In the late 1970s and 1980s, actress Shelly Long was one of the biggest stars on television. She first rose to fame playing Diane Chambers on the hit sitcom Cheers, a role which earned her five Emmy nominations and a Golden Globe.
After leaving Cheers in 1987, Long went on to star in several films and TV shows throughout the 1990s, though she was never able to recreate the magic or success she had found on Cheers.
So what happened to Shelly Long and what has she been up to lately?
Shelley Long, born on August 23, 1949, in Fort Wayne, Indiana and was the only child of Ivadine, a school teacher, and Leland Long, who initially worked in the rubber industry before transitioning to teaching.
Raised in the Presbyterian faith, Long was an active member of her high school speech team and even won the National Forensic League’s National Championship in Original Oratory in 1967.
After high school, she began studying drama at Northwestern University but left before graduating to pursue acting and modeling. Her first break came when she started doing commercials for a furniture store in the Chicago area.
In Chicago, Long joined the renowned comedy troupe, The Second City. By 1975, she was co-hosting the television program “Sorting It Out” on WMAQ-TV, which earned her three Regional Emmys.
Throughout the 1970s, Long appeared in various commercials, TV shows, and films, including a significant role in “A Small Circle of Friends” in 1980.
Long’s comedic talent was evident early on, and she ventured into various genres, from soap operas to sitcoms. Despite her initial reservations about joining “Cheers,” the decision turned out to be a pivotal one for her career.
For her role as Diane Chambers, Long received five Emmy nominations, winning in 1983 for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. She also bagged two Golden Globe Awards.
However, after the fifth season in 1987, Long decided to leave “Cheers.” One of the primary reasons she mentioned in later interviews was her desire to spend more time with her toddler daughter.
Additionally, in a 2007 interview, she expressed that she didn’t want to keep doing the same episode and story repeatedly, fearing it would become old and stale.
She also mentioned that working on “Cheers” was a dream come true and one of the most satisfying experiences of her life. Despite missing the show, she never regretted her decision to leave.
Friction with the Cast
In a 2012 oral history of “Cheers” published by GQ, various cast and crew members discussed their experiences on the show.
Shelley Long’s meticulous approach to her character and her extensive discussions with the writers were highlighted as points of contention.
Assistant director Thomas Lofaro mentioned that Long would spend hours discussing her character, which eventually wore on the writers.
Glen Charles, the series co-creator, noted that while Long’s discussions were never tantrums, they did create a divide between her and the rest of the cast.
Ted Danson, however, defended Long, stating that while her process might be infuriating to some, it was purposeful and contributed to her portrayal of Diane.
Another point of contention arose from Kelsey Grammer’s 1995 memoir, “So Far…”, where he claimed Long tried to get him off the show and consistently asked writers to remove his lines.
Long refuted this, pointing out one instance where she disagreed about her character’s storyline but emphasizing that she never tried to undermine Grammer.
She expressed regret that Grammer never approached her with his concerns. Despite past disagreements, Grammer confirmed that he and Long had reconciled.
Post Cheers Career
While on “Cheers,” Long continued her foray into films. In 1984, she received a Golden Globe nomination for her role in “Irreconcilable Differences.”
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Long starred in several films, including “Night Shift,” “The Money Pit,” “Troop Beverly Hills,” and “The Brady Bunch Movie.”
In the 2000s, Long made guest appearances on various TV shows, including “8 Simple Rules,” “Boston Legal,” and “Modern Family,” where she played DeDe Pritchett.
She also starred in TV films like “Falling in Love with the Girl Next Door” and “Holiday Engagement.” In 2016, Long took on a producer role and acted in the feature film “Different Flowers.”
What is Shelley Long Doing Now?
(Shelly Long in ‘The Cleaner’)
Today, at 74 years old, Shelley Long’s illustrious career in the entertainment industry has understandably slowed down. However, her passion for acting remains evident. In 2021, she took on a role in the film “The Cleaner.”
The film revolves around a middle-aged house cleaner who becomes entangled in a violent crime after being hired to locate a client’s estranged son.
In 2022 she also took part in “Give Me Pity!” where she plays “baby dog.”
Shelley Long has always been known for her discretion and preference for privacy, especially in the age of social media.
Unlike many of her contemporaries, Long has chosen to stay away from platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, maintaining her personal life away from the public eye.
The most recent glimpse into her life was in 2022 when photographers spotted the actress during a simple, everyday moment, walking her dog.
This rare sighting underscores Long’s choice to lead a life away from the constant glare of media attention.