Shelley Long is an American actress and comedian who has acted in movies, such as ‘Night Shift’, ‘The Money Pit’ and ‘Outrageous Fortune’. She is also known for her main role in the American sitcom ‘Cheers’. She was nominated for five Emmy awards for her performance, out of which she won one. She also won two Golden Globe Awards, out of three nominations. Born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, she was active in co-curricular activities as a school student and developed an early interest in acting. She began her career acting with appearances in a few commercials. She made her feature film debut with ‘A Small Circle of Friends’. Shortly after, she started appearing in the sitcom ‘Cheers’, which became the most significant work of her career, earning her several awards and nominations. The show, during its run, became one of the most popular shows of all time. She reprised her role in a few episodes of ‘Frasier’, the series’ spin-off, which was also very successful. More recently, she has been focusing on playing guest roles in TV shows.
Childhood & Early Life
Shelley Long was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, on August 23, 1949. Her mother was Ivadine, a school teacher, and her father was Leland Long, who worked in the rubber industry before becoming a teacher.
As a student, Shelley used to be active in her high school speech team and she also competed in the Indiana High School Forensic Association. She won the National Forensic League’s National Championship in Original Oratory.
She finished her schooling from South Side High School in Fort Wayne, after which she studied drama at Northwestern University. However, she dropped out to begin her career. She initially started acting in commercials in the Chicago area.
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Shelley Long began her film career with an important role in the 1980 drama film ‘A Small Circle of Friends’. Directed by Rob Cohen, the film is about three students at Harvard University. The next year, she was seen in the slapstick comedy film ‘Caveman’.
In 1984, she earned her first nomination for the Golden Globe for her work in the film ‘Irreconcilable Differences,’ where she played the female lead. In 1987, she was nominated for the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Award for Favorite Movie Actress for her role of Lucy in the comedy movie ‘Hello Again.’
In 1982, she started playing one of the lead roles in the American sitcom ‘Cheers’. The show, which aired on NBC, was about a bar named “Cheers” where a group of locals meet to drink, relax, and socialize. The show earned critical acclaim and was a popular hit as well. Long’s role of Diane Chambers was much appreciated.
In the 1990s, she appeared in many TV shows, such as ‘Good Advice’ between 1993 and 1994, and ‘Frasier’ between 1994 and 2001. For the latter, she was nominated for the Emmy Award in the ‘Best Guest Actress’ category.
Over the course of her career, she also appeared in several TV movies, such as ‘Freaky Friday’ (1995), ‘A Different Kind of Christmas’ (1996), ‘Vanished without a Trace’ (1999), and ‘Falling in Love with the Girl Next Door’ (2006).
While the actress was more popular for her performances in TV shows and TV films, she also appeared in several feature films, the most notable of them being ‘A Very Brady Sequel’(1995), ‘Dr. T & the Women’ (2000), ‘A Couple of White Chicks at the Hairdresser’ (2007), ‘Trust Me’ (2007), ‘Pizza Man’ (2011), ‘Best Man Down’ (2013) and more recently, ‘Different Flowers’ (2016), in which she was also a co-producer.
She played a guest role in the TV series ‘Modern Family’, where she was seen in seven episodes between 2009 and 2018. She was nominated for the Golden Derby Award and the OFTA TV Award for her performance. She is currently busy working in the film ‘Southern Christmas’ that is in its post-production stage as of now.
The American sitcom ‘Cheers’ is undoubtedly the most important work in Shelley Long’s career. She played the role of Diane Chambers, a sophisticated graduate student, who is attending Boston University. The show earned critical acclaim and her role was quite appreciated as well. Long was nominated for five Emmy Awards for her performance, out of which she one. She won two Golden Globe Awards as well.
Among the various films she has appeared in, one was ‘Irreconcilable Differences.’ It was directed by Charles Shyer and also starred actors like Ryan O’Neal, Drew Barrymore, and Allen Garfield besides Long. The film was a commercial success, earning $12 million on a $6 million budget. The film was met with positive reviews from critics and Long was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for her performance.
Family & Personal Life
Shelley Long’s first marriage ended in a divorce. Later, she married Bruce Tyson, a securities broker, in 1981. They had a daughter born on March 27, 1985. The couple, however, separated in 2003 and divorced in 2004.