As the new kid on the set, Kirstie made a point to fit in with the “Cheers” gang.

“When she showed up at the table for the first read of the first show that Rebecca Howe was in,” Burrows said, “She came dressed as Shelley Long, with a blonde wig and a little sweater or something that Diane wore. And it cut the tension. I'm sure it cut the tension for her, too.”

“I wanted to break the ice and get off to a fresh start,” Kirstie said. She admitted that she was extremely nervous. “For the first few days I was out of my mind. I felt like when I went to a new school in my new dress with my new pencil box.”

Kirstie's unique sex appeal set her apart from the numerous blonde TV stars (Heather Locklear, Heather Thomas, Morgan Fairchild, to name a few) of the 1980s.

“She's got an interesting sexuality,” Woody Harrelson said in a 1987 People article. “Not your standard bombshell sexuality. She's got this quirky side, which I think is much more interesting.”
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Classic TV Beauties 1980s Countdown
    KIRSTIE ALLEY as Rebecca Howe in "Cheers"
Kirstie was the spunky and spirited Rebecca, the social-climbing bar manager who hopelessly chased her boss and other rich tycoons while she fended off advances from Sam Malone (Ted Danson).

Rebecca could be aloof and standoffish; Kirstie called her character a “gutsy, ballsy businesswoman,” and Cheers waitress Carla Tortelli (Rhea Perlman) said Rebecca “eats live sharks for breakfast” – but she could also be insecure and neurotic.

“Cheers” director James Burrows told People magazine, “We thought of the part as a martinet, a bitch. Then we met her and there was this vulnerability, so we made her the neurotic woman of the 80s.”
When Burrows was casting the part to replace Diane Chambers after Shelley Long inexplicably left the show, he desired a different type of woman and promised that she wouldn't be a blonde waitress. Kirstie was the first actress he tested.

“(Kirstie) was an unfamiliar face on television so we wouldn't be tilting the balance of the show by bringing in a known quantity,” he said in the New York Times after Kirstie's first season of “Cheers” started. “She had an incredible sexy voice that was perfect to drive Sam bananas. In the test scene, there was a line where she says she's not attracted to Sam. With Kirstie, you believed it.”

In fact, one of Rebecca's first line to Sam was: “We only met a few seconds ago and I'm already tired of you.”
.No. 10
Like many sex symbols, Kirstie said that she's never viewed herself as being very attractive.

“I see someone with a crooked nose, my right eye's bigger than my left and sometimes I have zits,” she said in the 1987 People interview. “I also have this tiny face and lots of hair, which makes me look like Mrs. Potato Head.”

“Cheers” popularity didn't skip a beat after Kirstie replaced Diane Chambers (Shelley Long) the cast in 1987.  For seasons 6-11, the show's ratings were: No. 3, No. 4, No. 3, No. 1, No. 4, and No. 8.

Kirstie was nominated for five Emmys and three Golden Globes for Outstanding Lead Actress on “Cheers,” and she won an Emmy and a Golden Globe in 1991.

A native of Wichita, Kirstie attended Kansas State University but dropped out to work as an interior designer. She moved to LA, appeared as a contestant on “The Match Game,” and three years later made her movie debut in 1982 in “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan,” playing a Vulcan.
During this time, however, Kirstis was afflicted by drug addiction. She told People: “I avoided drugs all during high school and college. Then somebody said I'd really like cocaine...I was whacked out of my mind for two years. It wasn't good, but it wasn't a story of someone lying in a gutter. It was a personal failure.”

Kirstie lost out on the sexpot role of Matty Walker to Kathleen Turner in the neo-noir film “Body Heat,” but she won a part in the TV mini-series “North and South,” playing Virgilia Hazard for two seasons (1985-86).

During her “Cheers” time Kirstie starred in the three “Look Who's Talking” movies with John Travolta, playing Mollie Ubriacco in the romantic comedy.

Kirstie returned to TV in 1997 for “Veronica's Closet,” playing lingerie company owner Veronica Chase. She was nominated for an Emmy in 1997 and a Golden Globe in 1998.
Kirstie Alley "Cheers" Rebecca Howe
Kirstie Alley "Cheers" Rebecca Howe
Kirstie Alley "Cheers" Rebecca Howe
Kirstie Alley "Cheers" Rebecca Howe
Kirstie Alley "Cheers" Rebecca Howe
More recently, Kirstie has gained notoriety for her weight fluctuations, adding on and then losing up to 100 pounds. During that time she appeared in reality series “Fat Actress” and “Kirstie Alley's Big Life.”

“It's a little hard to be closed about my weight when you have 20 papparazzis living at your house,” she said.

Kirstie remained in the spotlight in 2011, appearing as a contestant in “Dancing with the Stars.” After losing 60 pounds while preparing for the dance training, she shed another 30 pounds during the show's run. She finished second to football star Hines Ward.

“I was pissed off when I didn't win. I was trying to act like a good sport but I'm not a good sport. I was trying to act when they didn't call my name,” she told David Letterman.

Rebecca Howe or Diane Chambers?
Kirstie Alley "Cheers" Rebecca Howe
         78%                  22%
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Linda Hamilton "Beauty and the Beast"
Heather Locklear "Dynasty" "TJ Hooker" "Melrose Place"
Linda Thompson "Hee Haw"
Morgan Fairchild "Flamingo Road" "Falcon Crest"
Phylicia Rashad "The Cosby Show" Clair Huxtable
Lisa Bonet "The Cosby Show" "Different World" Denise Huxtable
Deborah Shelton "Dallas" Mandy Winger
Pam Dawber "Mork & Mindy" Mindy McConnell
Shelley Long "Cheers" Diane Chambers
Marg Helgenberger "China Beach" KC Koloski
Lisa Bonet "The Cosby Show" "Different World" Denise Huxtable
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