On Monday, actress Kirstie Alley’s children announced their mom had died following a short battle with cancer. Shortly after, one of her most well-remembered costars, Ted Danson released a heartfelt statement praising her as “hysterically funny” with a “heart of gold.”
Danson famously played Sam Malone on all 11 seasons of “Cheers,” one of the most popular sitcoms of all time. Alley joined the show in Season 6 as Rebecca Howe, the new owner of the titular bar and a neurotic foil for Sam, as a replacement for the departed female lead Shelley Long. Alley quickly developed her own identity on the show, and won an Emmy in 1991 for her performance. In his statement, Danson remembered her performance in the show, calling it both funny and moving.
“I was on a plane today and did something I rarely do. 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,” Danson wrote in his statement to IndieWire, referring to the final episode of the series, “One for the Road.” “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. 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.”
Danson’s statement follows an outpouring of condolences for the late “Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan” and “Look Who’s Talking” star from several of her past collaborators, including John Travolta, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Ever Carradine. Rhea Perlman, who played the salty waitress Carla Tortelli in “Cheers,” also shared a statement, calling Alley a “unique and wonderful person and friend.”
“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,” Perlman said. “She had massive Halloween and Easter parties, and invited the entire crew of the show, and their families. 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.”
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