See the Cast of ‘Cheers’ Then and Now
From 1982 to 1993, we spent almost every week with Sam, Diane, Frasier, Woody and the rest of the gang of ‘Cheers’ at the Boston bar where they shared their lives, loves, and many, many drinks with us either while working or drinking at the bar. 20 years after the show took its final bow, we return to the bar where everyone knows your name to take a look back at the cast and see what they’re up to these days.
Ted Danson, Sam Malone
Then: Ted Danson played Sam Malone, the bartender and owner of Cheers. Sam is a womanizer and former baseball player who falls in love with Diane, the bar’s new cocktail waitress. The role was originally written to be for a former football player, but was rewritten as a former baseball player to match Danson’s physique.
Now: Danson starred on the HBO series ‘Bored to Death’ and appeared as himself in ‘Ted.’ He currently stars on ‘CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.’
Shelley Long, Diane Chambers
Then: Shelley Long played Diane Chambers, a graduate student who is dumped by her fiance and is forced to take a job at Cheers as a cocktail waitress. Long only signed a contract for five seasons because she wanted to pursue a film career, and left the show in 1987.
Now: Since then she’s appeared in the films ‘Troop Beverly Hills’ and ‘The Brady Bunch Movie’ (and its sequels), and occasionally guest stars on ‘Modern Family’ as Claire and Mitch’s mom.
Kirstie Alley, Rebecca Howe
Then: Sharon Stone and future ‘Sex and the City’ star Kim Cattrall auditioned for the role of Rebecca, which went to Kirstie Alley. Rebecca runs the bar for a corporation when Diane leaves Sam and he has no other choice but to sell out at the end of season five. She’s icy at first, but eventually reveals herself to be neurotic and quite lovable.
Now: Following the end of ‘Cheers,’ Alley headlined her own sitcom, ‘Veronica’s Closet.’ She’s starred in the ‘Look Who’s Talking’ films, and competed on ‘Dancing with the Stars’ twice, and has released two books.
Woody Harrelson, Woody Boyd
Then: Woody Harrelson played Woody Boyd (the name was purely coincidental), a not-so-bright midwestern bartender. ‘Cheers’ was Harrelson’s first role, though he hadn’t been planning on working in television.
Now: Harrelson recently appeared in the films ‘Seven Psychopaths,’ ‘Now You See Me,’ and ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.’ In January, he stars with his friend Matthew McConaughey on the HBO series ‘True Detective.’
Rhea Perlman, Carla Tortelli
Then: Rhea Perlman played Carla Tortelli, the sassy cocktail waitress with four kids who eventually has four more. The series worked Perlman’s real-life pregnancies into the show.
Now: Perlman is married to actor Danny DeVito in real life, and appeared with him in ‘Matilda,’ a film which he also directed. Perlman also recently starred in ‘The Sessions.’
George Wendt, Norm Peterson
Then: George Wendt played Norm, a semi-unemployed accountant and regular at the bar. The part was originally written as a minor role for the pilot episode only, but Wendt became an instant favorite.
Now: Wendt recently appeared on ‘Portlandia’ and is the uncle of ‘SNL’ star Jason Sudeikis. His film credits include ‘Forever Young’ and ‘The Little Rascals.’
John Ratzenberger, Cliff Clavin
Then: John Ratzenberger auditioned for the role of Norm, but he wasn’t right for the part. The actor suggested a “bar know-it-all” character, and the producers loved it, so a part was written specifically for him: Cliff Clavin, a postman.
Now: Ratzenberger has done a lot of voice work for Pixar films, including Hamm in the ‘Toy Story’ films, Mustafa in ‘Ratatouille,’ and Mack in the ‘Cars’ movies.
Kelsey Grammer, Frasier Crane
Then: Kelsey Grammer played Frasier Crane, the stuffy psychiatrist who starts out as Diane’s love interest before becoming a bar regular. John Lithgow was the first choice for the part.
Now: Grammer got his own spin-off series called ‘Frasier,’ which ran from 1993 to 2004. He played Beast in ‘X-Men: The Last Stand,’ and appears next in ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’ and ‘Expendables 3.’
Bebe Neuwirth, Lilith Crane
Then: Bebe Neuwirth played Lilith, an uptight psychiatrist who dates and eventually marries, cheats on, and divorces Frasier. ‘Cheers’ was Neuwirth’s first television role.
Now: Neuwirth reunited with Danson for a few episodes of ‘Bored to Death,’ and has appeared in the films ‘The Faculty’ and ‘How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.’ She also played Morticia in the Broadway version of ‘The Addams Family.’