“Cheers” premiered on television 40 years ago on Friday, making everyone want to go somewhere where everybody knows their name. The show made its cast members household names, even spawning a spin-off show, “Frasier,” and a reboot is in the works.
The show did not start off as a ratings’ superstar. However, it quickly became one of the most popular shows on air, with many members of its cast getting nominated for, and even winning, Emmy Awards. By the end of its 11 season run, “Cheers” was getting a record setting 26 million viewers each week.
“I hope and assume that every good comedy writer, no matter the age, has a moment where they discover how great “Cheers” is,” mega fan Amy Poehler told GQ in 2012. “And I would encourage any young person getting into comedy to sit down and watch it.”
Here is what the cast has been up to since starring in the iconic show.
Ted Danson got his big break on “Cheers,” starring as bartender Sam Malone from 1982-1993. Throughout his years on “Cheers,” Danson also took on film roles, starring in “Three Men and a Baby,” its sequel “Three Men and a Little Lady” and “Cousins” with Isabella Rossellini.
In 1998, Danson began starring in another successful sitcom, “Becker,” which ran for six years. Around that time, he also began playing a fictionalized version of himself on “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” In 2011, he began starring in “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” where he stayed on for four years.
In 2016, Danson began starring in his third successful show, “The Good Place,” alongside Kristen Bell. He played Michael, a demon who becomes the good guy after meeting and befriending four individuals he was tasked with torturing in their afterlife. For his role as Michael, Danson was nominated for a number of awards.
Danson has been married to actress Mary Steenburgen since 1995. The couple share no children, but Danson is stepfather to Steenburgen’s two children from a previous marriage. Danson has been passionate about the environment since his youth, and in October 2019 he was arrested at a climate protest in Washington D.C.
Shelley Long had been acting since the 70s before she landed the role of Diane Chambers on “Cheers.”
Long made the decision to leave the show after its fifth season, and speaking about it later said she wanted to spend more time with her young daughter and was worried the material would go stale. She assured everyone she never regretted her decision.
While still on “Cheers,” Long was nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance in the 1984 film “Irreconcilable Differences.” She also starred in the 1992 feature film, “A Message from Holly.” Since then, Long has mainly acted in TV movies such as “The Brady Bunch Movie” and its sequels, and “Vanished Without a Trace.”
Long returned to “Cheers” for its series finale in 1993, and received an Emmy nomination for the episode. She has since appeared as a guest or recurring character on few shows, including “8 Simple Rules,” “Yes Dear,” and “Switched at Birth.” She has a recurring role on “Modern Family” where she played Ed O’Niell’s character’s ex-wife.
Long married her second husband, Bruce Tyson, in 1981. However, the couple announced they were separating in 2003 and ultimately divorced in 2004. The couple share one daughter, Juliana.
During her time on “Cheers,” Rhea Perlman won Emmy Awards for best supporting actress four times, in 1984, 1985, 1986 and 1989 and was nominated for a Golden Globe for best supporting actress a record-breaking six times.
In the early to mid 1990s, Perlman starred in many feature films, including “There Goes the Neighborhood,” Carpool” and “Sunset Park.” Perlman appeared on-screen with her husband Danny DeVito a number of times, including in the movie “Matilda,” where they played a husband and wife who are parents to a young girl with supernatural abilities.
Perlman continued her acting career, taking guest spots and recurring roles on a number of television shows, such as “The Mindy Project” from 2014-2017, and also starred in a few TV movies. She made her return to the stage when she appeared as Bertha in the 2007 rendition of “Boeing Boeing” on the West End in London. She also starred alongside her daughter in the off-Broadway play “Love, Loss, and What I Wore” in 2009.
In 2012, Perlman and DeVito announced they were separating, but reconciled a few months later. They separated a second time in 2017, and although they have not gotten back together, Perlman says the two will never officially divorce. They remain close and share three children Lucy Chet DeVito, Grace Fan DeVito, and Jacob Daniel DeVito.
Woody Harrelson joined “Cheers” in the final eight episodes of the fourth season as a replacement for Nicholas Colasanto, who passed away while filming season four. He won one Emmy for his performance on the show, having been nominated for five throughout his tenure playing bartender Woody Boyd.
While still appearing on “Cheers,” Harrelson jump-started his film career, starting with the 1986 film “Wildcats.” He followed that with two successful films, “White Men Can’t Jump” and “Indecent Proposal” alongside Demi Moore. He starred in many Academy Award-nominated or winning films such as “No Country for Old Men,” “The People vs Larry Flint,” “The Thin Red Line,” “The Messenger” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.”
In 2012, Harrelson starred in “The Hunger Games” and its three sequels. In the early 2000s, he began his work on the stage, directing the play “Furthest From the Sun” and starring in the West End’s “Night of the Iguana” from 2005-06.
In 2008, Harrelson married Laura Louie and the couple share three children, Deni, Zoe, and Makani. He has had run-ins with the law occasionally, the first being in 1996 for planting hemp seeds in Kentucky. He is a big proponent of the legalization of hemp and marijuana.
Kirstie Alley appeared in several film and TV projects prior to her taking on the role of Rebecca Howe in the sixth season of “Cheers,” replacing Shelley Long after her departure. She won an Emmy Award for her portrayal of Rebecca in 1991.
In 1995, Alley won her second Emmy Award for her work on the TV movie, “David’s Mother,” and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame that same year. A few years after “Cheers” ended, Alley starred in another sitcom, “Veronica’s Closet,” which ran on NBC for three seasons and was a spokesperson for Jenny Craig from 2005 to 2008.
