Cast of Cheers : Where Are They? What Are They Doing Now In 2022?

In the fall of 1982, “Cheers” debuted on NBC. The sitcom set in a Boston bar quickly became a favorite of critics and fans for its witty dialogue, memorable storylines, and likable cast of characters. The show made Ted Danson and Shelley Long household names, and its opening theme song by Gary Portnoy, “Where Everybody Knows Your Name,” quickly became one of the most memorable TV themes of all time. “Cheers” ran 11 seasons and eventually led to one of the most successful sitcom spin-offs with “Frasier,” which also ran for 11 seasons and won 37 Emmy Awards.

Though “Cheers” was an instant hit with critics and won five Emmys including best comedy series in its first season, it was not a ratings success until summer reruns in 1983. By the end of its run in 1993, “Cheers” averaged a record 26 million viewers a week, per GQ. The show also included many big-name guest stars over the years, including Harry Connick Jr., Emma Thompson, and John Cleese, who won an Emmy for outstanding guest performer in a comedy series as a psychiatrist who bluntly tells Sam and Diane that getting married would be a huge mistake. Many real-life local political figures also popped up as themselves, including then-Senator John Kerry, then-Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill, then-Governor Michael Dukakis, and Robert F. Kennedy’s widow Ethel.

We take a look back at the diverse actors from the classic series that turned 40 in September 2022, where they are now, and their other big- and small-screen achievements outside of “Cheers.”

Bebe Neuwirth

A Broadway veteran, Bebe Neuwirth joined “Cheers” in Season 4 as Dr. Lilith Sternin, the love interest of Dr. Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer). The two eventually marry, but in the final season of the show, Lilith has an affair with another man, and the fate of their marriage is never fully resolved until the premiere episode of “Frasier.” Neuwirth won two Emmy Awards for her work and made 12 guest appearances on “Frasier,” one of which earned her an Emmy nomination.

Neuwirth won two Tony Awards for the revivals of “Sweet Charity” and “Chicago.” Her other Broadway credits include “A Chorus Line,” the 1994 revival of “Damn Yankees,” and “The Addams Family.” Her notable film work includes roles in “Bugsy” with Warren Beatty, Woody Allen’s “Celebrity,” and “Jumanji” with Robin Williams. In 2022, Neuwirth reunited with “Frasier” co-star David Hyde-Pierce for the HBO Max series “Julia” about chef Julia Child. Neuwirth played Child’s real-life friend, cookbook editor Avis DeVoto, and Hyde-Pierce played Child’s husband Paul.

There has been talk of a “Frasier” reboot for several years. In March 2022, Neuwirth told “Good Morning America,” “People keep asking us about a reboot, but we don’t know anything about it.” According to Deadline, Paramount+ has greenlit the new series which will follow Frasier as he moves to a new city. A clever spoof trailer of a “Frasier” reboot appeared on YouTube in 2022, depicting a dark and brooding series along the line of the “Dark Knight” film franchise.

George Wendt

As the perpetually pessimistic, beer-guzzling barfly Norm Peterson, George Wendt endeared himself to viewers, greeted whenever he stepped foot in Cheers with the group shout of “Noooorm!” Diane (Shelley Long) considered herself too sophisticated to shout Norm and would greet him as “Norman,” while the ever well-mannered Woody (Woody Harrelson) simply called him “Mr. Peterson.” Norm’s best friend is fellow barfly Cliff Clavin (John Ratzenberger). Wendt received six consecutive Emmy nominations for outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series for the role.

Wendt appeared uncredited eight times on “Saturday Night Live” in the ’90s as the character Bob Swerski, part of a group of Chicago sports fans whose signature line was their pronunciation of the Chicago Bears: “Da bears!” Wendt has continued to work steadily since “Cheers,” and has done regional theater, appearing in productions of the musical “Hairspray” as Edna Turnblad, a role originated on film by Divine and later played by John Travolta in the movie adaptation. In 2002, Wendt reprised his role as Norm for an episode of “Frasier,” briefly appearing alongside former co-stars Rhea Perlman, John Ratzenberger, Philip Perlman, and Paul Wilson.

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He has been married since 1978 to actress Bernadette Birkett, who he met when they both were in Chicago’s Second City improv troupe. She played Cliff’s Halloween date on one episode of “Cheers” and later the off-screen voice of Norm’s wife Vera.

John Ratzenberger

Prior to being cast as smart-aleck mailman Cliff Clavin on “Cheers,” John Ratzenberger worked steadily in minor roles in such big-budget spectacles as “Superman,” “Superman II,” “The Empire Strikes Back,” “Reds,” and “Gandhi.” Cliff spent so much time showing off his knowledge to other barflies like his best friend Norm Peterson (George Wendt), it was a wonder any mail ever got delivered. Ratzenberger was twice nominated for the Emmy Award for outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series.

