Actress Kirstie Alley died recently at the age of 71 after a short battle with colon cancer.
“As iconic as she was on screen, she was an even more amazing mother and grandmother,” her children wrote in a statement confirming the news.
While tributes and condolences flooded social media from fans and friends of the “Cheers” star, a number of mean-spirited people used the opportunity to take one last swipe at her.
Why so few tributes to Kirstie Alley from other major female TV comedy stars. Don’t need 2 hands to count them. Won’t be vulgar as & name them but their silence is deafening! All because of her political beliefs. Yet it’s a place that will give Roman Polanski a standing ovation.
— Peter Ford (@mrpford) December 6, 2022
Radio host Howard Stern focused his vitriol on her opposition to COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
He and co-host Robin Quivers began the segment respectfully, noting that the actress was a friend of the show. Stern said he was “all freaked out” when his wife told him about Alley’s death.
“I saw that last night and I started reading up on her because, again, another person we had on the show and had really warm feelings for,” Quivers added.
When Stern broached the fact that Alley died of “a sudden kind of cancer,” however, he began to explore the possibility that her skepticism toward the COVID-19 vaccine could have played a role in her death.
“She was not anti-vaccine, but she was anti-mandate,” he said. “Maybe … she didn’t go to the doctor soon enough when she wasn’t feeling well?”
He went on to acknowledge that “there’s no facts behind” his theory, and Quivers seemed to push back against his unsubstantiated speculation.
“There are many, many cancers, Howard, that don’t really show up with symptoms for a long, long time,” she explained.
Quivers, who dealt with cancer about a decade ago, added: “You can have it and not really understand that whatever is going on with you is a cancer thing instead of just, you know, normal tiredness.”
Her remarks appeared to rein in Stern’s conspiratorial musings as he recalled that she did not have any serious symptoms prior to her diagnosis.
“That’s what happened to you,” he said. “All of a sudden they were like, ‘Well, you got this big tumor the size of a grapefruit.’ And you’re like, ‘What? What are you talking about?’”
Costars from multiple projects, including the long-running sitcom that made her a household name, reacted to her death by sharing their thoughts about the acclaimed actress.
Ted Danson, who portrayed her love interest on “Cheers,” said that he had watched an old episode of the show shortly before hearing the news, adding: “I am so sad and so grateful for all the times she made me laugh. I send my love to her children. As they well know, their mother had a heart of gold. I will miss her.”