How Old Were Cast of Cheers When Sitcom Series Premiered?

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We were heartbroken to read of the recent passing of Kirstie Alley, which got us thinking about the life and career of the famous American actress.

Kirstie Alley passed away after a private battle with cancer at the age of 71Kirstie Alley passed away after a private battle with cancer at the age of 71 (Credit: Elder Ordonez / INFphoto)

Of course, Alley’s breakthrough role was with the popular American sitcom Cheers, where she played buttoned-up businesswoman Rebecca Howe. Alley portrayed the role of Rebecca from 1987 to 1993.

Although she was a later addition to the main cast (she only had her character debut in the sixth season of the show), she managed to become one of the most iconic characters of the sitcom that both critics and audiences loved.

For her work in Cheers, Alley won a Golden Globe Award in 1991 for Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical Series, and she even won an Emmy Award in 1991 as an Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.

Alley was 36 years old by the time she appeared in her first episode of Cheers, entitled Home Is the Sailor, which is the sixth-season premiere of the show.

Kirstie Alley as Rebecca Howe in the popular sitcom television series CheersKirstie Alley as Rebecca Howe in the popular sitcom television series Cheers (Credit: NBC)

The recent passing of Kirstie Alley made us think about the cast of Cheers as a whole – how old they were when they first starred in the iconic sitcom and where they are today.

Read on to get an update on all of your favorite cast members from Cheers.

How Old Was Ted Danson When He First Starred in Cheers?

Ted Danson plays Sam Malone, one of three characters to appear in every single episode of Cheers. Danson was born in 1947, meaning he was 35 years old when he appeared in the series debut of the show in 1982.

Multiple actors were initially considered for the role of Sam Malone, including John Lithgow, William Devane, and Fred Dryer before Danson landed the part of playing the bar-owning Lothario for eleven years.

Ted Danson as Sam Malone in the popular sitcom television series CheersTed Danson as Sam Malone in the popular sitcom television series Cheers (Credit: NBC)

Nowadays, Danson is perhaps known to more modern audiences as Michael in NBC’s The Good Place, which ran from 2016 to 2020. He also played the role of Mayor Neil Bremer in NBC’s Mr. Mayor, which was canceled after two seasons.

How Old Was Shelley Long When She First Starred in Cheers?

Shelley Long portrayed the role of Diane Chambers during the first five seasons of the show, where she acts as the female foil for Sam Malone’s boorish tendencies.

Like the role of Sam, multiple actresses were considered before Long got the part. Actress Bess Armstrong was even offered the role, while Julie Duffy and Lisa Eichorn were considered for the part. Born in 1949, Long was 33 years old by the time the first episode of Cheers premiered.

Shelley Long as Diane Chambers in the popular sitcom television series CheersShelley Long as Diane Chambers in the popular sitcom television series Cheers (Credit: NBC)

Long opted to leave the show after five seasons, citing a desire to pursue a film career and to be closer to her family. She recently appeared as a guest star in eight episodes of the popular sitcom Modern Family from 2009 to 2018.

How Old Was Rhea Perlman When She First Starred in Cheers?

Another one of the three characters to appear in every single episode of Cheers is Carla Tortelli. Played by Rhea Perlman, Carla is a wise-cracking and mean-spirited waitress who works at the bar.

During the casting process, Rhea Perlman was the very first actress to be cast as a main character for the sitcom. Perlman was born in 1948, making her 36 years old by the time the first episode of the show premiered.

Rhea Perlman as Carla Tortelli in the popular sitcom television series CheersRhea Perlman as Carla Tortelli in the popular sitcom television series Cheers (Credit: NBC)

Perlman was a fan favorite of the show, and she managed to sweep the Emmy Awards with wins for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series in 1984, 1985, 1986, and 1989.

She has recently worked behind the camera as a post-production assistant for Barbie (2023), as well as providing voiceover work for animated shows.

How Old Was George Wendt When He First Starred in Cheers?

The last of three characters who have appeared in every single episode of Cheers, George Wendt plays the role of Norm Peterson, who is one of the regulars at the bar.

George Wendt as Norm Peterson in the popular sitcom television series CheersGeorge Wendt as Norm Peterson in the popular sitcom television series Cheers (Credit: NBC)

Initially, Norm was not intended to be one of the main characters, rather, he was supposed to appear in one episode as one of the various customers at the bar. Wendt was the only main character to be a customer before being joined by friends Cliff Calvin, Frasier Crane, and Lilith Sternin.

George Wendt was born in 1948, and he was 36 years old when he first appeared in Cheers. After an unsuccessful attempt at his own show, George Wendt currently stars in a variety of films and has guest roles in television shows like The Goldbergs and Fresh Off the Boat.

How Old Was Kelsey Grammer When He First Starred in Cheers?

Initially having a small role as one of Norm Peterson’s friends, Kelsey Grammer’s Frasier Crane was only featured as a recurring character for the third and fourth seasons of the show before he was upgraded to the main cast in the fifth season.

Grammer was born in 1955, and he was 30 years old by the time of his first appearance in the show.

Kelsey Grammer as Frasier Crane in the popular sitcom television series CheersKelsey Grammer as Frasier Crane in the popular sitcom television series Cheers (Credit: NBC)

Of course, Grammer went on to star in Frasier, a successful spinoff that lasted for 11 seasons and was just as popular as Cheers.

As of late, Grammer has opted to lend his talents to the theater, starring in productions like Man of La Mancha at the London Coliseum in 2019 and The Boy Friend at the Princess of Wales Theatre in 2020.

How Old Was Woody Harrelson When He First Starred in Cheers?

Perhaps the most famous star to have his career start in Cheers, Woody Harrelson first appeared as the dimwitted Woody Boyd in the fourth season premiere of the show in 1985.

Harrelson was 24 years old when he appeared in the episode entitled Birth, Death, Love and Rice.

Woody Harrelson as Woody Boyd in the popular sitcom television series CheersWoody Harrelson as Woody Boyd in the popular sitcom television series Cheers (Credit: NBC)

Most readers would know what Woody Harrelson is up to these days, considering he has managed to enjoy a very successful career in Hollywood since appearing in Cheers.

Recently, Harrelson has gone on to appear in The Hunger Games film series (2012 to 2015), Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018), and Venom: Let There Be Carnage (2021).

The cast of the popular sitcom television series Cheers, which ran from 1982 to 1993 with a total of 275 half-hour episodes across 11 seasonsThe cast of the popular sitcom television series Cheers, which ran from 1982 to 1993 with a total of 275 half-hour episodes across 11 seasons (Credit: NBC)

Cheers managed to be one of the most successful sitcoms of all time and ushered in a golden age for the genre in American television during the 1990s. This is definitely due in part to the talented cast of comedic actors, who helped to bring the characters of the show to life.

We will always remember Kirstie Alley for the color she brought to the character of Rebecca Howe in Cheers.

Kirstie Alley as Rebecca Howe in the popular sitcom television series CheersKirstie Alley as Rebecca Howe in the popular sitcom television series Cheers (Credit: NBC)

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