Welcome, Fans of the Hit TV Show, Cheers!
Cheers, an ensemble comedy set in a small neighborhood pub in Boston, followed in the comic tradition of predecessors The Mary Tyler Moore Show, M*A*S*H, and Taxi, where the differences between a bunch of idiosyncratic characters were played for laughs each week. Conceived and produced by Glen Charles, James Burrows, and Les Charles, who’d also been at the helm of Taxi and The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Cheers was critically acclaimed when it premiered on September 30, 1982, but almost canned in its first season due to abysmally low ratings. Viewers soon came around, thanks to the clever storylines crafted by lead writers Tom Anderson and David Lee and the flawless performance of the stellar cast and in 1984 Cheers joined ratings giants The Cosby Show and Family Ties on NBC’s powerhouse Thursday night line up.
Cast & Characters
Carla Tortelli LeBec
Carla, whose full name was Carla Maria Victoria Angelina Teresa Appollonian Luzupone Tortelli LeBec, was a loud, obnoxious, superstitious single mother of six. She was a barmaid who was more likely to get tips through threats than courteous service. In the sixth season of the show, Carla married pro hockey player Eddie LeBec and had twin boys. Eddie was then run over by a Zamboni leaving Carla single once again. Carla’s one true love was the one she never had. She had a deep love for Sam and loved him since his days with the Sox. She always hated Diane and felt that she wasn’t the right one for him. When Diane returned for the last episode of the show, the barflies convinced Carla that she was having hallucinations and that Diane was just a figment of her imagination.
Rhea Perlman was born in Brooklyn, New York. She is a veteran of more than a dozen off-Broadway plays, experimental theater and improvisational groups. Perlman is a graduate of Hunter College where she earned a degree in drama. She is most notably known for her role as Carla Tortelli on Cheers but has been in movies such as Canadian Bacon, Matilda, and the made-for-TV movie, Houdini. She’s also been on numerous TV sitcoms such as Blossom, Matlock, St. Elsewhere, and Taxi.
Clifford Clavin was the know-it-all mailman who was best known as being Norm’s sidekick. Cliff may have been the biggest fountain of useless information to ever walk the face of the earth. What Cliff didn’t know, he made up. He was notoriously the butt of Carla’s jokes but always managed to come out on top. Other than Norm, his best friend would have to be his mother who he still lives with.
John Ratzenberger was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut. He began his acting career in England and was in movies such as Ghandi and The Empire Strikes Back. He had roles on TV shows such as Hill Street Blues, Magnum P.I., St. Elsewhere, Murphy Brown, Wings and Caroline in the City. After landing the role as the know-it-all mailman on Cheers, where he was twice nominated for an Emmy, his career began to take off. His voice is what sold him though. He starred in A Bug's Life, Toy Story, Toy Story 2, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, and The Incredibles. John is the father of a child with diabetes and the founder of the Ratzenberger Diabetes Research Fund. Currently he hosts his own show, Made in America, on the Travel Channel, where he tours the inner workins of America's factories.
Coach was a sweet absent-minded bartender who worked with Sam. A former pro baseball coach and manager, he liked to share memories of his good old days, no matter how fuzzy, with his customers. Sadly, in 1985, Nicholas Colasanto passed away, and therefore Coach did as well. Against the far wall on the set of Cheers is a picture of the Indian Geronimo. This picture hung in Nicholas’ dressing room and was hung on the wall of the set after he passed away. The picture was a constant reminder that Coach would always be looking after Sam. At the end of the last episode after Sam says those now famous words, “Sorry, we’re closed,” he walks over to the picture and straightens it as if he was saying good-bye to his old coach and friend.
Nicholas Colasanto was born in Providence, Rhode Island. Nicky had a very credible career in the film business before he found a spot on Cheers. His most notable role was in the film Raging Bull where he played Tommy Como. Nick passed away on February 12, 1985. He died half-way through the season on Cheers. The next season they added Coach’s death into the script. He died of a heart ailment in Studio City, California.
It’s easy to say that Diane Chambers knocked Sam over when she first came into the bar. She was the intellectual and witty counterpart to Sam’s womanizing and unromantic lifestyle. Her on-again, off-again relationship with him provided viewers with a heated and unpredictable ride during the first five years of Cheers. She constantly feuded with Carla and most of the time only got along with Woody. In her last appearance in the bar she told Sam that she would be back in six months. She didn’t end up coming back until the last episode of the show. It was during the final episode that Sam and Diane finally realized that they weren’t meant for each other.
