Shelly Long is an actress that most will recognize from her roles as Diane Chambers on the hit 1980s sitcom Cheers. Shelley was one of the show’s biggest draws for audiences during it’s early years. Until she decided to quit after the show’s fifth season in 1987. After she quit, she never quite achieved the mainstream recognition that she had achieved so effortlessly from her role as Diane Chambers. For those who might like to know what she did afterwards. Join Facts Verse as we explore what happened to Shelley Long, Diane Chambers from Cheers.
Shelly Long was born on August 23 of 1949, in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She showed an affinity for being the center of attention at a young age, taking to public speaking and debate during her school years. Her willingness to be in the public spotlight eventually lead her to develop a passion for drama. And which she pursued into her college years at Northwestern University. While attending the college, she was given her first entertainment gigs as an actress and model in some local advertisements. She received her first television acting credit in 1975, hosting a local program in Chicago. This program called Sorting it Out, and ran until 1978. In 1978, shelley given a guest-starring role in the series The Love Boat.
As her acting career blossomed, Shelley given roles in a few feature films. She featured in the 1980 drama A Small Circle of Friends. And appeared in the strange slapstick comedy Caveman alongside ex-Beatle Ringo Starr in 1981. In 1982, she appeared in the cult comedy Night Shift, directed by Happy Days‘ Ron Howard. However, her biggest break that year proved to be her casting in a new television sitcom called Cheers. In the show, shelley cast as one of the main characters, Diane Chambers. Although Shelley was uncertain of committing to the role, she ended up becoming one of the show’s most memorable parts. However, she left the role before the show reached it’s final season around a decade later.
Shelley Long received five Emmy nominations during her time on Cheers, even winning the award in 1983. Her costar Ted Danson has freely admitted to the press that Shelley was the part of Cheers that “put [the show] on the map”. According to him, “[audiences] hadn’t seen a character like Diane Chambers in years”. However, while she was certainly a major part of the show’s success. And things weren’t always amicable between her and the cast and crew on the set.
Shelley Long played Diane Chambers, a somewhat antagonistic love interest for the show’s other main character, Ted Danson’s Sam Malone. According to stories from the show’s production, Ted and Shelley never quite got along when the cameras weren’t rolling. As well, a third party introduced into their relationship a few years into the show in the form of Kelsey Grammer’s Frasier Crane. This new love interest for Diane provided romantic tension between her and Sam, but it also provided increased tension behind the scenes. Shelley got along with Kelsey even less than she got along with Ted. As well, she began to have run-ins with the crew that eventually lead her to decide to call it quits on the show after it’s fifth season.
While the camaraderie of the cast was a big part of Cheers‘ appeal on the screen. And that on-screen chemistry didn’t translate over into their behind the scenes interactions. Although the two never necessarily fought, Ted Danson was never comfortable with how long it took Shelley to get the right comedic performance. According to Shelley, Danson liked her comic timing, but felt she took too many takes. This lead to tension on the set, as Danson became passive aggressive instead of simply telling his costar the truth. Eventually, Danson did say something to Shelley, and the two got along better afterwards. Shelley has said that she upped her game, and became a better comedic actress in the process.
Danson and Shelley played conflicted romantic interests, and Kelsey Grammer brought in to add some more tension to their relationship. However, he ended up bringing even more tension behind the scenes. According to insiders, a lot of the drama between the two started because Shelley simply took objection to Kelsey Grammer’s character, Frasier Crane. Given that the character supposed to come across as a more suitable love interest for Diane than Sam Malone, the character was somewhat similar to Diane. Because of this, Shelley felt that Kelsey was getting some lines that might’ve normally gone to her. Grammer’s appearance was simply intended as a guest-starring role, but he ended up becoming a regular.
Some, including Grammer, have speculated that the producers wrote Frasier onto the show full-time as a means to stick it to Shelley. Shelley had never had reservations about repeatedly expressing her feelings about Grammer’s character. And it apparently began to annoy much of the behind the scenes crew. However, the writers have denied these allegations, saying that the reason that Grammer was employed on the show full-time was became his character represented a new dynamic that the audience found appealing.
