BACK ON THE LAUGH TRACK
It has been nine years (not to belabor a string of bad movies, including Frozen Assets, and a dud TV series, Good Advice) since Shelley Long left her five-year sitcom run as Diane Chambers—the nervous, cerebral barmaid on Cheers—to find film fame. But it took playing another small-screen character, perpetually sunny matriarch Carol Brady, for her to hit big-screen pay dirt in 1995’s The Brady Bunch Movie, a role she’s now reprising in A Very-Brady Sequel. “What a treat,” she says, “to play someone who is happy with her life.” Long, 47, makes the same claim about her own life in L.A., where she lives with her husband of 14 years, Bruce Tyson, an investment adviser, and their daughter Juliana, 11. She still keeps in touch with old castmates, who, like her, have stumbled at the box office (Woody Harrelson’s Kingpin) and enjoyed critical success (Rhea Perlman’s Matilda) since the Cheers bar closed in 1993. “We shared important parts of our lives together,” says Long, who spoke with Shelley Levitt from PEOPLE. “That’s always going to be a special bond.”
In light of the bumps you’ve hit on the way to a film career, do you ever regret your decision to leave Cheers?
I left to make movies. But I also felt I needed more time with my family. So I have absolutely no regrets. There are always going to be highs and lows in your career. Though I’d like it to be all just good, consistent work, we learn from the ups and downs.
What appeals to you about the Brady movies?
They allow you to laugh at those bumps in the road. And Carol Brady has a great sense of humor; she has fun, she’s sexy. And she’s not neurotic.
It seems you’ve helped inspire a Brady fashion boom.
I’ve walked into stores and thought I was in the Brady wardrobe room. The colors and designs, right down to the daisies, are all there. It’s hilarious.