Although Jean Kasem was a working film and TV actress in the '80s and '90s, she was always better known to the American public as the wife of radio icon Casey Kasem, whom she married in 1980. Born in New Hampshire, Jean Thompson lived in the United States throughout most of her childhood. In the early '60s, however, her father relocated the entire family to Guam, where he worked as a civil servant. Kasem briefly attended the University of Guam before marrying a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy at the age of 17. Over the next six years she worked odd jobs in the service industry at various military bases located in small islands throughout the Pacific Ocean. When the marriage ended after six years, Kasem, still in her early 20s, decided to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming an actress. She soon moved to Hollywood, where she studied acting, and before long began landing small roles on TV shows like "Strike Force" (ABC 1981-82), "Alice" (CBS 1976-85), and "Fantasy Island" (ABC 1977-1984). She also appeared in a tiny role in the blockbuster action comedy "Ghostbusters" (1984). Her big break came in 1984 when she landed the recurring role of Loretta Tortelli, the flighty, chipmunk-voiced new wife of Carla's ex-husband Nick (Dan Hedaya) on the classic sitcom "Cheers" (NBC 1982-1993). Kasem and Hedaya's roles were spun off into their own series "The Tortellis" (NBC 1987), but that show was cancelled after 13 episodes. Although Kasem continued to act sporadically throughout the '90s and 2000s, landing guest spots on sitcoms like "Hope and Gloria" (NBC 1995-96) and "Malcolm and Eddie" (UPN 1996-2000), her career never ascended beyond its late '80s peak, and in 1999 Kasem stopped acting altogether. During the last months of her husband's life, Jean Kasem was involved in a brutal legal battle with her stepchildren. Kasem's children from his first marriage claimed that Jean had moved her dying husband to a secret nursing facility to keep him away from his children, and sought to be named his legal caretakers during his remaining days. Even after Casey Kasem died on June 15, 2014, the intra-family feud continued, with Casey's children claiming that Jean Kasem moved her husband's body to an undisclosed location in what they claimed was an attempt to avoid a court-ordered autopsy.
Cast (Feature Film)
Misc. Crew (Feature Film)
Introduced the role of bubbly Loretta Tortelli on NBC's "Cheers"
Co-starred on "Cheers" spinoff "The Tortellis."