Shelley Long, an American actress, is renowned for her Emmy Award-winning role as Diane Chambers on the popular NBC sitcom “Cheers.” With a net worth of $5 million, she has been successful in the entertainment industry for decades. This article will delve into the life and career of Shelley Long, from her early beginnings to her rise to fame and success.
Early Life and Career Beginnings
Shelley Long was born on August 23, 1949, in Fort Wayne, Indiana, to school teachers Ivadine and Leland. As a teenager, she was active on the speech team at South Side High School and won the National Forensic League’s National Championship in Original Oratory in 1967. After graduating from high school, Long attended Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, to study drama. However, she eventually dropped out to pursue a career in modeling and acting.
In the 1970s, Long joined the Second City comedy troupe in Chicago. She also produced, wrote, and co-hosted the local Chicago television program “Sorting it Out,” and appeared in numerous print advertisements and television commercials. Long went on to appear in episodes of several television shows throughout the late 1970s and early 1980s, including “The Love Boat,” “Family,” “Trapper John, M.D.,” and “MAS*H.” She was also in the television films “The Cracker Factory,” “The Promise of Love,” and “The Princess and the Cabbie.”
Long’s breakthrough role came in 1982 when she starred as Boston graduate student Diane Chambers on the hit NBC sitcom “Cheers.” On the show, her character had a turbulent, on-and-off romance with Ted Danson’s character, Sam Malone. Although “Cheers” did not immediately catch on with audiences, it soon became one of the most popular shows on the air, and racked up multiple Emmy and Golden Globe Awards. During her five-year run on the series, Long received five Emmy nominations, winning once in 1983. She also won two Golden Globes for her performance. Long left “Cheers” in 1987, at which time the writers wrote her character out of the show. She was replaced in the following seasons by Kirstie Alley, who played businesswoman Rebecca Howe. Long returned to make a special guest appearance as Diane in the 1993 series finale.
In later years, Long admitted that several factors led to her decision to leave the show, including the desire to spend more time with her daughter and wanting to work on new, fresh material.
Further Television Career
Following “Cheers,” Long starred in the 1990 miniseries “Voices Within: The Lives of Truddi Chase.” She received praise for her performance as Truddi Chase, a real-life woman who struggled with dissociative identity disorder. Long was also in another fact-based program in 1992 called “Fatal Memories,” about a woman named Eileen Franklin who tries to get her father convicted for raping her and killing her friend as a child. From 1993 to 1994, Long starred alongside Treat Williams on the sitcom “Good Advice.”
In 1994 and 1996, she reprised her role as Diane Chambers on the “Cheers” spinoff “Frasier”; for her guest appearance in the 1996 episode, she earned an Emmy Award nomination. Long’s subsequent credits in the 1990s included episodes of the shows “Murphy Brown,” “Boston Common,” “Sabrina the Teenage Witch,” “Kelly Kelly,” and “Diagnosis: Murder.” She was also in the television films “Welcome to Paradise,” the remake of “Freaky Friday,” “Susie Q,” and “Vanished Without a Trace.”
Long’s credits in the 2000s include episodes of “8 Simple Rules,” “Strong Medicine,” “Joan of Arcadia,” “Boston Legal,” “Yes, Dear,” and “Complete Savages.” Meanwhile, her television film credits include “Falling in Love with the Girl Next Door,” “Honeymoon with Mom,” and “Ice Dreams.” Starting in 2009, Long played the recurring role of DeDe Pritchett, Jay’s ex-wife, on the hit ABC sitcom “Modern Family”; she continued this role through 2018. Among her other credits are “Retired at 35,” “A.N.T. Farm,” “Switched at Birth,” and “Instant Mom,” as well as the Christmas television movies “Holiday Engagement,” “The Dog Who Saved the Holidays,” and “Christmas in the Heartland.”
In 1980, Long made her feature film debut in the drama “A Small Circle of Friends.” She went on to appear in a series of comedy films throughout the rest of the decade, including “Caveman,” “Night Shift,” “Losin’ It,” “Irreconcilable Differences,” “The Money Pit,” “Outrageous Fortune,” “Hello Again,” and “Troop Beverly Hills.” For her performance in “Irreconcilable Differences,” Long received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress – Motion Picture Comedy or Musical in 1984.
She continued to star in comedies in the 1990s, including “Don’t Tell Her It’s Me,” with Steve Guttenberg and Jami Gertz; “Frozen Assets,” co-starring Corbin Bernsen; and “The Brady Bunch Movie” and “A Very Brady Sequel,” which parody the popular television show.
Long began the 2000s with a role in Robert Altman’s ensemble comedy “Dr. T & the Women,” co-starring Richard Gere, Helen Hunt, Farrah Fawcett, Laura Dern, and Kate Hudson, among others. Her other credits over the decade include “Trust Me,” “Pizza Man,” “Zombie Hamlet,” “Best Man Down,” “A Matter of Time,” and “Different Flowers,” the lattermost of which she also produced.
In the 1970s, Long married her first husband, Ken Solomon; they divorced after a few years. She subsequently met securities broker Bruce Tyson, whom she wed in 1981. The pair had a daughter named Juliana, and later divorced in 2004.
Shelley Long is a talented actress with a successful career in both television and film. Despite leaving her iconic role on “Cheers” after only five seasons, Long has continued to make a name for herself in the entertainment industry. With a net worth of $5 million, she has earned her place among the richest celebrities in the world. Her legacy in the industry will undoubtedly continue for years to come.