Kirstie Alley: Snapshot

Kirstie Alley
Date of Birth
January 12, 1951
Birth Place
Wichita, Kan.
Kirstie Alley has played the ingénue, the Southern belle, the Fat Actress and everything in between in her 30 years in Hollywood, so it's fitting that her career began with the actress at her most unrecognizable: as a pointy-eared Vulcan in 1982's Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

But it was her role as Shelley Long's replacement on the television series Cheers five years later that turned the Wichita, Kan., native into a household name. Her turn as the neurotic, yet sexy, Rebecca Howe injected new life into the hit sitcom, earning Alley an Emmy and Golden Globe, and positioned her to star in the blockbuster franchise Look Who's Talking.

A decade later, Alley again made headlines – this time for her fluctuating weight while starring on her NBC sitcom Veronica's Closet. Instead of hiding from the issue, the mother of two turned her struggle with weight into her next big role: starring in the semi-scripted Showtime series Fat Actress and the reality show Big Life.

While chronicling her weight-loss struggles, Alley signed up with Jenny Craig and put the program on the map as its loud-and-proud spokesperson who lost 75 lbs. and debuted her new, svelte bikini body on Oprah.

Though she's regained the weight and then some, the battle isn't over for Alley, who began her own diet plan and kicked off 2011 with a second-place finish on season 12 of Dancing with the Stars.

Kirstie Alley:From the PEOPLE TV Archive

Kirstie Alley: Five Fun Facts

  1. When she first moved to Los Angeles in 1980, Kirstie Alley appeared on the game show The Match Game, where she won $6,000.
  2. Initially nervous about filling Shelley Long's shoes on Cheers, Kirstie Alley reported to her first day on set dressed as Long's character, complete with blonde wig. "I wanted to break the ice and get off to a fresh start," she told PEOPLE in 1987.
  3. Kirstie Alley was once roommates with actress Mimi Rogers, the first wife of fellow Hollywood Scientologist Tom Cruise.
  4. In addition to making a cameo in Prince's "My Name Is Prince" video, off his The Love Symbol Album, Kirstie Alley can also be heard in spoken-word tracks on the LP.
  5. Who's Kirstie Alley's workout muse? Jamie Foxx. "I like to think about, like, I disrobe and I [say], 'Jamie, turn the lights off,'" the self-proclaimed "Foxxhound" revealed to Oprah Winfrey of her celeb crush.

Kirstie Alley: Biography


Designing Woman

Kirstie Deal – the daughter of lumber company owner Robert and his wife Lillian – becomes Alley when she marries high school sweetheart Bob Alley at 19 while studying at Kansas State University in her native Wichita. After dropping out in 1977, she finds success as an interior decorator, but also develops a cocaine addiction. "I was a good decorator, but I snorted up all my profits," she told PEOPLE in 1990.

late 1970s

Kirstie Alley

Cleaning Up Her Act

After separating from her husband, Alley moves to Los Angeles, where a friend introduces her to Scientology. The religion's rehab program Narconon helps Alley beat her nearly three-year drug addiction. "When I came out of my drug stupor, I decided I wanted to act," Alley tells PEOPLE.


Kirstie Alley

June 04

Out of This World

At the same time that her mother Lillian passes away in a tragic car crash, Alley nabs her first film role, playing a Vulcan in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. The sci-fi hit tallies the heftiest opening weekend gross at the time, launching Alley's career.

Read More on Kirstie Alley's Life

Photo Credits

Top Left: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

BIOGRAPHY (top to bottom): Brad Elterman/BuzzFoto/FilmMagic; Everett

Edited by Julia Wang

Kirstie Alley

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