Versatile American actress Kirstie Alley has found success in feature films, but is still best known for her portrayal of neurotic Rebecca Howe during the latter years of the television series Cheers. Noted for her unusual beauty, thick, chestnut-colored hair, and whiskey voice, Alley studied drama in her native Kansas and then became an interior decorator. For a while, she went through a wild and crazy phase in which she abused cocaine and hung out with bikers, but when the lifestyle got old, Alley moved to California, underwent drug rehabilitation, and became a devout Scientologist. She made her feature-film debut playing Savic, a Vulcan student of Mr. Spock in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, and then played a major role in the television miniseries North and South, but she did not become a real star until she was selected to replace Shelly Long in Cheers in the late '80s. Though the role of Rebecca marked Alley as a comedienne, she is also a talented dramatic actress as she demonstrated in the 1988 outdoor thriller Shoot to Kill. In 1989, Alley had her first box-office hit with Look Who's Talking; that coupled with Cheers made her one of the most popular actresses in Hollywood and the winner of Emmys, a People's Choice award, and a Golden Globe for Look Who's Talking. With the demise of Cheers, Alley's career became more sporadic and the quality of her films uneven. In the fall of 1997, Alley starred in the NBC prime time sitcom Veronica's Closet.
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Alley would appear in a handful of TV movies over the next few years, like Family Sins, While I Was Gone, Write and Wrong, and The Minister of Divine. Alley would also find her name in the news for less than glamorous reasons, as she gained a noticeable amount of weight in the early 2000's. Happy to capitalize on the press, Alley soon starred in a comedy series in 2005 called Fat Actress, in which she played a fictionalized version of herself, a la Larry David on Curb Your Enthusiasm. Alley then moved from pseudo-reality to actual reality, starring in a candid reality show about herself called Kirstie Alley's Big Life in 2010. Along the same lines, Alley competed on the competetive reality show Dancing with the Stars the following year. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi