Kirstie Alley had a good reason for making her final TV appearance on ‘Masked Singer’

A man holding a microphone stands next to a woman wearing a fluffy pink costume on stage
Kirstie Alley appeared on Fox’s “The Masked Singer” in April alongside host Nick Cannon.

Late TV star Kirstie Alley made her final appearance on the small screen earlier this year as a contestant on Fox’s zany singing competition series “The Masked Singer.”

The “Cheers” and “Fat Actress” alum, who died at 71 from colon cancer, returned to her roots last spring as the “brutal little beast” Baby Mammoth in Season 7 of the series. However, she was eliminated in April, one episode after her debut.

When host Nick Cannon revealed Alley’s identity, the actor, who also competed in ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” and the U.K.’s “Celebrity Big Brother,” explained what led to her final foray in reality TV.

Actor Kirstie Alley, of ‘Cheers’ fame, died of cancer that was recently diagnosed, according to a statement issued Monday evening by her family.

Dec. 6, 2022

“I’ve done a lot of things in my career, but I’ve never gotten to be in the circus,” the Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning performer said. “I have grandchildren, and they’re really young, so they are going to think this is good.”


Alley first performed “Walkin’ After Midnight” by Patsy Cline, then “The Shoop Shoop Song (It’s in His Kiss)” (performed by Betty Everett and Cher) on the program. She also competed in a “cuddle duel” with her teammate Space Bunny — later revealed to be singer Shaggy — in which they performed “Me Too” by Meghan Trainor.

With each performance, video packages introduced subtle nods to Alley’s oeuvre, including references to her role in the “Look Who’s Talking” trilogy, her breakout role on “Cheers” and love of animals. Alley stumped the judges with a clue, later revealing that she had 15 lemurs, dogs, cats, birds and squirrels.

“I came on ‘Masked Singer’ because about 10 years ago I realized I always had to keep mixing my career, mixing my life up, or it was going to get really mundane, it was going to get really boring fast. So I finally got up the nerve to do it,” she said in her exit interview.

Although she didn’t last long on the show, the “Veronica’s Closet” star said she felt good going home. She was particularly delighted to be done with her character’s massive pink get-up. Alley jokingly blamed the costume for losing the competition because, she quipped, “I honestly sing like [Andrea] Bocelli” but the heavy ensemble made her sing “like a cat in heat.”

“I hope that I never have to put this costume on for the rest of my eternity. ... When you’re choosing costumes, go skimpy!”

‘Cheers’ stars Ted Danson, Kelsey Grammer and Rhea Perlman fondly remember their late castmate Kirstie Alley, who died of cancer at age 71.

Dec. 6, 2022


The panel of judges — consisting of Nicole Sherzinger, Ken Jeong and Robin Thicke — guessed that the person behind the mask was Melissa McCarthy, Reese Witherspoon or Rachael Ray, respectively. But it was their counterpart Jenny McCarthy who put together that Alley was the masked singer.

Alley attributed McCarthy’s connection to the 1990s boy band New Kids on the Block for cracking the code. McCarthy is married to member Donnie Wahlberg, and Alley was friends with his band mate Jonathan Knight-Rodriguez.

Knight-Rodriguez was among the many celebrities — including her “Cheers” co-stars — who paid tribute to Alley following her death.

“My heart is ripped into a million pieces, and half my soul has been taken away…” the singer and HGTV star wrote on Instagram, sharing a photo of him and Alley. “[W]e met and connected in a way one rarely gets to experience with others.”

Jeong and the reality series also sent their condolences via social media, tweeting Monday: “Rest in peace, Kirstie. #TheMaskedSinger”