumber company. She has two siblings, Colette and Craig. Her mother died in a car accident caused by a drunk driver in 1981. Alley attended Wichita Southeast High School and became a cheerleader. She attended college at Kansas State University and the University of Kansas, but dropped out in her sophomore year to pursue acting. She was first seen as a contestant on the game shows Match Game in 1979 (winning $6,000) and Password Plus in 1980. On both shows she stated her occupation as an interior designer.
Alley won a supporting role in the 1982 movie Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, playing Romulan-Vulcan officer Lieutenant Saavik. Alley turned down the role of Saavik in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock because the producers would not meet her salary demands and because she didn't want to be typecast as a science fiction actress. Therefore, Robin Curtis assumed the role. Alley also co-starred in a short-lived secret agent television series, Masquerade, and in the acclaimed miniseries North and South.
In 1984, Alley starred in the low budget theatrical film Blind Date. Although the movie was a critical and commercial failure at the time, it has become a minor cult classic due primarily to the only on-screen nude scene of Alley's career.
She rose to prominence in her 19871993 role as the neurotic corporate executive Rebecca Howe on the long-running hit TV sitcom Cheers. While Cheers was the launching pad for the successful spin-off Frasier, Alley was the only regular actress from Cheers not to appear on Frasier (other than Nicholas Colasanto, who died before the second show began). She later starred in the movie Look Who's Talking (1989) with John Travolta, which earned more than $100 million at the box office. This film was followed by two sequels 1990s Look Who's Talking Too and 1993's Look Who's Talking Now. In 1992, she played a TV news reporter in Prince's video for "My Name Is Prince." Her second NBC sitcom, the critically panned Veronica's Closet, ran for three seasons in the late 1990s. Alley reportedly received $2 million in up-front fees for her work on that series and $150,000 per episode.
Alley has been honored with two Emmy Awards during her career. Her first two nominations for her work on Cheers did not earn her the award, but her third, in 1991, garnered her the statuette for that series. In her speech, she thanked then-husband Parker Stevenson "for giving me the big one for the last eight years". Talk show hosts, as well as the creators of Cheers, poked fun at the quip for weeks afterward. Alley won her second Emmy for her portrayal of the title role in the made-for-TV movie drama David's Mother (1994). In 1997, Alley's career took a different turn when she appeared in Woody Allen's movie Deconstructing Harry. In this movie, Alley, who was then primarily known as a comedic actress, displayed a strong talent for being a serious dramatic actress by playing a psychiatrist who is married to Woody Allen's character. She is angered upon learning that he has had an affair with one of her patients. For contributions to the motion picture industry, Kirstie Alley was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7000 Hollywood Boulevard.
In 2005, after her weight ballooned to over 200 lbs., she headlined a "mockumentary" style comedy series for Showtime called Fat Actress. Alley played herself in the show, which details the (fictitious) daily life of an overweight actress trying to make it in Hollywood. Alley has become an advocate against obesity and was/is a spokeswoman for the Jenny Craig weight-loss program; TV ads document her weight loss, which has reached 75 lbs., according to Alley on a November 6, 2006, appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show. She appeared clad in a semi-bikini outfit, with a fabric midriff and several yards of translucent chiffon to hide her back-view. The next day on The View, Rosie O'Donnell pulled up a woman from their audience who was approximately the same body size as Kirstie; the woman admitted to weighing much more than Kirstie. It was announced in early February 2007 that Alley will play the lead in a new Fox network sitcom entitled The Minister of Divine, based upon the British show The Vicar of Dibley, which starred Dawn French and was first broadcast by the BBC in 1994. However, the show was not picked up for the Fall lineup.
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