It’s been nearly 30 years since the Cheers cast last gathered at their hometown bar. On camera, everything seemed perfect — the relationships and character plotlines all intertwined accordingly. But off camera, things on the sitcom weren’t always so smooth. And one character was killed off after the actor was overheard talking smack about someone on the show.
Radio DJ Jay Thomas was cast as Eddie LeBec on ‘Cheers’
Carla Tortelli’s (Rhea Perlman) personal life had its own subplot on the popular 1980s sitcom, and her story arc resulted in radio DJ Jay Thomas being cast as Carla’s husband, Eddie LeBec. Eddie was a professional hockey player with the Boston Bruins on the show, though when he started dating Carla, his game went south. With that, the two decided to break up before every game, which only added intrigue to their storyline.
Eventually, the writers decide that Carla and Eddie should wed. It was looking like Eddie might become a regular character on the show, since he was well-liked by the audience, and Carla’s relationship storyline was fitting in well with the show’s other arcs.
Eddie LeBec’s character was killed off after Perlman overheard Thomas talking about her
Though Eddie’s character was a good fit for the show, Jay Thomas landed himself in hot water after Perlman overheard him talking about what it was like to “kiss” her during his radio show. One fan called in and asked what it was like to be on Cheers, and Thomas went off about how horrible it was having to kiss Perlman. Since Perlman was listening, she immediately went to the producers and requested that Eddie be killed off.
Without a hitch, the writers listened. Thomas was fired from the show, and they quickly did away with him by having him get run over by a Zamboni. Yahoo reported that Cheers writer Ken Levine said the writers had to make sure none of the show’s fans were too disappointed when he died — so they made him a Polygamist who was living a secret double life.
The ‘Cheers’ cast didn’t always get along behind the scenes
Perlman and Thomas might have hit a sour note after he showed his true colors on the radio, but that wasn’t the only tense moment between cast members. It has long been known that Shelley King, who played Diane Chambers, didn’t get along with actors Kelsey Grammer or Ted Danson. Grammer and Danson played Dr. Frasier Crane and Sam Malone respectively, who were both major parts of Diane’s story arc.
Long reportedly wanted Grammer written out of the show, but the writers wouldn’t comply. Instead, Long departed at the end of the show’s fifth season, citing that she wanted to take on new roles in films rather than sticking with television. Still, there has always been an assumption that Grammer and Danson are the real reasons she left, seeing as how her movie career never took off.
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