Shelley Lee Long (born August 23, 1949) is an American actress best known for her role as Diane Chambers on the sitcom Cheers,[2] for which she won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress[3] and two Golden Globe Awards.[4] She has also starred in several motion pictures throughout her career like Night Shift (1982), her Golden Globe nominated role in Irreconcilable Differences(1984),The Money Pit (1986), Outrageous Fortune (1987), Hello Again (1987), Troop Beverly Hills (1989), The Brady Bunch Movie (1995), and Dr. T & the Women(2000). Most recently she has had a recurring role as DeDe Pritchett on the ABC comedy series Modern Family.


 [hide*1 Early life

Early life[edit]Edit

Shelley Long was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana on August 23, 1949.[5] She is the daughter of Ivadine, a school teacher, and Leland Long, who worked in the rubber industry before becoming a teacher.[6] She was active on her high school speech team, competing in the Indiana High School Forensic Association, and in 1967 she won the National Forensic League National Championship in Original Oratory. She delivered a speech on the need for sex education in high school entitled, "Sex Perversion Weed."[7] After graduating from South Side High School in Fort Wayne, she studied drama at Northwestern University,[2] but left before graduating to pursue a career in acting and modelling. Her first break as an actress occurred when she began doing commercials in the Chicago area for a furniture company called Homemakers.[citation needed]


Early roles[edit]Edit

In Chicago, she joined The Second City comedy troupe. She appeared in several episodes of the popular sketch comedy show SCTV as well. In 1975, she began writing, producing, and co-hosting the television program Sorting It Out. The local NBC broadcast went on to win three Regional Emmys for Best Entertainment Show. Long also appeared in the 1970s in V05 Shampoo print advertisements, Homemakers Furniture, and Camay Soap commercials. In 1978 she guest starred in an episode of The Love Boat. Her first notable role came in the 1979 television movie The Cracker Factory, in which she portrayed a psychiatric inmate, opposite Natalie Wood. The same year she guest starred onFamily and Trapper John M.D. In 1980 she appeared in her first feature film role in A Small Circle of Friends with Brad Davis and Karen Allen.[8] The film about social unrest at Harvard University during the 1960s was a critical success.[citation needed] In 1981, she played the role of Tala in the Ringo Starr film Caveman, starring opposite Dennis Quaid. She played Nurse Mendenhall in an episode of M*A*S*H ("Bottle Fatigue," 1980).

In 1982, she starred as Belinda in Ron Howard's comedy Night Shift (co-starring Henry Winkler and Michael Keaton), about life working on the night shift at a city morgue, and starred with Tom Cruise in the 1983 comedy film Losin' It. She was offered the role of Mary, the mother in the classic film E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, but she declined because she already signed on to star in Night Shift.


Although she had already been in feature films, Long became famous for her role in the long-running television sitcom Cheers as the character Diane Chambers, who mainly has an on-and-off relationship with Sam Malone.[8] The show was slow to capture an audience but eventually became one of the most popular on the air. Amid much controversy, Long left Cheers after season five in 1987.[9] In the Cheers biography documentary, costar Ted Danson admitted there was tension between them but "never at a personal level and always at a work level" due to their different modes of working. He also stated that Long was much more like her character than she would like to admit, but also said that her performances often "carried the show."[10][11] Long said in later interviews that in her decision to leave, it did not occur to her that she was going to 'sabotage a show' and she felt confident that the rest of the cast could continue without her.[12]

In a 2003 interview on The Graham Norton Show, Long said she left for a variety of reasons, the most important of which was her desire to spend more time with her newborn daughter. In a 2007 interview on Australian television, Long claimed Danson was "a delight to work with" and talked of her love for costar Nicholas Colasanto who was "one of my closest friends on set." She said she left the show because she "didn't want to keep doing the same episode over and over again and the same story ... I didn't want it to become old and stale." She went on to say that "working at Cheers was a dream come true ... it was one of the most satisfying experiences of my life. So, yes, I missed it, but I never regretted that decision."[13]


While simultaneously appearing on Cheers, she continued starring in several motion pictures. In 1984, she was nominated for a Best Leading Actress Golden Globe for her performance in [[Irreconcilable Differences]]. She then starred in a series of comedies, such as The Money Pit with Tom HanksOutrageous Fortune with Bette Midler and Peter Coyote and Hello Again with Corbin Bernsen. She was also offered lead roles in Working GirlJumpin' Jack Flash and My Stepmother is an Alien.

Post-Cheers projects[edit]Edit

Her first post-Cheers project was Troop Beverly Hills, a comedy in which she plays a housewife who takes leadership of a "Wilderness Girl" troop for bonding with her daughter and to distract herself from divorce proceedings.

In 1990, Long returned to television for the fact-based ABC miniseries Voices Within: The Lives of Truddi Chase. She received critical praise for the role,[14] which required her to portray nearly 20 different personalities. This introduced her to more dramatic roles in TV films, after which she starred in several more throughout the 90s.

Major feature film roles followed such as the romantic comedy Don't Tell Her It's Me with Jami Gertz and Steve Guttenberg and Frozen Assets, a comedy about a sperm bank, which reunited her with Hello Again co-star Corbin Bernsen.

In 1992, she starred in Fatal Memories: The Eileen Franklin Story, a fact-based television drama about a woman who remembers the childhood trauma of being raped by her father and his cronies, and witnessing him murder her childhood friend to prevent the child from "telling on him."[15] The still controversial "recovered memories" basis for the prosecution resulted in the conviction and sentence of life imprisonment of George Franklin, Sr.,[16] a conviction that was later overturned.[17] She also appeared in A Message From Holly co-starring with Lindsay Wagner, which she stars as a workaholic who finds out that her best friend has cancer with only 6 months to live, and then stays with her in her last months.

In 1993, the actress returned to Cheers for its series finale, and picked up another Emmy nomination for her return as Diane.[18] She also starred in the sitcom Good Advice with Treat Williams and Teri Garr, but the show lasted just two seasons.[19] She later resurfaced as Diane for several episodes of the Kelsey Grammer spinoff series Frasier, for which she was nominated for yet another Emmy Award.

Later work[edit]Edit

Long appeared as Carol Brady in the 1995 hit film The Brady Bunch Movie, a campy take on the popular television show. In 1996, she reprised her role in A Very Brady Sequel, which had more modest success.

A series of ventures followed such as the made for TV remake of Freaky Friday, and the family sitcom Kelly Kelly, which only lasted for a few episodes. She played the Wicked Witch of the Beanstalk in a 1997 episode of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch.

In 1999 she starred in another TV drama film Vanished Without a Trace, about a woman who simply refuses to accept the kidnapping of her 13 year old daughter and relentlessly pursues the villain's capture. (Not to be confused with the 1993 film of the same name about the 1976 Chowchilla kidnapping.)

In 2000, Long appeared as one of the women in the Richard Gere film, Dr. T and the Women, directed by Robert Altman. She later returned for a third go-around as Carol Brady in the TV film The Brady Bunch in the White House.

In recent years, she has guest starred in several TV shows such as 8 Simple RulesYes, DearStrong Medicine, and Boston Legal. She has a recurring role on the popular ABC sitcom Modern Family. Long starred in several TV films such as Honeymoon with MomFalling in Love with the Girl Next Door, and the Hallmark holiday movie A Holiday Engagement, which premiered on November 27, 2011. Also, she starred in several independent films such as the 2007 filmTrust MeA Couple of White Chicks at the Hairdresser and Zombie Hamlet. She continues to be active in several guest appearances on sitcoms, TV movies, and films. On March 6, 2012, she guest starred on the ABC Family seriesSwitched at Birth. On May 30, 2012, the writers of Modern Family announced that she would return as DeDe Pritchett for her third guest appearance on the show the next season.

Personal life[edit]Edit

Long's first marriage ended in divorce.[20] In 1979, Long met her second husband, securities broker Bruce Tyson. They married in 1981 and had a daughter, Juliana, on March 27, 1985. Another attempt at pregnancy resulted in a miscarriage in 1989. Shelley also has a stepson.[21] Long and Tyson separated in 2003 and divorced in 2004.

On November 16, 2004, Long was hospitalized after an overdose of painkillers and spent seven days in the hospital before being released.[22]


Emmy Awards[edit]Edit

Year Category Nominated Work Result Refs
1983 Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series Cheers Won [23]
1984 Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series Cheers Nominated [23]
1985 Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series Cheers Nominated [23]
1986 Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series Cheers Nominated [23]
1993 Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series Cheers Nominated [23]
1996 Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series Frasier Nominated [23]

Golden Globe Awards[edit]Edit

Year Category Nominated Work Result Refs
1983 Best Supporting Actress (Television) Cheers Won [24]
1984 Best Actress in a TV Series (Comedy or Musical) Cheers Nominated [23]
1985 Best Actress In A TV series (Comedy Or Musical) Cheers Won [24]
1985 Best Actress in a Motion Picture (Comedy Or Musical) Irreconcilable Differences Nominated [24]



Year Film Role Notes
1977 The Key voice
1979 The Dooley Brothers Lucy Bennett (TV Film)
The Cracker Factory Clara (TV Film)
1980 A Small Circle of Friends Alice
The Promise of Love Lorraine Simpson (TV Film)
1981 Caveman Tala
The Princess and the Cabbie Carol (TV Film)
1982 Night Shift Belinda Keaton
1983 Losin' It Kathy
1984 Irreconcilable Differences Lucy Van Patten Brodsky Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
1986 The Money Pit Anna Crowley Beissart Fielding
1987 Outrageous Fortune Lauren Ames
Hello Again Lucy Chadman
1989 Troop Beverly Hills Phyllis Nefler
1990 Voices Within: The Lives of Truddi Chase Truddi Chase (TV Film)
Don't Tell Her It's Me Lizzie Potts
1992 Frozen Assets Dr. Grace Murdock
Fatal Memories Eileen Franklin Lipsker (TV Film)
A Message from Holly Kate (TV Film)
1995 The Brady Bunch Movie Carol Brady
The Women of Spring Break Anne (TV Film)
Freaky Friday Ellen Andrews (TV Film)
1996 Susie Q Penny Sands (TV Film)
A Very Brady Sequel Carol Brady
A Different Kind of Christmas Elizabeth Gates (TV Film)
1998 The Adventures of Ragtime Sam
1999 Vanished Without a Trace Elizabeth Porterson (TV Film)
2000 Dr. T & the Women Carolyn
2002 The Brady Bunch in the White House Carol Brady (TV Film)
The Santa Trap Molly Emerson (TV Film)
2006 Falling in Love with the Girl Next Door Betsy Lucas (TV Film)
Honeymoon with Mom Marla (TV Film)
2007 A Couple of White Chicks at the Hairdresser Barbara
Trust Me Mitzi Robinson
2008 Mr. Vinegar and the Curse Ms. Persnickety
2009 Ice Dreams Harriet Clayton (TV Film)
2011 A Holiday Engagement Meredith (TV Film)
Pizza Man Mrs. Burns
Zombie Hamlet Shine Reynolds Also co-producer
2012 Strawberry Summer Eileen Landon (TV Film)
Merry In-Laws Mrs. Claus (TV Film)
The Dog Who Saved Christmas Eve Aunt Barbara (TV Film) Also co-producer
2013 The Wedding Chapel Jeanie Robertson
Best Man Down Gail Post-Production
Holiday Road Trip Cynthia (TV Film) Filming
2014 A Matter of Time Nona Post-Production


Year Film Role Notes
1975–1978 Sorting it Out Host (Local Chicago show) Won 3 Regional Emmy Awards
1976–1977 SCTV Various (Cast Member 1976–1977)
1978 That Thing on ABC Performer (TV Variety Special)
1978 The Love Boat Heather McKenzie 1 Episode
1979 Family Joan Phillips 1 Episode
1979 Trapper John M.D Lauren 1 Episode
1980 M*A*S*H Lt. Mendenhall 1 Episode
1981 The Incredible Hulk Model 1 Episode (Uncredited)
1982–1987, 1993 Cheers Diane Chambers Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series (1983)

Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film (1983) Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy (1985) Viewers for Quality Television Award (1985,1986) TV Land Awards (2006, 2007) Nominated- Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series (1984, 1985, 1986) Nominated-Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series (1993) Nominated-Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy (1984)

1993–1994 Good Advice Susan DeRuzza (TV Series, Lasted 19 Episodes)
1995 Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman Lucille Newtrich 1 Episode
1995–1996 Murphy Brown Dottie Wilcox 2 Episodes
1996–2001 Frasier Diane Chambers 4 Episodes

Nominated- Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series (1996)

1996 Life with Louie Sally Tubbs 1 Episode
1996 Boston Common Louise Holmes 1 Episode
1998 Sabrina the Teenage Witch The Wicked Witch 1 Episode
1998 Kelly Kelly Kelly Novack (TV Series, Lasted 7 episodes) Also co-executive producer
1998 Diagnosis Murder Kay Ludlow 1 Episode
1999 Chicken Soup for the Soul Teacher 1 Episode
2000 Beggars and Choosers Pamela Marston 1 Episode
2003 8 Simple Rules Mary Ellen Doyle 1 Episode
2003 Strong Medicine Lauren Chase 1 Episode
2004 Joan of Arcadia Miss Candy 1 Episode
2005 Boston Legal Miriam Watson 1 Episode
2005 Yes, Dear Margaret 1 Episode
2005 Complete Savages Judy 2 Episodes
2009–2012 Modern Family DeDe Pritchett 3 Episodes
2011 Retired at 35 Ginny 1 Episode
2011 A.N.T. Farm Mrs. Busby 1 Episode
2012 Switched at Birth Rya Bellows 1 Episode
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