Ratzenberger’s post-“Cheers” career found him as a frequent voiceover actor in animated films by Pixar, including all four “Toy Story” films, “Finding Nemo,” “Ratatouille,” and “WALL-E,” to name just a few. In addition to his numerous voice roles in animated movies, Ratzenberger has twice reunited with his former “Cheers” co-stars via guest roles in live-action series. In 2002, Ratzenberger guest starred on “Frasier” on the occasion of the veteran mailman’s retirement party. 11 years later, the actor appeared in an episode of “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” alongside Ted Danson.

Like former “Cheers” co-star Kelsey Grammer, Ratzenberger is an outspoken conservative Republican in a business dominated by liberal Democrats. He and Grammer campaigned together for John McCain when he ran for president in 2008 (per Adweek) and Mitt Romney when he ran in 2012 (per the Las Vegas Sun). Ratzenberger also supported Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential bid and told FOX Business Network’s Stuart Varney, “I think there will be a lot of people apologizing to him at the end of his first four years . . . He’s doing a wonderful job as far as manufacturing is concerned.”

Kelsey Grammer

Kelsey Grammer first appeared as Dr. Frasier Crane in Season 3 of “Cheers” as the love interest of Diane (Shelley Long), who jilts Frasier at the altar, leaving him to frequent the bar and become a regular cast member in Season 5. Pompous, well-educated, and given to clever witticisms, Frasier Crane was such a compelling character that his own spin-off, “Frasier,” which debuted in 1993 and ran for 11 seasons, ranks as one of the most successful series in television history. Grammer won four Emmy Awards for outstanding actor in a comedy series, tying with Carroll O’Connor, Michael J. Fox, and Jim Parsons for most wins in that category.

After “Frasier” ended in 1994, Grammer made three different comedy-based attempts to return to the small screen, all of which were canceled inside of their first seasons. In 2011, Grammer fared somewhat better with the Starz drama series “Boss,” where he played a fictional Chicago mayor. That show ran for two seasons, and Grammer won a Golden Globe Award for his role.

Grammer also earned success on Broadway in the 2010 revival of the musical “Las Cage aux Folles,” which earned him a Tony Award nomination. He won a Tony Award in 2016 as one of the producers of the revival of “The Color Purple.” An outspoken Republican, Grammer is a political rarity in Hollywood. According to New York magazine, he was a guest at George W. Bush’s first inauguration and supported Rudy Giuliani’s presidential bid in 2007, later endorsing John McCain.

Kirstie Alley

When Shelley Long decided to leave “Cheers” to focus on her movie career and family, there was a sense that Long was irreplaceable and that the show would suffer without her. Instead, Kirstie Alley came along and breathed new life into the series. She played Rebecca Howe, the new, no-nonsense owner of Cheers who, like Long, spars with Sam amid obvious sexual tension. Alley won an Emmy Award for her work on the series in 1991 and another in 1994 for the dramatic TV movie “David’s Mother.”

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Alley was also a longtime member of the Church of Scientology, which she credited with helping her beat an addiction to cocaine in the 1970s (per Fox News). “Probably all religions sound bizarre to people who are not the practitioners of them,” she told Entertainment Tonight. In 1997, Alley starred in the NBC sitcom “Veronica’s Closet,” which ran for three seasons. Alley faced struggles with weight gain in the years after “Cheers.” She dealt with it with her typical humor, appearing as a fictional version of herself in the Showtime series “Fat Actress” in 2005.

Alley died on December 5, 2022, after a brief battle with colon cancer, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Alley’s fans and colleagues were stunned by the news of her passing. “Kirstie was a unique and wonderful person and friend,” Rhea Perlman said in a statement to People. “Her joy of being was boundless.” Fellow Scientologist John Travolta, her co-star in the “Look Who’s Talking” films, posted on Instagram, “Kirstie was one of the most special relationships I’ve ever had. I love you Kirstie. I know we will see each other again.”

Rhea Perlman

Rhea Perlman won four Emmy Awards for her portrayal of the acerbic waitress Carla Tortelli on “Cheers.” Her backstory included a dopey ex-husband (Dan Hedaya) and his scatterbrained second wife (Jean Kasem), who inspired a short-lived spin-off called “The Tortellis.” Perlman first gained attention for appearing in five episodes of “Taxi” as the girlfriend of her real-life husband Danny DeVito’s Louie De Palma.

Although DeVito never appeared alongside his wife on “Cheers,” the two have shared the small screen and the big screen plenty of other times. In fact, IMDb lists more than 80 titles that include both stars. For example, in 1984, Perlman and DeVito co-starred in the Showtime cable film “The Ratings Game,” which was also directed by DeVito. Of course, the duo’s most famous on-screen adventure came in 1996’s Matilda, in which they played the uneducated, criminal parents of the titular character.

