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Updated: April 17, 2024

Kirstie Alley, the actress whose breakout role as the career-minded Rebecca Howe in the sitcom Cheers catapulted her career and earned her an Emmy Award and a Golden Globe, died on Monday, she was 71.

Ms. Alley quickly won over millions of viewers while playing Rebecca in Cheers, the timeless NBC show that was broadcast for 11 seasons in the 1980s and 90s. She had stepped in to replace Shelley Long in the ensemble cast in 1987, at the height of the series popularity, and remained until the final season. Critics noted how Ms. Alley had brought a refreshing new dynamic to the character, with writers giving her a more fun arc that helped create a denser joke machine, as one writer noted. At times, Rebecca, who managed the bar in the show, appeared to be a hapless and gold-digging mess. In other moments, Ms. Alley portrayed Rebecca with a faux-bravado, and with an attitude of indifference to others romantic advances.

Ms. Alley also starred in the NBC sitcom Veronicas Closet, which ran from 1997 to 2000. Her character was the successful head of a lingerie company.

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