Who did Kirstie Alley play in Drop Dead Gorgeous? Late actress's role revisited

Eve Edwards December 6, 2022
Who did Kirstie Alley play in Drop Dead Gorgeous? Late actress's role revisited
Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images


In light of Kirstie Alley’s passing, we revisit one of the late actress’s most iconic roles in black comedy mockumentary, Drop Dead Gorgeous.

Alley’s death was confirmed on December 5, 2022, shortly after she was diagnosed with cancer. She was 71 years old.

Kirstie Alley was best known for starring as Rebecca Howe in Cheers. Alley won an Emmy Award and Golden Globe for her work in the hit sitcom. She also had starring roles in the likes of It Takes Two, Veronica’s Closet, and Look Who’s Talking.

But Alley’s role in cult comedy classic Drop Dead Gorgeous is one movie buffs are revisiting in light of this sad news. For those who haven’t seen the mockumentary, or for those who are wishing to revisit the 1999 flick, let’s take a trip back to Mount Rose, Minnesota.

Photo by New Line Cinema/Getty Images

Who did Kirstie Alley play in Drop Dead Gorgeous?

Late actress Kirstie Alley starred as Gladys Leeman in Drop Dead Gorgeous. Gladys was the main antagonist throughout the mockumentary, a former pageant queen intent on having her daughter, Becky (Denise Richards), follow in her footsteps.

Drop Dead Gorgeous centers on the annual Sarah Rose Cosmetics Mount Rose American Teen Princess Pageant. It follows eight teen girls from Mount Rose, Minnesota who are competing in the pageant, before things take a deadly turn and the contestants become subject to brutal attacks.

Gladys is responsible for some of the film’s most iconic quotes. She even has an entire IMDb page dedicated to her lines from Drop Dead Gorgeous.

Kirstie’s ‘stole the show’ as Gladys Leeman

Since learning of Kirstie Alley’s death this December, Drop Dead Gorgeous fans are revisiting her turn as Gladys Leeman. It’s safe to say this was one of her best roles given the fan response.

“Kirstie Alley’s best movie was Drop Dead Gorgeous and I will accept no other suggestions,” one Twitter user commented in light of her passing.

Another tweeted that Alley’s performance as Gladys Leeman “taught me comedy.”

The mockumentary has been dubbed one of the “best comedies” of the 1990s.

Drop Dead Gorgeous cast has lost another before Kirstie Alley

Tragically, Kirstie Alley is not the first Drop Dead Gorgeous cast member to have passed away. The mockumentary has a stellar line-up of actors, with some of the brightest young talent who were set to dominate Hollywood. Drop Dead Gorgeous starred Kirsten Dunst, Brittany Murphy, Denise Richards, and Amy Adams as the teen pageant queens. Drop Dead Gorgeous was Adams’s first-ever screen role.

Alley is the third cast member to have passed since the film’s release in 1999. Brittany Murphy tragically passed away on December 20, 2009 at the age of 32. Late Batman star Adam West makes a cameo appearance in Drop Dead Gorgeous. He passed away at the age of 88 on June 9, 2017.

Kirstie Alley’s children confirmed her death in moving statement

Late on December 5, Kirstie Alley’s two children, True and Lillie Parker, confirmed that their mother had passed away. They confirmed the sad news in a statement shared to Alley’s social media profile.

“We are sad to inform you that our incredible, fierce and loving mother has passed away after a battle with cancer, only recently discovered. She was surrounded by her closest family and fought with great strength, leaving us with a certainty of her never-ending joy of living and whatever adventures lie ahead,” the statement opens. “As iconic as she was on screen, she was an even more amazing mother and grandmother.”

“Our mother’s zest and passion for life, her children, grandchildren and her many animals, not to mention her eternal joy of creating, were unparalleled and leave us inspired to live life to the fullest just as she did,” the statement concludes.

Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images
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Eve Edwards is a staff writer for The Focus who has been with GRV Media since April 2019. Having gained a BA (Hons) in History from the University of Bristol, Eve joined GRV starting out as a writer for Reality Titbit before making her way over to HITC. With a passion for music, TV, and cultural news, Eve eventually found a home at The Focus. Eve spent 2021-2022 freelancing for GRV Media while she completed a Masters in Music Performance, and brings her wide array of interests to the company in her written work. In Eve's spare time you'll find her working her way through the day's Wordle, Heardle, and Quordle, or struggling to complete The Guardian's cryptic crossword.