In 2011, Alley was involved in a class action lawsuit over weight-loss supplement claims involving Organic Liaison. She settled the suit for $130,000 and changes to her product.
Alley married Parker Stevenson in 1983, and the two adopted their son William in 1992 and their daughter Lillie in 1995. The two divorced in 1997. In 2016, Alley became a first time grandmother after William welcomed a son.
Kelsey Grammer, who got his start as a stage actor, starred on “Cheers” as Dr. Frasier Crane in the show’s third season. Grammer continued to play the character for another 11 years after the end of “Cheers” on the show’s popular spin-off show “Frasier.”
Throughout his time on “Frasier,” Grammer returned to the stage in 1992, playing the titular role in “Richard II.” He also did a lot of voiceover work for animated movies including “Anastasia” and “Toy Story 2.” Grammer was nominated for an Emmy for his role in “Fraiser” 10 times, winning the award four times. He also starred in a handful of shows post-“Fraiser.”
The actor is getting ready to reprise his iconic role for the “Fraiser” reboot. During an appearance on CBS’ “The Talk,” Grammer revealed he cried a few times while reading the script for the first episode, adding he is happy with the show.
Grammer has been married four times. He was married to Doreen Alderman for nearly 10 years. The former pair shares daughter Spencer Grammer together. He was then briefly married to Leigh-Anne Csuhany.
Grammer went on to marry “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” alum and model Camille Donatacci. They have two children together, a daughter named Mason and a son named Jude. Grammer and Camille divorced in 2011.
He has since married his girlfriend Kayte Walsh and has three children with her, sons Kelsey and Auden and daughter Faith. He also has a daughter named Greer Grammer with his ex-girlfriend, makeup artist Barrie Buckner.
George Wendt, who was an alumnus of sketch comedy and improv theater Second City, starred on “Cheers” as Norm Peterson. While he never won an Emmy Award for his role, he was nominated six consecutive times in the best supporting actor in a comedy series category.
After the end of “Cheers,” Wendt appeared as a guest on many TV shows, and starred in a number of short lives shows, one of them being “Modern Men.” In 2006, Wendt took his talents to the stage, starring in “Twelve Angry Men” in Washington D.C., and then as Edna Turnblad in the musical “Hairspray” on Broadway in 2008.
From November 2013 to January 2014, Wendt starred in “Never to Late” at the New Theater Restaurant in Kansas with his wife. He later reprised his role of Edna Turnblad in 2016.
Wendt is married to Bernadette Birkett, and has three children: Hilary, Joe, and Daniel.
When Nicholas Colasanto was approached to star in “Cheers” as Coach Ernie Pantusso, he was thinking about retiring from the business. He took on the role however, and Coach became the character he was most well known for.
Unfortunately, Colasanto was diagnosed with heart disease in the late 70s, prior to the start of the show, and his health quickly began to decline during the third season of the show. In December 1984, he was admitted to the hospital because he had water in his lungs and stayed there for two weeks.
Although doctors said he should not return to work, he continued to act on the show until his death, his last full episode being “Cheerio Cheers,” which aired in 1985 but was filmed in November 1984. Not too long after filming the episode, Colasanto died of a heart attack in February 1985 at the age of 61.
The “Cheers” writers wrote his character out of the show by having his character also pass away. The season premiere of the fourth season was about the character’s death and also introduced his replacement, Woody Boyd, played by Woody Harrelson.
Having gotten her start in theater, Bebe Neuwirth had no interest in television acting and when she auditioned for “Cheers,” her character was only meant to be in one episode. The writers loved her character so much they made her a recurring character for seasons four through nine and a main character for seasons nine through 11. She won two Emmy Awards for her work on the show.
While on “Cheers,” she began a film career, earning small roles in films like “Say Anything” and “Malice” with her first lead role coming in 1993 with the thriller comedy “The Paint Job.” She also had small roles in movies such as “Jumanji” and “Summer of Sam.” In 1996, she returned to theater as Velma in “Chicago,” earning a Tony Award for her performance. She made her finale return to the stage in 2019.
Neuwirth had a number of guest roles in TV shows, including “Will & Grace,” “Hack” and “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” In 2014, she joined the cast of “Madame Secretary,” but chose to leave the show after its fourth season. She is still currently working in television, with her latest credits being “Julia” and “Duncanville.”
After divorcing her fist husband in 1991, Neuwirth married director, producer and writer Chris Calkins in 2009.
As someone trained in improv, John Ratzenberger often had a lot of input on certain things about his character. He came up with the idea to have his character, Cliff Clavin, wear his signature white socks and repeat “it’s a little known fact,” when telling his stories to the group.
After “Cheers” came to an end, Ratzenberger began his long career as a voice actor, working exclusively with Pixar on a total of 22 animated films. He voiced Hamm in all four “Toy Story” movies, P.T. Flea, the Circus Ring Leader in “A Bug’s Life,” Fritz in “Inside Out” and Juan Ortodoncia in “Coco.”
Ratzeberger has been married twice, the first time to Georgia Stiny in 1984. They divorced in 2004 after 19 years of marriage. The ex-couple shares two children. His second marriage was to Julie Blichfeldt who he married in November 2012.
In 1995, Ratzenberger founded the Harbor School in Seattle, which teaches kids from kindergarten to eighth grade. He is also a boating expert, being the first person to row completely around Vashon Island. He rowed consecutively for 16 hours to raise money for the Special Olympics.