Wouldn’t you like to get away to someplace everybody knows your name? That wasn’t exactly on Diane Chambers’ to-do list, but it gave the sitcom world the likes of Shelley long in Cheers, so everything ended well. As for Long herself, she became a beloved part of Cheers, but her story doesn’t end there. Catch up with her here.
Born on August 23, 1949, Shelley Long showed a natural affinity for the spotlight at an early age. Originally, though, this came in the form of public speaking and debate, which she actually won national awards for. This proved enough to inspire a transition into drama, which she studied at Northwestern University. She was so eager to get out into the field, she didn’t even fully graduate before heading off to become an actress and model. Her first gigs came in the form of local Chicago-based commercials.
A cheerful big break, but only just the start
Just as she showed an early affinity for speaking in front of an audience, Long also showed skill at comedy specifically. Her credits spanned across genres, though, from soap operas to sitcoms. Similar to Diane Chambers’ reluctance to join the bar staff, Long felt uncertain about joining Cheers. However, her career might have thanked her for this choice. Long received five Emmy nominations, at last winning Best Actress in ‘83.
RELATED: ‘Cheers’ Cast Then And Now 2021
Even Ted Danson, one of the nominal stars of Cheers, readily admitted, “You put us on the map, We hadn’t seen a character like Diane Chambers for years.” Likewise, Long had nothing but praise for many of her colleagues on set. But familial obligations called her away; though, so did a desire to act on the silver screen, which she got many big opportunities to as well.
Did Shelley Long regret leaving Cheers?
She did just that too, playing out every homeowners’ nightmares with Tom Hanks in The Money Pit, then leading a group of scouts as a very-Diane Chambers-like character in Troop Beverly Hills. Most famously, though, she returned to the small screen as DeDe Prichett in Modern Family, the zany ex-wife of Jay Prichett, who’s been responsible for a lot of drama for her kids and ex.
All this allowed Long to try out different things a lot more often than Cheers did, which was also another reason for her departure. She really “didn’t want to keep doing the same episode over and over again and the same story. I didn’t want it to become old and stale.” Today, she calls working on Cheers “a dream come true,” but insists, “I never regretted that decision” to leave.
Today, Long is 71 years old, and has a movie in production co-starring with Wonder Woman’s Lynda Carter called The Cleaner.