Shelley Long is an American actress and comedienne best known for her role as barmaid Diane Chambers in the television sitcom Cheers, from 1982-1993.
Long was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana to Evandine, a school teacher, and Leland Long, who worked in the rubber industry before becoming a teacher.
She was active on her high school speech team, and won the National Championship in Original Oratory. She delivered a speech on the need for sex education in high school.
After graduating from South Side High School in Fort Wayne, she studied drama at Northwestern University, but left before graduating to pursue a career in acting and modelling.
In Chicago, she joined The Second City comedy troupe and in 1975, she began writing, producing, and co-hosting the television program Sorting It Out. The local NBC broadcast went on to win three Emmy Awards for Best Entertainment Show.
Her first notable role came in 1980 with A Small Circle of Friends, opposite Brad Davis and Karen Allen. The film about social unrest at Harvard University during the 1960s was a critical success.
In 1981, she played the role of Tala in the Ringo Starr film Caveman, starring opposite Dennis Quaid. She was also featured in the Henry Winkler comedy Night Shift, about life working on the night shift at a city morgue, and starred with Tom Cruise in the 1983 comedy film Losin' It.
Long's taste of fame came when she was cast as the barmaid Diane Chambers in Cheers. The show was slow to capture an audience but eventually became one of the most popular shows on television and she became a sought after actress.
In 1984, Long was nominated for a Best Leading Actress Golden Globe for her performance in Irreconcilable Differences. She then appeared in a series of comedies, including The Money Pit, starring Tom Hanks (1986), Outrageous Fortune with Bette Midler and Peter Coyote (1987) and Hello Again with Corbin Bernsen (1987).
Amidst much controversy and in a fatal career move, she abandoned her trademark role as Diane Chambers and the Cheers series at the height of the series' popularity.
Producers of the show begged her to reconsider and even offered her $400,000 to stay, but Long refused. Reports said that she left because did not have good relations with her costars (who allegedly found her overbearing), and that she wanted to leave television roles for a film career.
In a 2003 interview on The Graham Norton Show, Long said that she left for a variety of reasons, the most important of which was her desire to spend more time with her newborn daughter.
Her first post-Cheers project was Troop Beverly Hills, where she played a housewife who starts a "Wilderness Girl" troop as a distraction from her divorce proceedings.
Long's career declined throughout the 1990s, when she took several roles in films, such as, Don't Tell Her It's Me and Frozen Assets, that turned out to be commercially unsuccessful.
In 1993, she returned to Cheers for its series finale and starred in the short-lived sitcom Good Advice with Treat Williams and Teri Garr, but the show was cancelled after two seasons.
In 1995, she re-appeared as Diane Chambers in an episode of Frasier and appeared in the campy big screen re-make of The Brady Bunch Movie, which was a surprise hit and revived her career as a comedienne.
In 1996, she reprised her role as Carol Brady 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 on The WB Television Network.
In 2000, Long took a supporting role in the Richard Gere film, Dr. T and the Women and in 2002 she reprised her role as Carol Brady in The Brady Bunch in the White House. In 2005 she played Mitzi Robinson in indpendent film Trust Me.
In the early and mid 2000s, Long guest starred on several sitcoms such as 8 Simple Rules where she played John Ratzenberger's wife, and Yes, Dear where she and Alan Thicke portrayed a snobby couple interested in buying the house next door to Greg and Kim.
She has also had guest starring roles in many Television shows. In 1997, she played the Wicked Witch of the Beanstalk in the Second Season Sabrina, the Teenage Witch episode Sabrina and the Beanstalk.
In 1979, while pursuing her acting career, Long met securities broker Bruce Tyson, whom she married in October 1981. She gave birth to her only child, her daughter Juliana on March 27, 1985.
In 2004, after 23 years of marriage, Tyson filed for divorce. On November 25, 2004, Long was admitted to hospital after allegedly attempting suicide; however, her agent said it was an 'accidental overdose.'