Kirstie Alley in 'Drop Dead Gorgeous'

This Vintage Kirstie Alley Interview Has Left My Jaw Permanently Unhinged

I’ve spent the better part of the day trying to come up with the best way to describe this clip of Barbara Walters’ interview with Kirstie Alley from 1996. Meanwhile, my jaw is becoming acclimated to its new forever home on the floor beneath my desk.

Recommended Videos

Bless Kristi Yamaguccimane (legend) for resurfacing this old interview with the late Kirstie Alley, who continues her complicated legacy from beyond the grave. (Shout out to other motherless children who watched Cheers and It Takes Two and imagined Kirstie Alley was secretly their mom. May your therapy be long and fruitful.) To place this in context: Back in 1996, Alley had just appeared in a movie with the Olsen twins (see previous parenthetical) and had two starring vehicles on the way—For Richer or Poorer, in which she and Tim Allen play rich people who force an Amish community to adopt them so they can learn the value of being poor; and Veronica’s Closet, a network sitcom in which Alley plays the She-EO of a Victoria’s Secret-esque lingerie company.

Between the Olsen twins and the Amish exploitation, Barbara Walters interviewed Kirstie Alley, who discussed the untimely death of her parents, both of whom died in a car crash on their way to a Halloween party. Alley recalls sitting in the hospital waiting room when she asked her sister what their parents were wearing when they died, possibly the only scenario in which it’s appropriate to ask that question. What Alley says next is so unexpected that it feels like a jumpscare—like one of those old internet videos from 2001 where you’re just staring at an empty room for a really, really long time and then a demon face suddenly appears on the screen accompanied by the most jarring scream you’ve ever heard, made all the more upsetting because you had the volume cranked up way too high on the speakers attached to your family’s shared desktop PC. It’s like that.

Alley’s parents were wearing costumes when they died—specifically, they were going to a Halloween party as “the Odd Couple,” which Alley, like most people, assumed meant they were dressed like the characters played by Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau (look it up, we don’t have time). “Well, what were their costumes exactly?” Alley recalls asking her sister. “And she said, ‘Mom was a Black girl and dad was a Ku Klux Klan member.'” At this point in the video, my breath has gone AWOL. My jaw, floored. But wait! There’s more! Alley recalls how her whole family started laughing at this information, which was, she explains, “the greatest tribute to my mother.”

This video is like a little nesting doll where each newly revealed layer is more embarrassing than the last. RIP, Kirstie Alley. You would have loved Billy Dee Williams defending Blackface.

(featured image: New Line Cinema)


The Mary Sue is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more
related content
Read Article The Best LEGO Car Sets for 2024 To Impress the Hotties, Ranked
A LEGO Corvette.
Read Article We Can’t Get Enough of These’Bleach Blonde Bad Built’ Memes
(L-R) Marjorie Taylor Greene frowns at a podium, Jasmine Crockett speaks to a crowd while wearing a fur coat.
Read Article Kelly Yazdi Claps Back After Ex-Husband Zac Brown Sues Her Over a Personal Poem
Composite image of Zac Brown as a Miami Heat game and Kelly Yazdi in an Instagram post
Read Article Rue21 Set To Shut Down After Filing For Bankruptcy a Third Time
Storefront of Rue21
Read Article Men Are Being Weirdly Self-Righteous Over the Simone Biles Debacle
Simone Biles at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics
Related Content
Read Article The Best LEGO Car Sets for 2024 To Impress the Hotties, Ranked
A LEGO Corvette.
Read Article We Can’t Get Enough of These’Bleach Blonde Bad Built’ Memes
(L-R) Marjorie Taylor Greene frowns at a podium, Jasmine Crockett speaks to a crowd while wearing a fur coat.
Read Article Kelly Yazdi Claps Back After Ex-Husband Zac Brown Sues Her Over a Personal Poem
Composite image of Zac Brown as a Miami Heat game and Kelly Yazdi in an Instagram post
Read Article Rue21 Set To Shut Down After Filing For Bankruptcy a Third Time
Storefront of Rue21
Read Article Men Are Being Weirdly Self-Righteous Over the Simone Biles Debacle
Simone Biles at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics
Author
Britt Hayes
Britt Hayes (she/her) is an editor, writer, and recovering film critic with over a decade of experience. She has written for The A.V. Club, Birth.Movies.Death, and The Austin Chronicle, and is the former associate editor for ScreenCrush. Britt's work has also been published in Fangoria, TV Guide, and SXSWorld Magazine. She loves film, horror, exhaustively analyzing a theme, and casually dissociating. Her brain is a cursed tomb of pop culture knowledge.