Dating Sam Malone had quite an effect on women, and so did acting with Ted Danson and company on Cheers. Here are a half dozen actresses, unknown at the time, who played characters Sam lusted after on the show and who later went on to star in other prime-time television series.
Julia Duffy (Newhart, Designing Women), who was considered for Shelley Long’s role, starred as the brainy friend of Diane’s who pursued Sam in 1982.
Markie Post (Night Court, Hearts Afire), played another close chum of Diane’s; she flirted with Sam during a 1983 dinner party.
Alsion Laplaca (Duet, Stat, The Jackie Thomas Show), was a magazine reporter repulsed — the seduced — by Sam in 1985.
Chelsea Noble (Growing Pains), appeared as the voluptuous young daughter of one of Sam’s former flames in 1988.
Madolyn Smith Osborne (Class of ’96), guest-starred as a sexxy psychiatric colleague of Frasier and Lilith’s; Sam feigned impotence to make her aquaintance in 1989.
Valerie Mahaffey (Northern Exposure, The Powers That Be), as the daughter of upstairs restaurateur John Allen Hill, dated Sam as an act if rebellion against Dad in 1991.
Sam’s career-boosting karma was also catching: In 1989, Norm was chased by his secretary — Cynthia Stevenson, who then went on to play Bob Newhart’s daughter on Bob.