To think it must have been so humiliating and depressing for Shelley Long

(245 Posts)
Suetully Sun 19-Sep-21 12:47:27

I caught Cheers reruns flicking through tv last night. Having not seen or thought of it in well over 25 years, I forgot how good Shelley Long was in it as Diane and her brilliant chemistry with Ted Danson.

I did some research after and she'd after 5 years left for a movie career but her career tanked and within 3 years of leaving, she was another jobbing tv actress whilst the show went strong for another 6 years and that was the show she'd deserted as the main star.

Like I can't imagine her anguish and humiliation that Danson went on to become the biggest tv star of that time, the show went to number 1 and her co-stars who were support to her reign like Kelsey Grammar and Woody Harrison became much bigger stars than she did.
She even returned to be a guest star on Frasier and he became the highest tv star in the world whilst at a time he was only brought into Cheers as her love interest.

That and her replacement Kirstie Alley became even bigger than Long was both in her carer and in general fame. It seems her name now is synonymous with a bad career move if you google her. AIBU to think that would be a pretty hard pill to swallow?

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TheSpottedZebra Sun 19-Sep-21 12:49:48

See I'm such a cynic and think she probably declined some creep's 'advances' and was blackballed.

Sparklfairy Sun 19-Sep-21 12:52:38

It happens. You made me think of Patrick Duffy in Dallas. From what I can gather (it was aired before my time but I've watched it all since), he thought he was at a great point in his career to leave the show and the work would come rolling in. It didn't happen, and he had to come back (with the infamous dream scene)... which ultimately tanked the show completely.

I think there's a fine balance as an actor, to ride the success of a show but try not to become solely known for it so you can't get other work later.

Suetully Sun 19-Sep-21 12:52:42

She did 2 big films and they both flopped so I assumed that was what killed her career as the studios released she wasn't a box office draw.

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SwedishEdith Sun 19-Sep-21 12:52:57

Hmm, can't say I've really thought about it but surely she made plenty of money from it anyway? Not wanting to keep going in the same role seems a perfectly good reason to leave - it's not all about fame and stardom.

HollowTalk Sun 19-Sep-21 12:53:52

SwedishEdith

Hmm, can't say I've really thought about it but surely she made plenty of money from it anyway? Not wanting to keep going in the same role seems a perfectly good reason to leave - it's not all about fame and stardom.


But being an actress is all about fame and stardom!

UsedUpUsername Sun 19-Sep-21 12:55:35

It’s got to be a hard decision. Unfortunately it was the wrong one. Even Kirstie Alley starred in her own sitcom later on

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IveGotASongThatllGetOnYNerves Sun 19-Sep-21 12:55:48

She was in the money pit wasn't she? One of my favourite films. So funny.

I guess it depends why she left. We've all made bad decisions and if she left because she wanted to do other things but it didn't work out then that's not really humiliating, just the wrong career move.

Suetully Sun 19-Sep-21 12:55:50

I think there's a fine balance as an actor, to ride the success of a show but try not to become solely known for it so you can't get other work later

others I can think of are Val Lehman who left Prisoner which was a huge success or Pat the Rat who left Sons and Daughters and both their careers tanked.

What was more painful for long though than the latter was that the show kept going strong as did their post careers whilst hers didn't. Prisoner and Sons and Daughters both sank when Wallace and Lehman left them.

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MasterBeth Sun 19-Sep-21 12:56:06

What?! No!

Being a celebrity is all about fame and stardom.

Being an actress is all about acting.

Suetully Sun 19-Sep-21 12:59:16

I guess it depends why she left. We've all made bad decisions and if she left because she wanted to do other things but it didn't work out then that's not really humiliating, just the wrong career move

cheers even took a shot at her in a later ep. Woody and Frasier was watching a movie and Frasier pointed out how the lead actress from a franchise they were watching left the role and another 1 stepped in. Woody said ''I don't understand, why would an actress leave a successful series right in the middle?''

The audience howled but I could imagine Long at home fuming over it especially as it was around 93 and her career had gone into the doldrums by then.

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LukeEvansWife Sun 19-Sep-21 13:00:00

Same for a lot of actors - they make it big but can’t sustain the success.

