Who Were Kirstie Alley's Parents? A Resurfaced Interview About Them Went Viral

"I don’t think my upbringing was good. My mom and I had a rough relationship."

Jennifer Tisdale - Author

Apr. 25 2024, Published 1:36 p.m. ET

Kirstie Alley visits 'Extra' at their New York studios at H&M in Times Square on Jan. 5, 2016
Source: Getty Images

Kirstie Alley

There is an old saying that has been passed down from generation to generation for as long as people have been wearing clothes. (There is no need to fact-check us on this; it's definitely been around for a while.) For centuries, parents have been telling their children to make sure they are wearing clean underwear in case they get into an accident. That is not a double entendre; they meant an accident of the dangerous variety.

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It's unclear what the logic here is, but if we had to guess, this has more to do with the parents than the children. They wouldn't want a medical professional to think their kids are not taken care of. Unfortunately, someone forgot to say this back to the parents, and, in particular, the people who raised actor Kirstie Alley. In a viral video, she is describing what they were wearing the night her mother was killed. And while that's devastating, the choices made cannot be ignored. Let's get into it.

 Kirstie Alley attends Showtime's TCA Press Tour party at Universal Studios Jan. 12, 2005
Source: Getty Images

Kirstie Alley

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Who were Kirstie Alley's parents?

Kirstie was born in Wichita, Kans., on Jan. 21, 1951, to Robert and Lillian Alley. Her parents were middle-class; Robert owned a lumber company while Lillian was a homemaker.

"I don’t think my upbringing was good. My mom and I had a rough relationship," Kirstie told Emmys.com in 2013 while promoting her show Kirstie. "[The executive producer] put elements of that into the show. Cloris Leachman plays my mother, and she’s just an a--hole to me! [Laughs]."

It seems she had some kinder things to say about her dad. In a 2020 Twitter/X post wishing him a happy birthday, she called him her "hero" and the "best man I've known," describing him as a "veteran, generous, smart, kind, hardworking, ethical, fair, just funny, happy, and rare." Robert passed away in April 2023, four months after Kirstie died of colon cancer in December 2022.

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An old interview of Kirstie Alley talking about her parents went viral.

Twitter user Kristi Yamaguccimane unearthed an old Barbara Walters interview with Kirstie, where she goes into detail about the night her parents got into a car accident that killed her mother. The clip begins with Kirstie recalling how she arrived at the hospital after said accident. Her sister was already in the waiting room, and the two began to sob uncontrollably. At some point, Kirstie asked where her parents were headed. This is when things get uncomfortable.

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Kirstie's sister said their parents were headed to a Halloween party. In what can only be described as a moment of gallows humor, Kirstie felt compelled to ask what they were dressed as. (Realizing how absurd that is, she laughed during the interview and said, "Why would you ask this?" We assume it was to break up some of the stress and tension.) They were dressed as the odd couple, which Kirstie thought was a reference to the popular 1968 movie of the same name that starred Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon.

In the movie, Walter and Jack's characters are best friends who decide to move in together. However, they couldn't be more opposite. Obviously hijinks ensued. There is nothing memorable about the way either of them dressed, so it makes sense that Kirstie would be confused. Unfortunately her parents were not paying homage to the film. "Mom was a Black girl and dad was a Ku Klux Klan member," explained Kirstie's sister. According to Kirstie, everyone started laughing, and this was the "greatest tribute you could give her mother."

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Kirstie Alley's parents were hit by a drunk driver in 1981.

In April 2011, Cherrie Glymph spoke with the National Enquirer about the night she killed Kirstie's mother and severely injured her father. It happened on Oct. 23, 1981, when Glymph was 27 years old. "I shouldn't have been driving that night. I had a lot of things on my mind, and I was intoxicated," she told the outlet. "I was going through a divorce. I stopped by a local club to get something to eat and I had a few drinks."

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It must have been more than a few drinks because Glymph blacked out and had no recollection of hitting the back of Kirstie's parents' car, while trying to avoid another accident. "I was told later that the other car spun out and rolled over several times, ejecting the female passenger," said Glymph. When she woke up, Glymph saw a body on the road fully covered by a sheet. The driver had been taken to the hospital. She was never told who she hit.

Glymph received a mere six months of jail time and another six months in an alcohol rehabilitation facility. While in rehab, she wrote an anonymous letter to Kirstie's father but never sent it. When Kirstie passed away in December 2022, Glymph (now White) told the New York Post that she was sending "nothing but peace, and prayers for her family."

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