The cast of Cheers looks different today

It's been 23 years since Sam Malone turned off the lights for the final time in the bar where everyone knows your name. The NBC sitcom Cheers ran from 1982 to 1993, and was one of the biggest critical and ratings success stories of its era. Emmy Award voters nominated it for Outstanding Comedy Series in all 11 of its seasons, and Cheers ultimately won 28 Emmys against 179 total nominations. More than 40 million households watched the show's finale. Still, the show's most impressive accomplishment might be the way its stars defied typecasting and have continued to find work in Hollywood. While you might not immediately recognize their faces today, you've certainly seen them over the years. 

Ted Danson - Sam Malone

If you were a boy in the '80s, you dreamed of being Bo Jackson, Magic Johnson, Prince, or Sam Malone. Okay, maybe that last one is an exaggeration, but Malone was still the TV king of dry one-liners, a perfectly timed raised eyebrow, and romancing the ladies—and Ted Danson was also pretty cool, receiving an Emmy nomination every season he played Sam Malone on Cheers and winning two of them along the way.

After Cheers, Danson made guest appearances as Malone on Frasier and The Simpsons, but went on to compete with Woody Harrelson for the most diverse career among former cast members. He starred in the sitcom Becker for six seasons, played himself in 13 episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm, got another Emmy nod for his ruthless CEO character on Damages, portrayed a hilarious pot-smoking magazine editor on Bored to Death, and appears on CSI: Cyber as D.B. Russell, a character he originated on CSI. Through all that, he's also popped up in numerous other film and television roles, and has been married to Last Man on Earth's Mary Steenburgen since 1995.

Rhea Perlman - Carla Tortelli

Rhea Perlman won four Emmy awards for playing cocktail waitress Carla Tortelli, a character as brashly funny as she was fertile (by series' end, she had eight children). Since Cheers ended, Perlman has worked consistently as a guest star on television shows, including many featuring her former castmates, and appeared in several movies, including There Goes the Neighborhood, Sunset Park, and Matilda (the last of which co-starred her husband, Danny DeVito). Most recently, Perlman has played recurring character Annette Castellano on Hulu's The Mindy Project.

John Ratzenberger - Cliff Clavin

Is Cliff Clavin or Newman from Seinfeld your favorite sitcom postal employee? While Newman has a very high laughs-per-minute average, you can't ignore Clavin's ability to consistently bring annoying factoids and hapless humor to every episode of Cheers. According to his website, Ratzenberger originally read for the role of Norm, but sensed he wouldn't get it and suggested that Cheers should have a bar know-it-all character. The producers agreed, and Cliff was born.

While Ratzenberger still works consistently as a character actor, you haven't seen his face as often as his former castmates. You've certainly heard him, though: he's the only voice actor to appear in every Pixar film, most recently as Bill the Crab in Finding Dory.

George Wendt - Norm Peterson

Danson was the star of Cheers, Woody Harrelson was the surprise breakout, Kirstie Alley and Shelley Long were the crushes, and Kelsey Grammer played his character the longest, going on to star in Frasier for another 11 seasons after Cheers went off the air. But no one was more beloved during Cheers' run than George Wendt as Norm Peterson. The good-humored barfly always sat on the same stool and always delivered the perfect punchline, often placing himself as the butt of the joke. Whenever he entered Cheers, the patrons all yelled "Norm!," a reference that endures today. Wendt guest-starred as a character named Yoder on Hot in Cleveland. When his character entered an Amish bar, everyone yelled "Yoder!"

Wendt's acting resume since Cheers is longer than a master mixologist's drink menu. In addition to his ill-fated sitcom The George Wendt Show, he's appeared in everything from Michael Jackson's "Black or White" video to Saturday Night Live's recurring "Da Bears" sketch to Larry the Cable Guy's Christmas Spectacular and more-recent hipster comedy shows like Portlandia and Childrens Hospital.

Kelsey Grammer - Dr. Frasier Crane

Dr. Frasier Crane was Cheers' overly educated comedic foil, adding an intellectual (and often uninvited) perspective to the show's proudly blue-collar environment. While Crane was clearly a highly intelligent psychiatrist, the other bar patrons loved putting him down as a nerd…although he eventually became one of the gang. Producers originally hired Kelsey Grammer to appear in six-episode arc, but fans loved Frasier so much that Grammer went on to portray the idiosyncratic doctor for two decades. Frasier became one of the most popular spinoffs of all time, running for 11 seasons and winning 37 Emmy Awards against 108 nominations.

Grammer has appeared often on Broadway since Frasier ended and starred in four more TV series that haven't been as successful: Kelsey Grammer Presents: The Sketch Show, Back to You, Hank, and Boss. You can still hear him as the voice of Sideshow Bob on The Simpsons. Recently, he contributed a voice cameo to Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and made a brief appearance in Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising.

Woody Harrelson - Woody Boyd

The passing of actor Nicholas Colasanto, who played Sam Malone's original bartender and former baseball coach, saddened Cheers fans while leaving an opening in the cast. That void was filled by young actor Woody Harrelson, who joined the cast as the good-hearted but naïve Woody Boyd, a small-town hayseed trying to make it in Boston. The part earned the actor five Emmy nominations, one win, and made him a star.

Harrelson rode his Cheers fame into diverse roles in blockbuster movies such as White Men Can't Jump, Indecent Proposal, Natural Born Killers, Zombieland, The People vs. Larry Flynt, and The Messenger, the latter two of which earned him Oscar nominations. His more recent projects include HBO's first season of True Detective and the role of Haymitch Abernathy in The Hunger Games films.

Kirstie Alley - Rebecca Howe

Kirstie Alley replaced Shelley Long on Cheers as Sam Malone's main object of affection. Like Long's character before her, producers kept Rebecca Howe and Malone in a "will they or won't they" orbit for several seasons—but unlike Diane, Howe was a neurotic bar manager and wannabe social climber. She tried everything to make Cheers a more successful bar, usually while being undermined by her staff and regular customers.

Alley went on to star in the Look Who's Talking trilogy with John Travolta and in Veronica's Closet for three seasons. Her pseudo-reality series Fat Actress outlined her public struggles with her weight. More recently, she's been a fan favorite on season 15 of Dancing With the Stars, starred in one season of her TV Land sitcom Kirstie, and guest-starred on the Netflix series Flaked.

Shelley Long - Diane Chambers

Shelley Long rose to fame playing Diane Chambers, a Bennington College graduate who wanted everyone to know she was smarter than her cocktail waitress job would indicate. Long played the part perfectly, projecting her voice while reciting poetry that was lost on the bar patrons and occasionally becoming a bit unhinged when realizing her life wasn't what she dreamed it would be.

After five seasons on Cheers, Long left the show to pursue other work and spend more time with her family. She went on to appear in several movies and TV shows, including The Money Pit, The Brady Bunch Movie, Troop Beverly Hills, and later even revived Diane for an episode of Frasier. She's also been seen occasionally on Modern Family playing DeDe Pritchett.