It’s just how it is - her story isn’t unique

SwedishEdith Sun 19-Sep-21 13:00:04

Quite @MasterBeth

Glssr195726113493 Sun 19-Sep-21 13:01:55

She made some bad decisions in her career. She also really kicked off publicly about the Frasier spin off, saying it was essentially bullshit and he was minor a character to get his own spin off. Obviously that became a huge success. She subsequently ate humble pie and took a guest role on one episode.

Ozanj Sun 19-Sep-21 13:02:53

Look at her awards / nominations lists. Honestly, I believe her when she said she left Cheers to focus on her child & think she just carefully picked her projects for the role rather than anything else. Lots of good actors stay clear of lead roles because they can do anything.

(Her performance in Modern Family was outstanding too - if you haven’t seen it you should).

Glssr195726113493 Sun 19-Sep-21 13:02:56

Too minor* a character.

LukeEvansWife Sun 19-Sep-21 13:03:19

And lots of actors make bad decisions or behave like dicks, making them unemployable

Suetully Sun 19-Sep-21 13:03:45

*Same for a lot of actors - they make it big but can’t sustain the success.

It’s just how it is - her story isn’t unique*

it's more that she left a popular series though, the lead star and that it did fine without her and her supporting colleagues trumped her. That's more my point in how it stung.

It's different when a career fizzles out, it's more how she fizzled out by her bad decision and was left with egg on her face.

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ChrissyPlummer Sun 19-Sep-21 13:03:57

I remember one film she did called ‘Hello Again’; played a woman who died then was reincarnated. It wasn’t great and she would never really have been cast in a blockbuster or Oscar-worthy film.

Danson and Grammer had plenty of duds too; ‘Made in America’, ‘Hank’, ‘Back to You’. The trouble with some actors is they believe their own hype; I’ve seen countless interviews with soap/TV stars where they all say “I’d love to work in Hollywood on a big film” yeah, OK then.

I remember years ago on Celebrity Big Brother, one of the contestants (Judi Shekoni) was described as ‘Starring in EastEnders’ and ‘Star of King of Queens’, she had actually played a very minor role in both, I think she was in one episode of KoQ and in EE for about a month. After a quick google, she has done lots of other things but I think Leah Rememi and Kevin James may have been surprised to find her described as the ‘star’!

SwedishEdith Sun 19-Sep-21 13:04:33

Thing is Kirstie Alley is now more well known for being a scientologist, her weight issues and supporting Trump.

CustardySergeant Sun 19-Sep-21 13:04:46

I Googled to see how old she is now (72) and came across these articles which claim she wasn't popular with some people, although she was an excellent actress. Maybe that's why her career didn't go so well after Cheers.

RiotAtTheRodeo Sun 19-Sep-21 13:07:04

When I read your thread title I mixed Shelley Long up with Shelley Duvall. Shelley Duvall's story is so sad.

Suetully Sun 19-Sep-21 13:07:52

Honestly, I believe her when she said she left Cheers to focus on her child & think she just carefully picked her projects for the role rather than anything else. Lots of good actors stay clear of lead roles because they can do anything

Only she didn't leave Cheers for her daughter, she said that after but at the time as you can see from the clip she assumed a movie career was beckoning. That and she took many lead roles after cheers in both movies and tv series but they flopped.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMUFHKSGG5Q

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Monkeytennis97 Sun 19-Sep-21 13:11:07

Isn't that why all the Eastenders actors from the 90s/00s are all back?

Suetully Sun 19-Sep-21 13:12:44

I remember one film she did called ‘Hello Again’; played a woman who died then was reincarnated. It wasn’t great and she would never really have been cast in a blockbuster or Oscar-worthy film

The point was though is that she thought she had it to be a blockbuster actress who could sell films.

Danson and Grammer had plenty of duds too; ‘Made in America’, ‘Hank’, ‘Back to You’. The trouble with some actors is they believe their own hype; I’ve seen countless interviews with soap/TV stars where they all say “I’d love to work in Hollywood on a big film” yeah, OK then

Grammar and Danson went on to have astronomical tv careers regardless though and broke records for their salaries. Also 'Made In America' was 1 of the biggest selling films of 93.

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