The Cheers & Frasier Wiki
Diane Chambers
Portrayer Shelley Long
First seen Give Me A Ring Sometime - Cheers
Last seen Don Juan In Hell - Part 2 - Frasier
Duration 1982-2001
Date of birth ?
Occupation Waitress
Family {{{Family}}}

Diane Chambers is a fictional character portrayed by Shelley Long on the American television show Cheers (1982–1987, 1993), and on several episodes of the subsequent Cheers spin-off Frasier.[2] Diane is introduced in the Cheers pilot episode, when her fiancé Sumner Sloane leaves her waiting at the bar of the show's title while he ostensibly goes back to recover his wedding ring from his ex-wife. When he never returns, she realizes she's been jilted and takes a job waitressing at Cheers to try to rebuild her life. [3]

Diane appeared as a main character for 123 episodes of Cheers between 1982-1987, with a guest appearance in the finale, "One for the Road." She also made four guest appearances on Frasier. Diane was number 33 on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Characters list and Shelley Long has received one Emmy and two Golden Globes for her work in the series.

Character background[]

Early life[]

Various episodes of Cheers establish that Diane is the only child of a wealthy family. She had a friendly, if distant relationship with her eccentric mother Helen; her father, Spencer, died about ten years before her arrival at Cheers.[4] Her only real childhood companion was her cat, Elizabeth (named after Elizabeth Barrett Browning).

Diane spent much of her early adult life attending college (it is implied in various episodes that she goes to Boston University, while one episode mentioned she attended Bennington College where she would have completed her undergraduate degree), and studying a wide range of disciplines at the graduate level. She changed her major numerous times,[5] though she tended to focus on literature, social studies, and history. At one point, she claims to only be one credit away from getting a master's degree in any one of 37 different disciplines.

In the early 1980s, Diane had an affair with Sumner Sloan, one of her literature professors—he was the cad who dumped her by leaving her at Cheers' the night they were supposed to fly to Barbados and get married. Stranded at the bar, and unwilling to return to the life of a perpetual grad student, Diane took a job as a waitress at Cheers after admitting that she had no marketable skills and was unqualified for any other sort of work but has an excellent memory for drink orders, although it is also strongly implied that she stayed at Cheers due to her sexual attraction to Cheers owner/bartender Sam Malone.

The Cheers Years (1982-1987)[]

Though bright and witty, Diane Chambers was also often pretentious, snobbish and woefully lacking in street-smarts. Working at Cheers, she seemed amusingly out of place in comparison to the bar's general clientele and staff. Perhaps due to the stress of waitressing, Diane also suffered from an occasional nervous facial tic, and from obsessive-compulsive disorder. This is hinted at in various episodes; Diane demands that the pencils and pens in her pocket be in very precise order. In the episode "Power Play" it is revealed that Diane obsessively hoards stuffed animals.

Her most complex relationship at Cheers was with bartender Sam Malone. Diane found Sam's rugged and rather obvious charms by turns repulsive and magnetic. Sam was in turn both maddened and drawn by Diane's ambivalence toward him. Often at loggerheads during Season 1, by Season 2 they were a couple whose very rocky relationship was based more on mutual lust than any actual personal compatibility.

After a dramatically bad break up with Sam, Diane was admitted to Goldenbrook Psychiatric Hospital, between seasons 2 and 3, for extreme depression. It was there that she met Dr. Frasier Crane. She returned to working at the bar and, after a romance with Frasier (which she later admits was a "bit of fun," and that she strung him along), she left him at the altar in Italy at the end of Season 3.

After having a number of sexual affairs throughout Europe, Diane tried to atone for her behavior by working at a Boston area convent. However, she went back to Cheers again after a visit from Sam in the Season 4 opener. Although Sam and Diane said they were only friends, sexual tension ensued between them for much of Season 4, and Sam eventually proposed to Diane over the phone in the season finale.

Diane wanted to be proposed to in a more romantic fashion, and so she didn't give him an answer. Sam proposed again on a moonlit boat ride during the premiere of Season 5—only to have Diane say no because she thought that Sam was "on the rebound" from his break-up with Boston city councilwoman Janet Eldridge. Diane later changed her mind, but found that Sam was not willing to propose again. After she began to cry, Sam did propose, but Diane said no again, fearing that he was only reacting to emotional blackmail. Sam chased her out of Cheers, and Diane fled, causing her to fall and injure herself.

Diane pressed charges against Sam for assault and battery. However, in the courtroom, Sam proposed again, at the judge's behest, and Diane finally accepted. While Diane did not hold Sam to the proposal since it was made under duress, he affirmed that he still wanted to marry her.

Diane was written out of Cheers following Shelley Long's decision to leave the show after Season 5 in 1987. In the season finale, Diane was given the opportunity to finish a book she had started years ago ("Jocasta's Conundrum"), and to have it published. Ironically, this opportunity was engineered for her by none other than Sumner Sloan, the man who originally brought her to Cheers.

