Inside Kirstie Alley's Tragic Loss At The Age Of 30

The year 1981 was a major one for Kirstie Alley. The year she turned 30 is also when she became an actor. Even though she had shown interest in movies and a passion for performing as a child, nothing about Alley's suburban upbringing in Wichita, Kansas, could've pointed her in that direction, according to Sitcom Preservation Society's book "Cheers TV Show: A Comprehensive Reference." So it took her some time to move to Los Angeles in pursuit of acting.

But as soon as she did, Alley had the opportunity to read for the role of Lt. Saavik in "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan," she told StarTrek.Com in 2016. After several auditions, the newcomer snagged the part. While it was her role as Rebecca Howe in "Cheers" that transformed her into a household name in 1987, it was "Star Trek" that kicked off Alley's career when the film came out in 1982. It was a risky move, considering Alley was as green as they come. But she left an impression. "I don't recall seeing another actor for that part who was as persuasive," director Nicholas Meyer told Star Trek: The Magazine, via Forgotten Trek

Her final audition, however, almost didn't happen. With almost no notice at all, Alley called producers to inform them she was unable to go, according to CNN. That could've been it. But they allowed Alley to do her final reading upon her return to Los Angeles. After all, Alley had to fly back home to attend a funeral.

Kirstie Alley's mother was killed by a drunk driver

Kirstie Alley was preparing for her final audition when she received a phone call from Kansas. "My sister succinctly and with great precision told me that my parents had been in a car wreck," she wrote in "How to Lose Your A** and Regain Your Life: Reluctant Confessions of a Big-butted Star," her 2005 memoir. "'Mom is dead and dad is dying,' were her exact words. 'You need to come home.'" Robert and Lillian "Mickie" Alley were on their way to a Halloween party in 1981 when they were struck by another driver.

Lillian died after being ejected from the car, Radar Online reported. Robert was injured but survived. The driver, Cherrie White, pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide, a misdemeanor, and received a one-year sentence plus rehabilitation. In 2021, Kirstie noted that White was released after three months. White admitted to being under the influence and expressed remorse. "That night is always on my mind ... I wish I could go back and change everything, but I cannot," she said.

White also attempted to arrange a meeting with Alley to apologize in person, but the actor had no interest. "If she changed her mind, I would tell Kirstie and her father how truly sorry I am for what happened that night and the pain that I caused them," White told Radar Online. Alley has remained steadfast in her beliefs. "My mother was killed by a drunk driver. No sympathy," she tweeted in 2017.

Kirstie Alley had a complicated relationship with her mother

Kirstie Alley was a middle child sandwiched between her older sister Colette and younger brother Craig Alley, according to "Cheers TV Show: A Comprehensive Reference." Colette was a model student who went on to become a biology teacher. Craig followed in their father's footsteps in the lumber business. Kirstie did nothing of what Robert and Lillian Alley expected of her. Rebellious by nature, Kirstie spent her high school days looking for ways to disperse her endless energy, much to her mother's chagrin. "I don't think my upbringing was good. My mom and I had a rough relationship," Alley told Emmy Magazine in 2013.

But in many ways, Alley also admired her mother. "One thing my mother was not short on was humor and wit," she wrote in "How to Lose Your A** and Regain Your Life: Reluctant Confessions of a Big-butted Star." Alley found solace in knowing Lillian died dressed up for Halloween. "I wish sometimes that the woman that killed my mother that night ... had known about my mother's costume because maybe she, too, would know that my mother was a pretty funny person," she wrote.

In 2018, Alley illustrated Lillian's vibrant personality on Twitter. She shared a photo showing her mother rocking itty-bitty shorts while striking a sexy pose. Kirstie sat in the background laughing. "Remembering my mother ... wishing I inherited her gams," Alley wrote. They may have clashed, but Kirstie and Lillian clearly had a thing or two in common.