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Tim Allen remembers Kirstie Alley, praises her independent thought

By Sarah May
|
December 14, 2022

The entertainment world was saddened last week to learn that actress Kirstie Alley had died of cancer at the age of 71, and shortly thereafter, her friend and former colleague, actor Tim Allen, took to the airwaves to offer an emotional tribute to her fiercely independent approach to life, as Fox News reports.

According to a statement from Alley's family, the Cheers and Look Who's Talking star passed away after a brief, private battle with what was later revealed to be colon cancer, as the Daily Mail noted.

Allen pays tribute

Almost as soon as the tragic development went public, Allen posted an initial reaction on Twitter, writing “A sweet soul pass[es] on in Kirstie Alley. Sad, sad news.”

However, that would not be the full extent of his media remembrances of his For Richer or Poorer co-star, as he subsequently spoke to Fox News Digital about his late friend.

“I wish I could accentuate how independent her thought was and how beautiful her thought was and how organic her thought was in her heart. It's difficult, and she never put that on another person,” Allen stated.

Recalling Alley's well-known penchant for outspoken debate, Allen continued, “Of course she liked people that disagreed with her, and she said that and how important it was to have other people – it's confusing when you hear the word 'tolerant' and then you get attacked.”

Allen, who has long been the target of significant backlash in Hollywood over his conservative viewpoints, made it clear that he felt a kinship with Alley and her unwavering fidelity to her own beliefs – even if she incurred the wrath of the industry in which she worked because of it.

Courting controversy

Though Alley's career was marked by a series of highly publicized ups and downs, one of the greatest firestorms she was forced to withstand stemmed from her political positions and her stance in support of then-candidate Donald Trump in 2016, as People recalled.

Back in 2021, Alley appeared as a guest on Fox News' Tucker Carlson Tonight and recounted the hostility she encountered from television and film industry insiders who simply could not tolerate her expressions of admiration for Trump.

The actress explained that after she gave voice to her opinion about Trump's candidacy, certain producers confided that they shared her sentiments, but remained silent due to fears of irreparable career damage.

“People go, 'You're so brave,'” Alley began, adding, “I go, 'No, I think I'm stupid. Because honestly, it is a real situation. And it is a real blackballing situation. And it's so strange to me because artists are free-thinkers for the most part.”

Despite expressing her exasperation over the state of politics during Trump's first campaign for the White House, Alley later revealed that she cast her ballot in support of him in 2016 and would do again in 2020, noting, “He gets things done quickly and he will turn the economy around quickly. There you have it folks there you have it.”

Defending Scientology

Another key way in which Alley persistently paddled against the current in terms of public opinion was  through her vehement defense of the Church of Scientology, the arguably secretive and often-criticized belief system founded by science fiction author L. Ron Hubbard.

Having been part of the faith for over four decades, Alley often faced skepticism from detractors who questioned the morality of the religion's tenets and practices, but, according to the Los Angeles Times, remained firm in her assertion that “Scientology has been cloaked in mystery fabricated by the press, mostly.”

Despite her longstanding commitment to the church and its teachings, Alley maintained that her mission was “not to convert anyone” and that that people should remember that “all religions sound a little wacky if you take them literally and if they don't happen to be your own.”

Alley credited Scientology with getting her off drugs and giving her the courage to pursue a professional acting career, explaining, “Apparently I was ready to confront the dreadfulness called me, and I prevailed. I never turned back.”

Enduring legacy

As US magazine noted, Alley leaves behind a son, True, daughter, Lillie, and three grandchildren, an impressive body of work, as well as millions of fans around the world.

Love her or hate her, agree with her or not, as the world remembers Kirstie Alley, the words of her former co-star Clancy Brown ring especially true and are ones with which Allen would surely concur: “There was no one like her on Earth.”