Given that Frasier went on to star for over ten years in his own show after staying out his tenure on Cheers, this claim has a lot of merit. The professional jealousy between Kelsey and Shelley lead to a tense personal relationship. And which many speculate is a big part of the reason that Shelly decided to put her time on Cheers to an end. However, Shelley did later appear in Grammer’s spin-off, Frasier. She reprised Diane Chambers, and many took this as the two stars burying the hatchet. With that, it appeared that Shelley was on good terms with both Danson and Grammer. If you’re enjoying this video so far, be sure to hit the like button to show your support. As well, subscribe to the channel if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way.
Although the crew of Cheers may have had their issues with Shelley, it appears that many have them still have fond feelings for the actress. Writer David Isaacs has said that he “always felt that Shelley had the toughest assignment”. And that she was “one of the best comic actresses… around”. The character of Shelley was often the butt of the joke. And Shelley was never unwilling to throw herself under the bus to get a laugh.
Still, Shelley chose to leave the show long before it ended. Among all of the tension on the set, it appears that Shelley simply didn’t enjoy playing her character anymore. She has said that it was “time [for her] to let go of that persona”. She felt that she was doing the same episode and storyline over and over again. And had become a villain to both her coworkers and the audience. Another reason she gave for leaving was the she wanted to get back into Hollywood movies. Wanting to escape the negative environment and pursue her career, she left Cheers after the fifth season.
And with Kelsey Grammer taking over as the resident uptight bar denizen completely. The whole thing came to an end when Shelley had a tearful breakdown on the set. And proving to her that she had to move on to other means of employment for her own sanity.
Shelley appeared alongside Tom Hanks in the 1986 film The Money Pit. And then got an even bigger role in the 1989 comedy Troop Beverly Hills. The film underperformed at the box office, leading to Shelley having an unstable Hollywood career afterwards. However, both The Money Pit and Troop Beverly Hills are considered cult classics today. Several years later, Shelley appeared in The Brady Bunch Movie, a comedy film that served as both a parody and an homage to the 1969 sitcom The Brady Bunch. This film and it’s 1996 sequel were minor hits. And with many critics feeling Shelley’s performance as Brady matriarch Carol was one of their best attributes.
She went on to make many minor appearances in films after this, with the most notable perhaps behind her costarring turn in 2000’s Dr. T & the Women. As well, she had a pretty big role on the hit 2009 sitcom Modern Family, playing the character of DeDe Pritchett for a total of eight episodes. She is still working today at the age of 71. And having just recently filmed The Cleaner with fellow former television star Linda Carter. All in all, Shelley seems to have retained the same work ethic well into her old age.
To those who only know Shelley from her performance as Diane Chambers, the star is likely going to be unrecognizable today. At the age of 71, Shelley hasn’t tried to hide her old age. All things considered, she is likely glad not to be recognized by the millions of Cheers fans keen to ask her why she quit the show. Those who know who to look for can find Shelley dining around West Los Angeles with her chihuahua in her handbag. She is currently single, having divorced her husband Bruce Tyson in 2004. The two had one child when they were together.
Along with The Cleaner, which is currently in post-production, Shelley’s other recent roles include voicing a character on the animated Disney show Milo Murphy’s Law. She has also appeared in a few Lifetime Christmas movies since 2010. Shelley reprised her role as Carol Brady twice after A Very Brady Sequel in 1996. She was one of the only returning stars in the made-for-television sequel The Brady Bunch in the White House in 2002. As well, in 2010, she voiced Carol Brady in an episode of the adult animated sitcom Family Guy.
Shelley Long has always said that the main reason she left Cheers was because she wanted to pursue Hollywood films. Comment down below to share if you think Shelley deserved more respect as a leading lady. Or if you think she should’ve stayed on with Cheers until the end before making her big move. As always, like this video to show your support. And subscribe and hit the notification bell if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way.