Where are the cast of Cheers now, 40 years since it began?

6 December 2022, 16:55

The cast of Cheers
The cast of Cheers. Picture: Getty

By Tom Eames

Cheers was one of the world's biggest sitcoms when it launched back in 1982.

The American comedy from NBC ran until 1993 and 275 episodes across 11 seasons.

Created by the team of James Burrows and Glen and Les Charles, the show was set in a bar named 'Cheers' in Boston, and focused on a group of locals who met up to drink, relax and hang out. Simple, but brilliant.

Despite almost getting cancelled during its first season, it went on to become a ratings hit, and its finale episode was the most-watched single episode of the 1990s. It also led to the spinoff series Frasier, which arguably was an even bigger success.

Here is what the main cast members did next:

  1. Ted Danson (Sam Malone)

    Ted Danson in Cheers
    Ted Danson in Cheers. Picture: Getty

    Ted Danson became a star after landing the role of bartender and lothario Sam in Cheers, who was a former baseball player.

    Aged 74 in 2022, Ted Danson won two Emmys and two Golden Globes for his role as Sam.

    His breakout film role was as Jack Holden in 1987's Three Men and a Baby, and he also starred in Body Heat, Dad, Loch Ness and Saving Private Ryan.

    His other lead roles include the sitcom Becker and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation from 2011 to 2015. In 2015, he starred in the second season of Fargo.

    Ted also earned Emmy Award nominations for his roles in Damages the sitcom The Good Place.

    He has been married to Back to the Future actress Mary Steenburgen since 1995.

  2. Shelley Long (Diane)

    Shelley Long in Cheers
    Shelley Long in Cheers. Picture: Getty

    Shelley Long played the sophisticated Diane in Cheers, and forged a famous will-they-won't-they relationship with Ted Danson's Sam.

    She earned five Emmy nominations for the role, winning one in 1983, as well as two Golden Globes.

    She also reprised her role in three episodes of the spin-off Frasier, for which she won an additional Emmy nomination.

    In 2009, Shelley started a recurring role as DeDe Pritchett on the sitcom Modern Family.

    She has also starred in several films, including The Money Pit, The Brady Bunch Movie and Dr. T & the Women.

    As of 2022, Shelley Long is aged 73.

  3. Nicholas Colasanto (Coach)

    Nicholas Colasanto in Cheers
    Nicholas Colasanto in Cheers. Picture: Getty

    Nicholas played the friendly and "borderline senile" Coach in the first three seasons of Cheers.

    He had previously served in the United States Navy during World War II, and later attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in the 1950s.

    By the 1970s, Nicholas had become an in demand actor and director on TV, but he was diagnosed with heart disease, which was brought on by his alcoholism. He became an active member of Alcoholics Anonymous in 1976, and got sober.

    His last major film role was as mob boss Tommy Como in Raging Bull in 1980.

    He was preparing to retire when the role of Coach was offered to him, and it became his best-known role. Sadly, by the third season, his health had seriously deteriorated. He died of a heart attack at his home on February 12, 1985, at the age of 61.

    Coach was written out of the show as also having died. In real life, Nicholas had hung a picture of Geronimo in his dressing room, and after his death it was placed on the wall in the bar of Cheers in his memory.

    During the end of the final episode of Cheers in 1993, eight years after Nicholas's death, Sam walks over to the picture and straightens it.

  4. Rhea Pearlman (Carla)

    Rhea Pearlman in Cheers
    Rhea Pearlman in Cheers. Picture: Getty

    Rhea Pearlman's best-known character will always be the brash and rude waitress Carla in Cheers.

    During the show, Rhea was nominated for 10 Emmy Awards, winning four times, and was nominated for a record seven Golden Globe Awards for Best Supporting Actress.

    She has also since appeared in films, including Matilda and The Sessions.

    Rhea has continued acting, and more recently appeared in Brooklyn Nine-Nine and will feature in the Barbie movie.

    She met actor Danny DeVito in 1971, and they married in 1982. They have three children together. They separated in the early 2010s, but they remain on good terms and have not divorced.

    As of 2022, she is aged 74.

  5. George Wendt (Norm)

    George Wendt in Cheers
    George Wendt in Cheers. Picture: Getty

    "NORM!" is most likely shouted at George Wendt every single day due to his role in Cheers.

