10 Best Kirstie Alley Performances From Movies and TV
RIP to an award-winning, trailblazing icon.
The entertainment industry lost a legend when Kirstie Alley died at 71. Known for sharp comedic timing, dramatic chops and all-American beauty, Alley leaves a legacy of pioneering film and television roles. We're celebrating the life and career of an icon with a spotlight on Alley's most notable performances on the big and small screens. It's worth noting Alley made memorable appearances as herself in reality programming like The Masked Singer, Celebrity Big Brother and Dancing With the Stars.
Related: John Travolta Leads Tributes to Kirstie Alley
Best Kirstie Alley Movies and TV Shows
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
Alley played Saavik in the Star Trek franchise's wildly successful second outing. The Wrath of Khan remains a high-water mark for science-fiction filmmaking. It's as good a film about getting older and finding meaning in life as any.
Related: Cheers Stars Kelsey Grammer, Ted Danson, Rhea Perlman Remember Kirstie Alley
Kirstie Alley is perhaps best-remembered to fans for playing driven, neurotic career woman Rebecca Howe on five seasons of NBC's long-running sitcom set in a neighborhood bar. Alley won an Emmy and a Golden Globe for the groundbreaking role.
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Carl Reiner directed Mark Harmon and Alley in this comedy about a gym teacher who's required to teach a remedial summer English course. Summer School received mixed-to-positive reviews with praise for the performances and was a modest box-office hit.
Related: Kirstie Alley's Big Life
In a critically acclaimed TV movie event, Alley starred opposite Sam Waterston and Stockard Channing, playing a mother committed to her autistic son (Michael A. Goorjian). Alley and Goorjian both received Primetime Emmy Awards.
Related: Rhea Perlman on Working With Kirstie Alley on Cheers
For Richer or Poorer
In Bryan Spicer's comedy, Alley and Tim Allen played NYC socialites hiding out from the IRS in Amish country. The talent deserved a better script, but these are two of the funniest stars of all time, and they elevate the material.
Woody Allen's Oscar-nominated comedy about writer's block featured an ensemble cast including Billy Crystal, Robin Williams and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Alley was hilarious in a supporting turn as Harry's long-suffering ex-wife.
A remarkable if short-lived success in a golden age of sitcoms, Veronica's Closet starred Alley as a lingerie mogul, with an array of guest stars that included Jay Leno, Conan O'Brien, Anna Nicole Smith and RuPaul. Created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman, the show premiered to a whopping 35 million viewers.
Drop Dead Gorgeous
Underrated in 1999, Michael Patrick Jann's pageant queen mockumentary was mean-spirited to a degree that was probably ahead of its time. It's now a bona fide cult classic. Co-starring Kirsten Dunst and Denise Richards, it's an uncompromisingly rude, brutal dark comedy gem, with Alley firing on all cylinders as a nightmarish pageant mother.
Along with Brenda Hampton, Alley co-developed Fat Actress as a knowing look at an industry survivor's struggle to with weight, getting decent parts and more. Lightly scripted and heavily improvised, the series premiere set viewership records for Showtime.
Developed by Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan, Fox's black comedy series was a loving tribute to slashers. Alley joined the ensemble cast that included Jamie Lee Curtis, Lea Michele and Emma Roberts in Season 2.