Shelley Long (Actress) - Cheers
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Updated: 7/14/20

Name: Shelley Long

Birth Name: Shelley Lee Long

Born: August 23, 1949 in Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA

Claim To Fame: Shelley Long is an American actress and comedian best known for her role as Diane Chambers on the hit NBC sitcom Cheers, for which she received five Emmy nominations, winning in 1983 for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. She won two Golden Globe Awards for the role.

Family Life: Long's first marriage to Ken Solomon ended in divorce after a few years in the 1970s. In 1979, Long met Bruce Tyson. They married in 1981 and had a daughter in 1985. Long and Tyson separated in 2003 and divorced in 2004.

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Info: Long is the daughter of Ivadine, a school teacher, and Leland Long, who worked in the rubber industry before becoming a teacher.

She was active on her high school speech team, competing in the Indiana High School Forensic Association.

In 1967, she won the National Forensic League's National Championship in Original Oratory.

Graduating from South Side High School in Fort Wayne.

She studied drama at Northwestern University, but left before graduating to pursue a career in acting and modeling.

In Chicago, she joined The Second City comedy troupe.

She was awarded the 1977 Joseph Jefferson Award for Actress in a Principal Role in a Musical for "Wellsapoppin", at the Second City Theatre.

Her first break as an actress occurred when she began doing commercials and print advertisements for V05 Shampoo, Homemakers Furniture, and Camay Soap.

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Trivia: In 1975, she began writing, producing, and co-hosting the television program Sorting It Out on WMAQ-TV, and went on to win three Regional Emmys for her work on the show.

Shortly before starting work on Cheers (1982), she made an unsold sitcom pilot called: "Ghost of a Chance", in which she was a newlywed haunted by the ghost of her first husband.

She was offered the role of Mary, the mother in Steven Spielberg's E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), but she declined because she had already signed on to appear in Night Shift (1982).

Shelley's part in Irreconcilable Differences (1984) was loosely inspired by Polly Platt, the Academy-Award nominated production designer. The movie dealt with a director (played by Ryan O'Neal) leaving his wife (played by Shelley) for a starlet (played by Sharon Stone). In real life, director Peter Bogdanovich divorced his wife Platt to be with starlet Cybill Shepherd.

Long became famous for her role in the long-running television sitcom Cheers as the character Diane Chambers, who had an on-and-off relationship with bartender Sam Malone. The show was slow to capture an audience but eventually became one of the most popular on the air. Amid some controversy, Long left Cheers after season five in 1987.

Wore a wig on the set of Cheers (1982) because she didn't want the hot set lights to damage her hair.

Was eight months pregnant with her daughter Juliana Long Tyson when she completed filming the third season of Cheers (1982); Daughter, Juliana Long Tyson was born March 27th 1985.

Long said she left for a variety of reasons, the most important of which was her desire to spend more time with her toddler daughter. She left the show because she "didn't want to keep doing the same episode over and over again and the same story. I didn't want it to become old and stale." She also said that "working at Cheers was a dream come was one of the most satisfying experiences of my life. So, yes, I missed it, but I never regretted that decision."

In 1993, Long returned to Cheers for its series finale, and picked up another Emmy nomination for her return as Diane.

She later resurfaced as Diane in several episodes of the Kelsey Grammer spinoff series Frasier, for which she was nominated for another Emmy Award.

In a Cheers biography documentary, co-star Ted Danson admitted there was tension between them but "never at a personal level and always at a work level" due to their different modes of working.

She was also offered lead roles in Working Girl, Jumpin' Jack Flash, and My Stepmother Is an Alien, but did not accept those roles.

She had a recurring role on the popular ABC sitcom Modern Family as DeDe Pritchett, the ex-wife of Jay Pritchett.

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Where Are They Now: Long is still making TV appearance on the regular. Her latest project, The Cleaner, a comedic crime drama, is currently in post-production.


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