Screen mainstay Kirstie Alley in the 1980s and 1990s has died aged 71

Kirstie Alley, whose role as Rebecca Howe on the US sitcom Cheers made her a star in the 1980s and 1990s, has died of cancer at the age of 71.

A statement from her family, released through her official social media accounts, described her as an “amazing mother and grandmother.”

“To all our friends far and wide around the world… We are saddened to announce that our incredible, fierce and loving mother has passed away after a battle with cancer that was only recently discovered,” the statement read .

“Surrounded by her closest family, she fought with great vigour, leaving us with an assurance of her never-ending zest for life and all the adventures ahead.”

Alley debuted on the 1987 NBC sitcom and quickly became a fan favorite for her role opposite Ted Danson’s womanizer Sam Malone.

She played bar manager Howe until the show ended in 1993, and won both an Emmy Award and a Golden Globe for the role in 1991.

Beyond Cheers, Alley starred in a variety of films over the two decades, including Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982), Summer School (1987), Sibling Rivalry (1990), It Takes Two (1995), For Richer or Poorer (1997). ) and Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999).

Alley was also known for starring alongside Church of Scientology member John Travolta on the series Look Who’s Talking.

She won her second Emmy Award for the TV movie David’s Mother in 1994 and received another Emmy nomination in 1997 for her work on the crime series The Last Don.

In 1995 she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her contribution to motion pictures.

Alley returned to NBC in 1997 to play the title character on the sitcom Veronica’s Closet, which ran through 2000.

She has also had several appearances on reality television, first as a contestant on season 12 of Dancing with the Stars, where she placed second.

British audiences saw Alley in reality TV mode on season 22 of UK Celebrity Big Brother in 2018, with the Kansas-born actor taking second place.

During her time on Big Brother, she shared the house with other famous faces including Coronation Street star Ryan Thomas and The Only Way Is Essex’s Dan Osbourne, who took first and third place respectively.

Alley was raised a Methodist but became a Scientologist in 1979 after moving to Los Angeles, where she used the church-affiliated drug treatment program Narconon in response to her self-confessed cocaine addiction.

She was married twice — to her high school sweetheart from 1970 to 1977 and to Baywatch actor Parker Stevenson from 1983 — and after a miscarriage, she adopted son William True in 1992 and daughter Lillie Price with Stevenson in 1995.

The marriage to Stevenson ended in 1997 and Alley became a grandmother in 2016 after the birth of William’s son.

Her celluloid career began in 1979 as a contestant on the game show The Match Game and ended earlier this year with an appearance on the competition series The Masked Singer, in which she wore a baby mammoth costume.

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