Emmy Award winning actress Kirstie Alley dead at 71

Ap Kirstie Alley

Image: Associated Press

Image: Associated Press

(ABC News) — Actress Kirstie Alley has died after battling cancer, her family and her manager said Monday night. She was 71 years old.

“We are sad to inform you that our incredible, fierce and loving mother has passed away after a battle with cancer, only recently discovered,” Alley’s children True and Lillie Parker wrote in a statement that was shared on Alley’s Twitter. “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.”

“Our mother’s zest and passion for life, her children, grandchildren and her many animals, not to mention her eternal joy of creating, were unparalleled and leave us inspired to live life to the fullest just as she did,” they added. “We thank you for your love and prayers and ask that you respect our privacy at this difficult time.”

The office of Alley’s manager, Jason Weinberg, confirmed her death to ABC News.

Alley, who was born in Wichita, Kansas, to Robert Deal Alley and Lillian Alley in 1951, first appeared in the 1982 film “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan,” where she played the Vulcan Starfleet officer Lieutenant Saavik.

She starred in several smaller films following that role including “One More Chance,”Blind Date” and “Runaway.”

Then, in 1987, she joined the cast of the sitcom “Cheers,” where she replaced Shelley Long and remained with the show until its final season. Her performance earned her an Emmy Award in 1991 for outstanding lead actress in a comedy series. She later earned a second Emmy for her role in the 1994 television drama film “David’s Mother.” The following year, she was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

In 1997, Alley starred in another sitcom, “Veronica’s Closet,” where she played Veronica “Ronnie” Chase, the owner of a lingerie company in New York City. The show ran for three seasons.

Later in her career, she had her own show titled “Kirstie,” where she played the main character, Maddie Banks, a Tony Award-winning actress navigating life after a son she gave up at birth reappears and wants to reconnect with her. The show premiered in December 2013 and was later canceled in July 2014.

Many may recognize Alley as a spokesperson for Jenny Craig from 2004 to 2007. While working for the weight loss and nutrition company, she said she lost 75 pounds. In 2009, after parting ways with Jenny Craig, she told People that she gained the weight back. Alley reunited with Jenny Craig as a spokesperson for the company in 2014 and at the time lost 50 pounds.

Alley appeared on “Dancing with the Stars” in 2011 and finished the competition in second place with dance pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy.

Her last TV appearance was earlier this year on “The Masked Singer” where she competed as “Baby Mammoth.” During her reveal on the show, she said that she wanted to perform because of her grandchildren.

“They’re gonna think this is good,” she told the judges.

Upon the release of the news of Alley’s death, some in Hollywood began paying tribute to the actress, including her former “Look Who’s Talking” co-star, actor John Travolta, who shared a photo of him and Alley on Instagram.

“Kirstie was one of the most special relationships I’ve ever had,” he wrote. “I love you Kirstie. I know we will see each other again.”



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