Diane wanted to marry Sam before writing the book, but Sam (who knew that Diane was going to resent him for keeping her from her dreams) talked her out of it. Diane received a hefty advance for her manuscript, and left Sam to complete it. Promising to be back in six months to marry him, Diane left Boston. Knowing Diane would not return, Sam told her, "Have a good life." The episode ended with a coda in which Sam imagined Diane and himself as an elderly married couple.

Return to Cheers (1993)[]

In a 1987 Cheers episode, Woody mentions in passing that the last the Cheers staff had heard, Diane had ended up in Hollywood writing for television. However, no other details were offered about Diane's actual fate until Long reprised her role in the Cheers series finale in 1993.

In this episode, it was revealed that Diane's novel never came together, but that she had rebounded and was a successful writer of a made-for-TV movie called "The Heart Held Hostage". The movie, loosely based on Diane's memories of the life of fellow Cheers waitress Carla Tortelli, won Diane a 1993 Cable ACE Award for best writing in a TV movie or mini-series.

After winning the award, Diane returned to Boston. Stopping at the bar for a visit, she told Sam that she was married with children. This prompted Sam to claim—falsely—that he was also married, to Rebecca Howe (Kirstie Alley).

Sam and Diane agreed to meet for dinner with their respective spouses. However, at the dinner Rebecca's actual boyfriend came by and proposed to her (and Rebecca accepted), and Diane's supposed "husband" was similarly whisked away by his gay partner. It turned out that both Sam and Diane were still single, and had been desperately trying to impress each other by showing how well they had rebounded since their break-up six years earlier.

Their covers blown, they found themselves alone together once more. The old romantic spark soon rekindled, and Diane and Sam made plans to run off to California together. However, while sitting in the plane waiting for takeoff they both had second thoughts and decided to once more call it off and say goodbye.

The Post-Cheers Years[]

Long also reprised the Chambers character in subsequent guest appearances on the Cheers spin-off series, Frasier. She is seen very briefly in a dream sequence in a second season episode, and also more extensively in a dream sequence in a ninth season two-parter called "Don Juan In Hell". The character is seen 'for real', as it were, in the February 1996 episode called "The Show Where Diane Comes Back". In this episode, it's revealed that Diane's TV writing career continued after the events of Cheers, and she worked her way to a staff writing position on the television series Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. She continued to be successful, living in a large Malibu beach house, and was in a seemingly stable two-year relationship. However, sometime in late 1995, she was fired from the TV show for accidentally setting star Jane Seymour's hair on fire while trying to show her how to cauterize a wound with a branding iron.

Several months after that incident, Diane had lost her beach house and her relationship came to an end. She then travelled to Seattle to supervise the production of a play she had written called "Rhapsody and Requiem". The play turned out to be a very-thinly disguised roman a clef about her time at Cheers, and her feelings for both Sam and Frasier, with her character as "Mary Anne". In the episode, Frasier and Diane reconcile over her jilting him at the altar.

Diane's subconscious attraction to Sam Malone is also seen in that episode; she is seen kissing and having an affair with the actor that plays Sam in her play based on her life at Cheers. In "Don Juan in Hell", an imaginary Diane is still obsessed with Sam and she is seen painting a portrait of him.


Diane Chambers is the antithesis of many of the the people at the bar, even to the likes of Frasier Crane. She is notably pretentious, melodramatic, sarcastic, pseudo-intellectual, snooty and preppy. She had an extensive scholarly background, mainly comprised of mastering the arts, such as philosophy, theology, visual arts, media, foreign languages, ancient history, literature, psychiatry, and other scientific disciplines. She even mentioned that she is merely one credit away from getting a masters in almost 37 different disciplines. Despite her extensive academic knowledge, she only appears more intelligent than she actually is and lacks any real world experiences.

As a loquacious person, she was renown for consistently going on pseudo-intellectual rants when amongst the bar staff and patrons. Her personal style and world view composes of mainly romanticist, preppy and pseudo-intellectual perspectives. She obsesses over the fine arts, the theater and regularly engages in intellectual discourse. However, most of her attempts to create intellectual camaraderie ends up being disastrous and often humorous, at her expense. Most of the time, she seems to be unaware of how her artistic endeavors, scholarly activities and preppy behavior alienates her from the rest of bar staff and patrons. Despite her ego getting cut down regularly by remarks and pranks form the bar patrons, she revealed that she actually looks forward to these jokes. She states that it makes her feel like a part of the gang.

Despite initially loathing the womanizing ways of someone like Sam Malone, she began to fall for him and obsesses over him. Despite their volatile romantic relationship, the both cannot stand to be without each other. For example, when Sam and Diane broke off their relationship, she had to be checked into a psychiatric institution for rehabilitation from her emotional breakdown. She even left her fiancé Frasier Crane at the altar, mentally scarring him to the point where even someone like Lilith was disgusted by it, because she still obsessed over Sam Malone.