    The 74-year-old's accountant and bar regular earned him six consecutive Emmy nominations. He also played the role in the short-lived spin-off The Tortellis and in an episode of Wings.

    He also appeared in his own sitcom, The George Wendt Show, following Cheers, but it was cancelled after just a few episodes.

    George famously appeared in the music video of Michael Jackson's 'Black or White' as Macaulay Culkin's dad.

    He is still acting, recently appearing The Goldbergs and Fresh off the Boat.

  6. John Ratzenberger (Cliff)

    John Ratzenberger in Cheers
    John Ratzenberger in Cheers. Picture: Getty

    John Ratzenberger's breakthrough role was as know-it-all postman and bar regular Cliff Clavin in Cheers.

    He won two Primetime Emmy nominations, and also played the role in The Tortellis and Wings.

    The 75-year-old is perhaps now best known for voicing various characters in Pixar films, including Hamm in the Toy Story franchise, The Abominable Snowman in the Monsters, Inc franchise, Mack in the Cars franchise, The Underminer in The Incredibles franchise, and many others.

  7. Kelsey Grammer (Frasier)

    Kelsey Grammer in Cheers
    Kelsey Grammer in Cheers. Picture: Getty

    Kelsey Grammer was a recurring cast member as psychiatrist and bar regular Frasier in the third and fourth seasons, before joining full-time in season 5.

    In 1993, following the show's finale, he was given his own spinoff Frasier, which ran from 1993 to 2004 and became one of the biggest sitcoms of all time.

    For this show, he received four Emmy Awards and two Golden Globe Awards. He will soon reprise the role in a new version of the show, making Frasier Crane one of the longest running characters in TV history.

    Kelsey has also played the corrupt Mayor in the political series Boss, winning a Golden Globe Award.

    The classically-trained actor has also been a regular on the stage, and has acted opposite the likes of Christopher Plummer and James Earl Jones. In 2016, he won a Tony Award as a producer of The Colour Purple. In 2019, he starred as Don Quixote in a production of Man of La Mancha at the London Coliseum.

    In film, the 67-year-old is best known for playing Dr Hank McCoy/Beast in X-Men franchise. He's also known for his voice roles in Anastasia, Toy Story 2, and as Sideshow Bob in The Simpsons.

  8. Woody Harrelson (Woody)

    Woody Harrelson in Cheers
    Woody Harrelson in Cheers. Picture: Getty

    No one would have predicted that out of all the Cheers cast, Woody Harrelson would have become its biggest export.

    Woody joined the cast in season 4 as the dimwitted Woody Boyd, replacing the late Nicholas Colasanto.

    The 61-year-old has since gone on to become a Hollywood favourite, and has won an Emmy, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, three Oscar nominations and four Golden Globes.

    He had Oscar nominations for The People vs. Larry Flynt (1996), The Messenger and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017). He was also nominated for an Emmy Award for his role as Marty Hart in the crime series True Detective in 2014.

    Other famous films of his include White Men Can't Jump, The Thin Red Line, No Country for Old Men, Zombieland, The Hunger Games, Now You See Me, The War for the Planet of the Apes, Solo: A Star Wars Story and Venom.

  9. Kirstie Alley (Rebecca)

    Kirstie Alley starred in Cheers as Rebecca
    Kirstie Alley starred in Cheers as Rebecca. Picture: Getty

    Kirstie Alley joined Cheers in season 6, to replace the outgoing Shelley Long as Sam's new love interest and the new co-owner of the bar.

    For the role of Rebecca, she received an Emmy Award and a Golden Globe in 1991.

    From 1997 to 2000, she followed the show as the lead in the sitcom Veronica's Closet, earning more Emmy and Golden Globe nominations.

    In the 1980s and 1990s, Kirstie appeared in various films, including Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Look Who's Talking and its two sequels, Village of the Damned, It Takes Two and Drop Dead Gorgeous.

    She won a second Emmy Award in 1994 for the TV film David's Mother. In 1997, she had another Emmy nomination for the drama The Last Don.

    In 2005, she played a fictionalized version of herself in Fat Actress. In 2016, she appeared in the comedy horror series Scream Queens.

    Kirstie was also a regular on reality TV, including Kirstie Alley's Big Life, Dancing with the Stars, The Masked Singer in the US and Celebrity Big Brother in the UK in 2018.

    On December 5, 2022, Kirstie Alley sadly died aged 71, after recently being diagnosed with cancer.