Shelley Long was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She attended Northwestern University to study drama. There she met her first husband, with whom she had one son. From 1975 to 1977 she co-hosted a Chicago based NBC-TV show called Sorting It Out. It won three Emmy Awards for “Best Entertainment Show”. After that, she moved on to the big screen. She’s been in such movies as Caveman, Night Shift, The Money Pit, Outrageous Fortune, Hello Again, and The Brady Bunch movies. Shelley has also appeared in TV shows such as The Love Boat, Trapper John, M.D., M*A*S*H, Frasier, Murphy Brown, Lois & Clark, and Boston Common.
Dr. Crane first made his way into Cheers as the know-it-all, pompous psychiatrist who was dating Diane. Fortunately for him, the relationship never panned out. Diane left him at the altar while they were eloping in Europe. After being stood up, he returned to Cheers to drown his sorrows with his new friends. During the fifth season of the show, his future wife Dr. Lilith Sternin was introduced. The two were almost a perfect match! They married and had a son named Fredrick. After about three years, Lilith fell in love with another scientist and left Dr. Crane to move to a biosphere. Since the last episode, Frasier has moved back to his home in Seattle to pursue a career in radio psychology.
Kelsey Grammer was born in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands and raised by his mother and grandfather. His father, a local bar owner, was mostly absent and was murdered in 1968. Since then he’s lost not only his sister Karen but also two half brothers. He has lasted through two divorces and is currently married for the third time. He has two daughters and is currently married to former Playboy model and Club MTV personality, Camille Donatucci. Camille became the third Mrs. Kelsey Grammer, at the age of 29 in August 1997. Kelsey attended Julliard but left after two years. He worked the theater circuit before landing the role as Dr. Frasier Crane on Cheers. After Cheers, Grammer went on to star in his own sitcom, Frasier, which has garnered numerous awards. He has won two Emmys, a Golden Globe Award, an American Comedy Award and a People’s Choice Award for his work on Frasier.
Norm Peterson, an accountant, was a bartender’s best dream and worst nightmare rolled into one. He was such a regular customer, you could set a clock by him. Each time he arrived, he bellowed out a greeting to the entire bar, and received a shout of “Norm!” in return...Everybody definitely knew his name. Every day he sat in the same seat and guzzled down beer after beer. Unfortunately, they all went on his tab, which was the size of a city phone book, that was evident each time Sam lugged it out from behind the bar. Perhaps Norm is best known for what some have dubbed “Normisms,” responses he gave to questions asked by Sam, Coach, or Woody as he approached his seat at the bar. A sample exchange: “Coach: How’s a beer sound, Norm?” Norm: “I dunno.” I usually finish them before they get a word in.” Norm is also known for his often-mentioned, but never-seen wife, Vera.
George Wendt was born in Chicago, Illinois. Wendt began his career with Second City, Chicago’s famed improvisational company. In 1974, he was hired by the company as a professional satirist, and for six years he honed his skills as an actor and a comedy writer. A pilot featuring Second City players, Nothing but Comedy, brought Wendt to Los Angeles. He then went on to guest star in such television series as Alice, Soap, Taxi, Hart to Hart, M*A*S*H, St. Elsewhere, Cheers, and Wings. His role on Cheers earned Wendt six Emmy nominations. Wendt’s feature film credits include Forever Young, Guilty By Suspicion, Fletch, Gung Ho, Man of the House, Never Say Die, and Spice World. Wendt is married to Bernadette Birkett, who co-starred on the comedy series The Garry Shandling Show. They currently live in Los Angeles with their four sons and one daughter.
This Medford, Massachusetts native pitched for the Boston Red Sox from 1974 to 1978. He was most known for being the only pitcher in major league history who was a switch pitcher. After his five-year stint with the Sox, Sam turned to alcohol to pass the time. During this time, he acquired a job as a bartender at a place “where everybody knows your name”. He later bought Cheers which became his prize possession along with his hair, his Corvette, and his important “black book.” A recovering alcoholic and womanizer, he is first tormented by waitress Diane Chambers. When Diane leaves him at the altar to go write a book, he sells the bar and sails around the world. He comes back to find that the bar is owned by a large corporation and is being managed by Rebecca Howe. He tries at great lengths to woo her, but to no avail. Finally, as friends, they decide to have a baby, but it doesn't work out. As Cheers ends, Sam decides that the bar is his one true love.
