For Jackie Swanson of ‘Cheers,’ the Naive New Bride Is Just an Act

Jackie Swanson was originally hired to play Woody’s naive, wealthy girlfriend Kelly for just one episode on NBC’s “Cheers.” Much to her surprise, she’s just finished her third season on the long-running comedy.

“They just kept bringing me back,” Swanson, 28, explains. “I feel lucky. I feel lucky to have a job.”

This Thursday, Kelly and Woody finally tie the knot in the one-hour season finale. The wedding, of course, doesn’t go off without a hitch. “It’s sort of a comedy of errors,” Swanson says. “Everything that possibly goes wrong, does.”


Swanson, who is single, found it magical to play a make-believe bride. “I always thought I would elope (in real life), but even though it was pretend it was exciting to get into this beautiful gown. You feel like a princess. I mean, I am sure that every woman that ever gets married feels like a princess.”

Because Swanson is such a convincing innocent, she acknowledges that most viewers believe she really is like Kelly: “I wonder about other women who play a naive character, because my mother says people always say to her, ‘Is she really that sweet and naive in real life?’ It’s interesting. I am sure there are similarities between Kelly and myself. In the same sense, there are differences.”

Major differences. Swanson, who moved to Los Angeles seven years ago from her home in Cadillac, Mich., got her first paying job playing a “Raspberry Beret” girl in Prince’s video. And Swanson made her film debut in 1987’s hit “Lethal Weapon” as the prostitute who plunges to her death in the beginning of the film.

“I remember my parents had to drive from Cadillac to Grand Rapids to see it because ‘Lethal Weapon’ wouldn’t be coming for three or four months to Cadillac,” Swanson recalls. “So they had to drive to see it, only to be heartbroken by what they saw on the screen. But I think in their minds I have redeemed myself with Kelly.”