Kirstie Alley, who won an Emmy for her role on “Cheers” and starred in films including “Look Who’s Talking,” died Monday. She was 71.
Alley died of cancer that was only recently discovered, her children True and Lillie Parker said in a post on Twitter. Alley’s manager Donovan Daughtry confirmed the death in an email to The Associated Press.
“As iconic as she was on screen, she was an even more amazing mother and grandmother,” her children’s statement said.
She starred opposite Ted Danson as Rebecca Howe on “Cheers,” the beloved NBC sitcom about a Boston bar, from 1987 to 1993. She joined the show at the height of its popularity after the departure of original star Shelley Long.
Alley would win an Emmy for best lead actress in a comedy series for the role in 1991. She would take a second Emmy for best lead actress in a miniseries or television movie in 1993 for playing the title role in the CBS TV movie “David’s Mother.”
She had her own sitcom on the network, “Veronica’s Closet,” from 1997 to 2000.
In the 1989 comedy “Look Who’s Talking,” which gave her a major career boost, she played the mother of a baby who’s inner thoughts were voiced by Bruce Willis. She would also appear in the 1990 sequel “Look Who’s Talking Too.”
John Travolta, her co-star in both films, paid her tribute in an Instagram post.
“Kirstie was one of the most special relationships I’ve ever had,” Travolta said, along with a photo of Alley. “I love you Kirstie. I know we will see each other again.”
She would play a fictionalized version of herself in the 2005 Showtime series “Fat Actress,” a show that drew comedy from her public and media treatment over her weight gain and loss.
And in recent years she appeared on several reality shows, including “Dancing With the Stars.”
A native of Wichita, Kansas, Alley attended Kansas State University before dropping out and moving to Los Angeles.
Her first television appearances were as a game show contestant, on “The Match Game” in 1979 and Password” in 1980.
She made her film debut in 1982’s “Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan.”
John Travolta and Kirstie Alley: A love story
Kirstie Alley and John Travolta were never romantically involved, but that wasn’t how she initially wanted it.
Alley, who died Monday at the age of 71 after a brief illness, often talked of her feelings for Travolta, whom she called the “greatest love” of her life.
The pair starred together “Look Who’s Talking” film franchise (the first movie hit theaters in 1989). During an appearance in 2018 on “Celebrity Big Brother U.K.”, Alley talked about how easy it is to fall in love with leading men.
She named two co-stars she said she developed feelings for, but never fully consummated the attraction: Patrick Swayze and Travolta.
“I almost ran off and married John. I did love him, I still love him,” Alley said. “If I hadn’t been married I would’ve gone and married him and I would’ve been in an airplane because he has his [own plane.]”
The same year she appeared on the reality show, the “Cheers” star also talked about Travolta during a conversation on “The Dan Wootton Interview” podcast. She said not sleeping with the movie star was “the hardest decision I’ve ever made because I was madly in love with him.”
“We were fun and funny together,” she said. “It wasn’t a sexual relationship because I’m not going to cheat on my husband.”
Alley was married to actor Parker Stevenson at the time. The couple divorced in 1997.
In 2013, Alley told Howard Stern Travolta also had feelings for her, but didn’t act on them because of her marriage.
“It took me years to not look at John as a romantic interest,” she said.
Travolta married actress Kelly Preston in 1991. Alley told Wooten that Preston put her foot down about her flirting with her husband.
“Kelly came up to me and they were married then, and she said, ‘Why are you flirting with my husband?’” Alley said.
“And that was sort of when I had to make a decision and that was pretty much the end of that.”
Travolta paid tribute to Alley on social media Monday.
“Kirstie was one of the most special relationships I’ve ever had,” he wrote in the caption on a post on his verified Instagram account. “I love you Kirstie. I know we will see each other again.”