Shelley Long was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana. In 1967 as an undergraduate studying drama at Northwestern University, she decided to leave college to pursue a dual career in acting and modeling. Moving to Chicago, she became a member of the celebrated Second City Troupe, in addition to writing, producing and co-hosting a popular Chicago magazine program called, "Sorting It Out.” The show ran for three years on a local NBC station and won three Emmy Awards for Best Entertainment Show.
She met her second husband on a blind date in 1979 and were married in 1981. In 1982, she landed the role of Diane Chambers in the new NBC comedy series, "Cheers." She played the part for five years, winning an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series in 1983, winning Golden Globe Awards for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series in 1983, for Best Actress in a Comedy Series in 1985.