Stars react to Kirstie Alley's death: 'Heart of gold,' 'brilliant' comic chops

Alley died of colon cancer Monday at the age of 71.

Kirstie Alley's celebrity friends are remembering the late actress' kind heart and impeccable comedic timing. File Photo by Ezio Petersen/UPI
1 of 5 | Kirstie Alley's celebrity friends are remembering the late actress' kind heart and impeccable comedic timing. File Photo by Ezio Petersen/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 6 (UPI) -- Kirstie Alley's former Cheers co-star Ted Danson says he learned of the actress' death after watching an old episode of the sitcom on a plane Monday.

"It was the episode where Tom Berenger proposes to Kirstie, who keeps saying no, even though she desperately wants to say yes," Danson told


"Kirstie was truly brilliant in it. Her ability to play a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown was both moving and hysterically funny," he said. "She made me laugh 30 years ago when she shot that scene, and she made me laugh today just as hard. As I got off the plane, I heard that Kirstie had died. I am so sad and so grateful for all the times she made me laugh. I send my love to her children. As they well know, their mother had a heart of gold. I will miss her."


Alley's children announced on Instagram Monday that she had died of cancer at the age of 71.

"Kirstie was a unique and wonderful person and friend. Her joy of being was boundless," actress Rhea Perlman, Alley's co-star on Cheers and Kirstie, said in a statement to Deadline.

"We became friends almost instantly when she joined the cast of Cheers. She loved kids and my kids loved her, too. We had sleepovers at her house, with treasure hunts that she created," Perlman added. "She had massive Halloween and Easter parties and invited the entire crew of the show and their families. She wanted everyone to feel included. She loved her children deeply. I've never met anyone remotely like her. I feel so thankful to have known her. I'm going to miss her very, very much."

Jamie Lee Curtis, who worked with her on Scream Queens, wrote on Instagram: "I've just heard the sad news that Kirstie Alley has died. She was a great comic foil in @tvscreamqueens and a beautiful mama bear in her very real life. She helped me buy onesies for my family that year for Christmas. We agreed to disagree about some things but had a mutual respect and connection. Sad news."

"A sweet soul pass on in Kristie Alley. Sad, sad news. Prayers for all her family," Tim Allen, he co-star in For Richer Or Poorer, tweeted.

"Kirstie graced us on The Middle with her talent when she portrayed 'Pam freakin' Staggs!' She was fun, funny & generous. We even spent a weekend together at a fundraiser in Mississippi -- never a dull moment when Kirstie was around. Peace to her family whom she adored. RIP Kirstie," wrote Patricia Heaton.

Kristin Chenoweth, who appeared with her on the sitcom Kirstie, tweeted: "I love you, Kirstie. I will see you again someday. I can't believe you're gone."

"Kirstie was beautiful in so many ways. I loved working with her. There was no one like her on earth. My condolences to her family," Clancy Brown, her Vhoot to Kill co-star tweeted.

"I felt lucky to know you @kirstiealley. Rest in peace, my friend," said comedian Adam Carolla.


Notable Deaths of 2022

Anita Pointer
Anita Pointer of the Grammy-winning Pointer Sisters stands with Andy Madadian (C) and La Toya Jackson (L) as Madadian is honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2020. Pointer, who performed alongside her sisters June and Ruth, died at the age of 74 on December 31 following a battle with cancer. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

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