(written from a Production point of view)
Kirstie Alley (born 12 January 1951; age 71) is an American actress and spokesmodel from Wichita, Kansas, who made her feature film debut playing Saavik in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. For her performance in this film, Alley was nominated for a Saturn Award by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films.
She was offered the chance to reprise the role in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, but according to Alley, she was offered less money for that film than she was paid for Star Trek II and thus declined to return. According to Leonard Nimoy, Alley's talent agent demanded a salary that was higher than DeForest Kelley's after learning that Saavik was to have a large role in the film.  It was also reported that "Just before production began, negotiations with Kirstie Alley broke down. [...] The Los Angeles Times indicated the problem concerned money with Alley asking 10 times the salary she earned on Star Trek II. [...] Alley's representative, Michael Levine, agreed that the problem was financial, but refused further details." (Starlog #77, December 1983, p. 15) After an intensive casting search, Nimoy opted instead to recast the role of Saavik, which was ultimately given to Robin Curtis.
In a later interview, Alley reported that she had wanted to reprise the role, but Paramount wasn't willing to pay what she was asking, which according to Alley was "less money than they did for Star Trek II, so I figured they weren't very interested in me for Saavik." This, combined with the commitment of a co-starring role in the TV pilot Masquerade for ABC, forced Alley to bow out of the role. (Starlog #102, January 1986, p. 43)
Upon viewing The Search for Spock, Alley found the film an enjoyable but unnerving experience, as she came to the realization that of Curtis' as Saavik, "She wasn't me". Sympathizing with Curtis, however, Alley revealed that "I thought she was at a real disadvantage playing the role someone else established, especially with Star Trek, which has an enormous following. I think she did a fine job. I have no problem with what she was doing except that, when I saw the film, I said, 'She isn't Saavik. I am.'" (Starlog #102, January 1986, p, 43)
When it was revealed that there would be an upcoming, and yet untitled, Star Trek IV, Alley said that she would gladly join the crew if she was asked, "I would be very interested in doing Star Trek IV, I really liked playing Saavik. It was my first role and I feel a certain allegiance to her. But they've said nothing to me about it." (Starlog #102, January 1986, p, 44)
Alley is perhaps best known for her Emmy Award-winning role as Rebecca Howe on the long-running NBC comedy television series Cheers. She played the role for six seasons, from 1987 through 1993, during which time she received an Emmy Award and four Emmy nominations. She also received a Golden Globe and three Golden Globe nominations. Her co-stars on Cheers included Kelsey Grammer, Bebe Neuwirth, and Paul Willson. Alley was the only living Cheers star who did not appear on Grammer's spin-off series, Frasier (though Grammer was one of four cast members to make a cameo appearance when Alley hosted Saturday Night Live in 1991). She did, however, appear as Rebecca in a 1993 episode of Wings, a series which starred Steven Weber.
Alley is also known for starring as Veronica Chase in the NBC comedy series Veronica's Closet, for which she received nominations from the Emmy Awards, the Golden Globes, and the Screen Actors Guild Awards. Wallace Langham was a regular on this series, which ran from 1997 through 2000.
In 1983, Alley starred in the short-lived TV series Masquerade. She then appeared in her first TV movie, 1984's Sins of the Past, with John Anderson, Roger Aaron Brown, and Kim Cattrall. The following year, she starred as journalist Gloria Steinem in the TV movie A Bunny's Tale, again working with Star Trek II cinematographer Gayne Rescher.
Alley starred in the 1985 mini-series North and South' and its 1986 follow-up, North and South, Book II, in which she played Virgilia Hazard, the sister of the characters portrayed by Star Trek: The Next Generation's Jonathan Frakes and Star Trek: Voyager guest actor James Read. Other actors who appeared in the two North and South mini-series include John Anderson, Lee Bergere, Michael Champion, Mary Crosby, Kate McNeil, Jim Metzler, Mark Moses, Leon Rippy, Bumper Robinson, Maurice Roëves, William Schallert, Kurtwood Smith, Jean Simmons, David Ogden Stiers, and Anthony Zerbe.
Alley was nominated for a CableACE Award for her performance in the "Out of the Night" episode of The Hitchhiker, which aired in 1985. She returned to the series in 1987 in an episode with Brad Dourif.
In addition, Alley won an Emmy Award for her performance in the 1994 CBS TV movie David's Mother, which co-starred Chris Sarandon. She was also nominated for an Emmy Award for her work in the 1997 CBS mini-series The Last Don. Her co-stars on this production included Seymour Cassel, John Colicos, Cliff DeYoung, and Mike Starr. Alley also starred in the 1998 sequel, The Last Don II.
Joseph Sargent directed Alley in the 2002 TV movie Salem Witch Trials, in which Alley portrayed Ann Putnam. In 2004, Alley guest-starred on the CBS drama series Without a Trace, on which Enrique Murciano is a regular. In 2005, Alley attempted to capitalize on her much-publicized weight problems as the creator, executive producer, and star of the Showtime pseudo-reality series, Fat Actress. Alley was also seen on Dancing With the Stars hosted by Tom Bergeron.
After Star Trek II, Alley appeared in such films as Champions, Blind Date, and the science fiction thriller Runaway with Judi Durand, all of which were released in 1984. Blind Date (not to be confused with the 1987 comedy starring Bruce Willis, Kim Basinger, and John Larroquette) is a thriller which featured an early appearance by Marina Sirtis, who became a regular on TNG three years later. Runaway was photographed by John A. Alonzo and composed by Jerry Goldsmith.
In the late 1980s, Alley starred in such films as the 1987 comedy Summer School (with Ken Olandt), the 1988 thriller Shoot to Kill (with Clancy Brown), and the 1989 romantic comedy Loverboy. In the latter, Alley portrayed a doctor hoping to get even with her husband, also a doctor, for cheating on her. Her husband was played by Robert Picardo, who later starred on Voyager. Vic Tayback also appeared in this film.
Alley had her greatest success in films with the 1989 comedy Look Who's Talking and its sequels, Look Who's Talking Too (1990) and Look Who's Talking Now (1993). Also in 1989, she and John Larroquette played a married couple in the comedy Madhouse (released the following year), and in 1990, Alley and Scott Bakula played a married couple in the comedy Sibling Rivalry. Alley's other film credits include Village of the Damned (1995), It Takes Two (1995), Deconstructing Harry (1997), For Richer or Poorer (1997, with Ethan Phillips and John Pyper-Ferguson), and Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999, starring Kirsten Dunst).