For many years, Perlman and DeVito were viewed as an ideal Hollywood couple as they are both diminutive in stature and known for playing loudmouth characters. Although the two separated in 2017, they remain married, good friends, and parents to three adult children. “Danny and I have always loved each other,” she told Andy Cohen on “Watch What Happens Live” in 2019. “And we really agree on almost everything important. We’ve been together for 40 years.”

Shelley Long

Shelley Long brought a lot of bubbly blond energy to “Cheers” as flighty Diane Chambers, who in the pilot episode is dumped by her fiancé at the bar and then becomes a waitress there. Her savage barbs and sexual tension with Sam Malone (Ted Danson) made them one of the most beloved on-again, off-again couples in American sitcoms. Long won an Emmy and two Golden Globe Awards for her work. Prior to “Cheers,” Long guest starred on many ’70s series including “The Love Boat,” “Family,” and “M*A*S*H.” During her time on “Cheers,” she also starred in a number of feature films, including “Irreconcilable Differences” with Ryan O’Neal and Drew Barrymore, “The Money Pit” with Tom Hanks, and “Outrageous Fortune” with Bette Midler.

Long left “Cheers” after five seasons to focus on her movie career and family. She played Carol Brady in two big-screen “Brady Bunch” movies in 1995 and 1996, but after co-starring with Richard Gere in Robert Altman’s 2000 “Dr. T & the Women,” Long’s career stalled. In 2004, Long reportedly overdosed on painkillers in what the New York Post characterized as “an apparent suicide attempt,” following the break-up of her second marriage.

Thankfully, Long survived the incident and continues to occasionally appear on television. From 2009 to 2018, she recurred on “Modern Family” as DeDe Pritchett, the ex-wife of Ed O’Neill’s character, Jay. In 2021, she appeared alongside Eden Brolin and Lynda Carter in a film titled “The Cleaner.” Although we’ve previously noted that Diane from “Cheers” is unrecognizable today, we can certainly still see Diane’s giddily optimistic spirit.

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If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

Ted Danson

Ted Danson had made a number of guest appearances on various TV series in the ’70s and early ’80s, but he was a virtual unknown to most audiences when he debuted in the lead role on “Cheers.” That quickly changed after the show’s premiere. As former Boston Red Sox relief pitcher and recovering alcoholic Sam Malone, Danson’s good looks and quick wit made him a fan favorite. Danson won two Emmy Awards for outstanding lead actor in a comedy series for the show.

Throughout the show’s 11-year run, Danson also became one of Hollywood’s most sought-after film actors.He played against type as a father who molests his daughter in the groundbreaking 1984 TV movie “Something About Amelia.” Among his other feature films are 1989’s “Cousins,” 1989’s “Dad,” and 1998’s “Saving Private Ryan.” He also starred alongside Tom Selleck and Steve Guttenberg in the blockbuster hit “Three Men and a Baby” and its sequel “Three Men and a Little Lady.”

Danson has been married to fellow actor Mary Steenburgen since 1995. Danson had just gone through his second divorce and come out of a controversial affair with Whoopi Goldberg when he met Steenburgen while making the 1994 film “Pontiac Moon.” Danson’s post-“Cheers” career has been a success, having starred in the sitcoms “Becker,” “The Good Place,” and “Mr. Mayor.” Danson is also known for his prior role on the FX drama series “Damages” and a recurring role as himself on HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”

A passionate champion of liberal causes, Danson was arrested along with Jane Fonda in 2019 during a climate protest at the U.S. Capitol, per CNN.

Woody Harrelson

Of all of the “Cheers” alumni, Woody Harrelson has had the most successful feature film career, having been nominated for three Oscars for “The People vs. Larry Flynt,” “The Messenger,” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” He joined “Cheers” following the sudden death of Nicholas Colasanto, who played Coach, the original beloved, yet bumbling barkeep on the show. Colasanto died of a heart attack in 1985 at age 61 toward the end of production on Season 3 (via New York Times).

When the series returned for Season 4, Harrelson joined the cast as Woody Boyd, a country bumpkin from Indiana who comes to “Cheers” to meet Coach with whom he was pen pals. After learning Coach has died, Woody accepts the open bartending position, and like Coach, Woody is usually oblivious to the world around him. Harrelson received five Emmy Award nominations for his work, winning once in 1989.

Harrelson grew up in Midland, Texas. He had a tumultuous childhood, with his father leaving the family when Harrelson was seven years old. His father was sentenced to two life sentences for the murder of a U.S. District Judge and died in prison in 2007, per Entertainment Weekly. In May 2002, Harrelson opened a cannabis dispensary in West Hollywood, California called The Woods, according to Forbes. In November 2022, he presented his friend Michael J. Fox with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the Motion Picture Academy’s Governors Awards ceremony.

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