Ted Danson was born in San Diego, California. Ted grew up near Flagstaff, Arizona and moved back to California to attend Stanford University. While there, he developed an interest in drama. After his second year he transferred to Carnegie-Mellon University to study acting. He had a couple of small parts in off-Broadway shows before landing the staring role on Cheers. While he was on Cheers, he was nominated nine times for an Emmy for Best Actor in a Comedy Series and won twice, in 1990 and in 1993. He also earned two Golden Globes for playing Sam Malone. Danson has been in such movies as The Onion Field, Body Heat, Three Men and a Baby, Three Men and a Little Lady, Cousins, Made in America and Saving Private Ryan. Ted was married to designer Cassandra Coates in 1977. He later divorced her in 1993 and began a two-year relationship with Whoopi Goldberg. In 1995 he married his current wife Mary Steenburgen. He has two daughters.
Woody, the naive Indiana farm-boy, came to Cheers in 1986 to meet the man that taught him bartending via a mail-order course. He came too late as Coach was the man who was on the other end of those letters. When Woody arrived at the bar, he found that Coach had just recently passed away. Woody felt as though his hopes of becoming a big city bartender had passed along with Coach until Sam gave him the opportunity to fill in the vacancy behind the mahogany. Woody, being the gullible farmboy that he was, was often the target of the barroom escapades concocted by both his fellow employees and the barflies at Cheers. His sense of humor could almost be considered childish, which made him a favorite almost immediately. He later found wealth and love when he married Kelly Gaines, daughter of one of the richest men in Boston. They made the perfect couple! Woody later found fame as he was elected to the Boston City Council. However, with his new position as a City Councilman, he still remained a bartender at the world’s most famous pub.
Woody Harrelson was born in Midland, Texas. Woody had a difficult childhood because his father was in prison. When Woody was seven, his father was convicted of murder. His mother raised him for the most part. He attended Hanover College before he moved to New York City in 1983 to begin his acting career as an understudy in Neil Simon’s Biloxi Blues. After that he found his breakthrough role as Woody Boyd on Cheers. Since his role on Cheers, Woody has starred in multiple films such as White Men Can’t Jump, Wildcats, Indecent Proposal, Natural Born Killers and The People vs. Larry Flint. He’s also been on TV shows such as Frasier, Spin City, Ellen, and most recently Will and Grace.
Dr. Lilith Sternin-Crane was the wife of Frasier Crane and one of Cheers’ bar regulars. She was famous for her lack of emotion and somewhat cold disposition. Lilith worked as a research psychologist at Boston General Hospital. Like Frasier, she is quick to give her "professional opinion" on any topic at hand. Lilith and Frasier were the proud parents to Frederick, whose first word was "Norm!!"
Beatrice "Bebe" Neuwirth was born in Newark, New Jersey. She began ballet at the age of five and after high school, Bebe entered The Julliard School where she studied modern dance. She left after a year and joined Broadway's A Chorus Line. Bebe went on to perform in more Broadway musicals, including West Side Story, Little Me and Dancin’. Bebe then started acting and in 1986 was cast for her most famous role as Lilith. She has also appeared in The Adventures of Pete and Pete, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Fame, The Green Card and Malice. Bebe currently stars as Assistant District Attorney Tracey Kibre in Law & Order: Trial by Jury. She presently resides in New York with her husband, Paul Dorman, a theater director.
After the breakup between Sam Malone and Diane Chambers, Sam sells the bar and sails around the world. He returns to Cheers to find Rebecca Howe, the new and somewhat neurotic bar manager. Rebecca rehires Sam as bartender and she becomes his new love interest, yet Rebecca prefers the millionaires (Martin Teal, Evan Drake and Robin Colcord). After fending off Sam's advances for a period of time, Rebecca and Sam get together and even tries to have a child. In the end Rebecca marry's Don - a blue-collar plumber.
Kirstie Alley was born in Wichita, Kansas and self-described as a rebellious teenager. Kirstie went on to attend Kansas State University and then transferred to the University of Kansas. Kirstie's first job acting was as the young Vulcan Lt. Saavik in 1982's Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Kirstie also appeared as a contestant in the game show, Password Plus. Currently, Kirstie plays herself in Fat Actress, a comedy series airing on Showtime. Kirstie supports PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and is a member of the Scientology Church.