On December 5, the world was shocked to learn of the death of Cheers star Kirstie Alley, who passed away at the age of 71 after a brief battle with cancer. “We are sad to inform you that our incredible, fierce and loving mother has passed away after a battle with cancer, only recently discovered,” the statement released by her children read.
“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. As iconic as she was on screen, she was an even more amazing mother and grandmother.”
The news of her death was met with sorrow from friends and fans alike. Among them were Alley’s fellow Cheers stars, Ted Danson, Kelsey Grammer, and Rhea Perlman.
“I was on a plane today and did something I rarely do,” Danson told People. “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 continued. “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.”
‘Cheers’ Stars Rhea Perlman, Kelsey Grammer Mourn the Death of Kirstie Alley
Kelsey Grammer’s public response to the news was far more succinct than Danson’s but no less filled with love. “I always believed grief for a public figure is a private matter,” he said. “But I will say I loved her.”
As for Rhea Perlman, she will always look back with fondness on her friendship with Kirstie Alley. Not only were the women costars on the classic TV show but they formed a lasting real-life friendship through their days at the fictional bar as well.
“Kirstie was a unique and wonderful person and friend,” Perlman explained. “Her 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.”
“[Kirstie] had massive Halloween and Easter parties, and invited the entire crew of the show, and their families,” the Cheers star continued. “She wanted everyone to feel included. 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.”