When Kirstie Alley Joined ‘Cheers’: Cast Reflects on Memorable Gift of a Shotgun

The cast of Cheers nailed it with their warm welcome gift for Kirstie Alley.

During the Cheers reunion at the ATX TV Festival in Austin, actor George Wendt, aged 74, shared a delightful anecdote about the time he and fellow cast member John Ratzenberger, aged 76, were entrusted with finding a gift for Alley when she joined the show in Season 6.


As they sat down for dinner before the show, the realization hit them that they hadn’t prepared a gift. Wendt recalled their conversation, saying, “We were like, ‘Oh my, we should have gotten her something, right?’ And then we thought, ‘Maybe some flowers or something…'” However, Ted Danson had other commitments, and Rhea Perlman declined to help.

Undeterred, Wendt and Ratzenberger took it upon themselves to locate a present. They decided to explore the trendy Melrose area in Hollywood. Wendt humorously mentioned, “We were driving past all these places, and then we passed Big 5 Sporting Goods, and John goes, ‘Do you want to buy her a shotgun?'” The crowd burst into laughter at the remark.

Wendt continued, “And just like you, I laughed for about five minutes.” However, they decided to act on the joke and promptly pulled into the store’s parking lot, purchasing a shotgun as their chosen gift. Jokingly, Wendt added, “John and I were never entrusted with gift duties again.”


Ratzenberger chimed in, revealing that Wendt took the jest a step further. “I think you even wrote on the card, ‘You’re gonna have to shoot your way out,'” he said.

It’s worth noting that Alley sadly passed away from cancer at the age of 71 in December. She achieved fame in 1987 for her role as Rebecca Howe on the popular NBC sitcom Cheers, which took place in Boston. She received a Golden Globe for Best Actress and an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in 1991 for her exceptional performance on the show.

Following the announcement of Alley’s passing, several cast members, including Kelsey Grammer, Ted Danson, and Rhea Perlman, paid tribute to the beloved star. Danson shared a personal anecdote, stating, “I watched an old episode of Cheers on a plane today, something I rarely do. It was the episode where Tom Berenger proposes to Kirstie, who keeps saying no, even though she desperately wants to say yes. Kirstie was truly brilliant in it. Her ability to portray a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown was both moving and hysterically funny.”

Grammer also expressed his thoughts, saying, “I always believed grief for a public figure is a private matter, but I will say I loved her.” Perlman shared her fond memories, stating, “Kirstie was a unique and wonderful person and friend. Her joy of being was boundless. 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 hosted massive Halloween and Easter parties, inviting the entire crew of the show and their families. She wanted everyone to feel included. She had deep love for her children. I’ve never met anyone quite like her. I am grateful to have known her, and I will miss her immensely.”

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