Kirstie Alley made a name for herself with a successful career in the TV industry — but she also made headlines for her personal life.
The actress was born in 1951 to parents Robert Deal Alley and Lillian Alley. Alongside her two siblings, Colette and Craig, Kirstie was raised in Kansas before she left for Los Angeles following her sophomore year of college.
After initially working as an interior designer, Kirstie made several appearances on game shows including Match Game and Password Plus. She later transitioned into a career in Hollywood — specifically in sitcoms such as Cheers, Veronica’s Closet, Kirstie and more.
Over the years, the Scream Queens alum was also outspoken about her life off screen. In 2015, Kirstie defended her belief in Scientology and praised the practices of the church.
“I think that people need to always — no matter what path they choose — the goal I hope would be to become more and more aware,” she said during an interview with Howard Stern, noting that she reached the OT-7 level in the church’s hierarchy of achievements. “It means that you have gotten rid of all the things that would create aberrated behavior in you that you didn’t want.”
The Look Who’s Talking star added: “It’s an awareness level. It’s an achievement.”
Kirstie also weighed in on Leah Remini‘s public decision to leave Scientology two years prior. In response to Remini’s claims about how she was shunned by the controversial church, Kirstie discussed her own experience.
“She left the religion and she was very critical,” Kirstie explained at the time. “That’s just sort of water under the bridge. There’s nothing going on and there was nothing going on for years. I didn’t shun her, but if a lot of people are rejecting you, at some point you gotta ask, ‘What am I doing?’ I mean, that’s what I would have asked myself.”
The Emmy award winner, who shared son William and daughter Lillie with ex-husband Parker Stevenson, claimed her kids joined Scientology as well. “It was their choice,” she said. “It really helped them a lot so that’s good.”
Ahead of her death, Kirstie reflected on the legacy she hoped to leave behind for her family.
“I would say I would start [my grandchildren] off [by watching my show] Cheers. I was very proud of David’s Mother, which was a drama, just because I hadn’t ever done something like that,” she told StarTrek.com in 2016. “I guess any time — I’m one of those actors that likes to do things that I haven’t done before. So when someone asks me, ‘What about this?’ If my first feeling is, ‘Oh, why’d you choose me for this?’ Then I kind of go — because then you have to be a little bit braver, I guess — ‘All right, I’ll give it a whirl.'”
In December 2022, Kirstie’s kids announced her death in a statement.
“We are sad to inform you that our incredible, fierce and loving mother has passed away after a battle with cancer, only recently discovered,” they shared in a letter via their late mother’s Instagram. “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 social media message continued: “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.”
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Keep scrolling for a look back at Kirstie’s life in photos: