Shelley Long has starred in numerous films and television series since the 70's, including her award-winning portrayal of Diane Chambers in NBC's "Cheers". She has had numerous ups and downs since the 90's, and been through two divorces and one suicide attempt.
Shelley Long was born on August 23, 1949 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She attended Northwestern University, and completed coursework in Drama, before leaving to pursue her acting career. She joined the Chicago based acting troupe Second City, the group that launched the careers of numerous Saturday Night Live cast members. During the same period she wrote, produced, and co-hosted "Sorting It Out", a magazine program that won three Emmy Awards for "Best Entertainment Show".
She married her second husband, Bruce Tyson, in 1981, a year before landing the role of Diane Chambers in the NBC sitcom "Cheers". Long played the part for five years, earning two Golden Globes and an Emmy. She left in 1987 to focus on her movie career.
In the 1980's, Shelley Long appeared almost exclusively in comedies. In Losin' It she played Kathy, a married woman who goes on a road trip with four teenaged guys. She moved on to a fantastic turn in The Money Pit with Tom Hanks, a film about a couple who unknowingly purchase a house that is in complete shambles. After starring in Outrageous Fortune and Hello Again, she did the film of her career: 1989's Troop Beverly Hills. It was a great part, and it perfectly showcased Long's comedic talents.
All of the films she did up to this point are not to be missed. Hello Again is about a woman who dies, and then is resurrected years later to find her husband and family have moved on without her. This may sound depressing, or slightly macabre, but it isn't. The main character, Lucy Chadman, isn't scary or sad, just inconvenient. Outrageous Fortune, The Money Pit, and Troop Beverly Hills are all superb Sunday afternoon movies - those movies that you find yourself watching whenever the local television station plays them. Like Goldie Hawn did in her heyday, Shelley Long knew how to make crap watchable.
Her career began to decline in the 90's, after her roles in the box office failures Don't Tell Her It's Me (later re-realeased as "The Boyfriend School") and Frozen Assets. She continued to do numerous roles in television shows and made for TV movies. Her appearance in The Brady Bunch Movie seemed to signal an impending major comeback for Long, but did not.
In 2004, Bruce Tyson filed for divorce. On October 16, 2004 Long overdosed on pain pills prescribed to her for a back injury. This was an apparent suicide attempt. She was back to acting relatively quickly, guest-starring on television shows and making the forgettable "Honeymoon with Mom". In January of 2007, Long checked into an outpatient program in a mental health facility.
Shelley Long's career enjoyed a brief zenith in the 80's before succumbing to "Meg Ryan Disease", in which an actor or actress fails to vary the type of roles that they select, and becomes increasingly less successful at them. When her career begain to fail, she seemed to take any part that was offered her, leading to a string of horrendous made for television movies. If she is to make a comeback, she will have to do it the way Ally Sheedy did: independent films.
A Partial Filmography
A Small Circle of Friends (1980)
Night Shift (1982)
Losin' It (1983)
Welcome to Paradise (1984)
Irreconcilable Differences (1984)
The Money Pit (1986)
Outrageous Fortune (1987)
Hello Again (1987)
Troop Beverly Hills (1989)
Don't Tell Her It's Me (1990)
Frozen Assets (1992)
The Brady Bunch Movie (1995)
Freaky Friday (TV) (1995)
A Very Brady Sequel (1996)
Dr. T and the Women (2000)
The Brady Bunch in the White House (2002)
Honeymoon With Mom (2006)