Kirstie Alley, who died from cancer on Monday at age 71, leaves a legacy of iconic film and television roles — but in recent years, she largely made headlines for her outspoken political views, which she said led to her being "blackballed" by the industry that once embraced her.
The actress's political leanings made headlines in April 2016, when she took to Twitter to share her "formal endorsement" of then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. She had previously supported Democrat Barack Obama's presidential bids.
"HELLO BOYS! this is my formal endorsement of @realDonaldTrump & I'm a woman! (last I checked) And Rudy, U R amazing!" Alley wrote, a nod to Trump's attorney and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Alley later reversed her position, writing on Twitter in Oct. 2016: "I hate this election and I'm officially no longer endorsing either candidate."
Later she flipped her stance again, saying that she checked Trump's name on the ballot in both the 2016 and 2020 elections.
"I'm voting for @realDonaldTrump because he's NOT a politician. I voted for him 4 years ago for this reason and shall vote for him again for this reason. He gets things done quickly and he will turn the economy around quickly. There you have it folks there you have it," she wrote in Oct. 2020.
Her support of Trump has led to disagreements with other celebrities. In 2019, she sparred with Bette Midler after the singer and actress shared a photo taken from a Trump campaign rally and expressed her surprise at seeing so many Black men in attendance.
"Look, there are African American men in this shot! How much did he pay them to be 'blackground'?" Midler wrote on Twitter, seemingly referencing the president's pattern of racist remarks and how that could reflect on 2020 election results.
"This is one of the most racist, degrading 'jokes' I've seen on Twitter & that's saying a lot," Alley wrote in response to the Tweet.
The actress went on to point out that while Midler has her own strong opinions about Trump and those who support him, that doesn't necessarily line up with reality.
"We get it Bette, you hate Trump & that's your right but to imply Black men have to be PAID to celebrate their OWN political views is pure and REAL racism. And 'BLACKGROUND'?? WTF??!!" she added.
As Alley's reputation grew aligned with Trump's, she at times appeared to mimic his rhetoric, in 2020 calling the speaker of the House "EVIL NANCY PELOSI" in a tweet. "Don't believe a word that comes out of this witche's [sic] mouth..and yes she gives witches a bad name," she wrote.
Alley's public support of Trump, she suggested, hurt her career.
She continued: "You can be cooking meth and sleeping with hookers, but as long as, apparently, you didn't vote for Trump... I feel like I'm in The Twilight Zone a bit, with the whole concept of it."
Trump, in response, called Alley "a great actress, loved by so many people, and a true original," adding that her support was "truly appreciated."
On Tuesday the former president paid tribute to the actress again, writing on his social media website Truth Social: "Kirstie was a fantastic person and a big supporter of America First & MAGA. She will be greatly missed!!!"