Shelley Long was born in Fort Wayne, Ind. She entered Northwestern University as a drama major, but eventually dropped out to pursue a career in modeling and acting. While in Chicago, Long wrote, produced and co-hosted a local TV show called Sorting It Out. She was also a member of famed comedy troupe Second City. Long moved to Hollywood in 1978 to pursue opportunities in film and television. She made her television debut on an episode of The Love Boat in 1978. Other early television appearances include Family, Trapper John MD, and M*A*S*H. She appeared in the Ringo Starr vehicle Caveman, and a turn as a prostitute in Night Shift, Ron Howard's film directorial debut, followed. Long became a household name when she was cast as Diane Chambers on the NBC sitcom Cheers. For four seasons, she played the snooty barmaid who had a tempestuous on-again-off-again relationship with caddish bar owner Sam Malone. In that time Long earned six Emmy Award nominations.
During her time on Cheers, Long maintained her film career, making Irreconcilable Differences, The Money Pit, Outrageous Fortune, and Hello Again. After leaving Cheers, Long put her focus on her film career, making occasional TV appearances on Murphy Brown, Boston Common, and Cheers spin-off Frasier. In recent years, Long has made appearances on 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Daughter, Joan of Arcadia, Boston Legal and Yes, Dear. In 1995 she recreated the role of Carol Brady in The Brady Bunch Movie, and went on to play the role in two sequels, A Very Brady Sequel and The Brady Bunch in the White House. For 25 years Long was married to Bruce Tyson, but the couple divorced in 2004. They have one child together, a daughter.
Diane is a cultured intellectual (snob) who is well versed in the more refined aspects of life (dead languages, dead painters, dead philosophers). She seems to know a lot about everything, except what she wants to do with her life. When we first meet her, she thinks she wants to elope with her still-married fiance and former professor, Dr. Sumner Sloane -- that is, until he abandons her at Cheers. Not one to feel sorry for herself, Diane takes a job there until she can figure out what her next move will be.
To say that she is a fish out of water in the Beantown watering hole is a bit of an understatement, but Diane perseveres, despite Carla's endless ridicule and Sam's relentless attempts to woo her. It's not that Diane thinks she's better than everyone else (well, maybe a little); she's terribly insecure and feels that the more she knows, the better she'll be. So she makes do serving drinks to the common folk and tries to maintain her dignity while doing it, which means not giving in to Sam and his oh-so-obvious charms (he's just too low and uncultured for her - so what if he does have a certain irresistible animal magnetism?). One gets the feeling that Diane would rather talk about love then make it, and Sam's blatant pursuit is unsettling. She puts up a valiant effort in resisting him, but in time Sam wears her down. It's not an easy surrender for an obsessive-compulsive control freak like Diane, and she checks herself into a psychiatric hospital to try to work it all out. There she meets and falls in love with Dr. Frasier Crane, a man who is as neurotic and sexually repressed as she. In Frasier -- an equally effete snob -- Diane finds comfort in the familiar. When he proposes, they run off to Italy together, but Diane realizes that what she feels for Frasier isn't love, it's reassurance. Returning to Boston, she resumes her relationship with Sam. Theirs is a rocky reconciliation, one marked by five years of multiple proposals and breakups before the pair finally call it quits. Diane leaves Boston and pursues a career as a screenwriter. She'll translate her time at Cheers into an award-winning screenplay, and even return to her old stomping grounds to briefly rekindle her romance with Sam. But mostly, Diane will go on trying to find her place in the world.