Suzanne Somers: Actress Best Known for Her Role In the Sitcom “Three’s Company”

From a Washington Post obit by Anumita Kaur headlined “Suzanne Somers, ‘Three’s Company’ actress and fitness entrepreneur, dies at 76”:

Actress Suzanne Somers, best known for her role on the sitcom “Three’s Company,” died Sunday after a decades-long battle with cancer.

“Her family was gathered to celebrate her 77th birthday on October 16th,” Somers’s family said Sunday. “Instead, they will celebrate her extraordinary life, and want to thank her millions of fans and followers who loved her dearly.”

Her husband Alan Hamel, her son Bruce and other family members were with her when she died.

Somers in July posted on Instagram, letting her followers know about her ongoing battle with breast cancer. “As you know, I had breast cancer two decades ago, and every now and then it pops up again, and I continue to bat it down,” she said at the time. “This is not new territory for me. I know how to put on my battle gear and I’m a fighter.”

Somers was born in San Bruno, Calif. She appeared in minor on-screen roles throughout the 1970s, including a brief but memorable appearance in the film “American Graffiti” in 1973, where she silently mouthed “I love you” from the driver’s seat of a white Ford Thunderbird. But it was her portrayal of lighthearted character Chrissy Snow in “Three’s Company” that launched her into stardom.

The popular sitcom ran for eight seasons from 1977 through 1984, and followed the lives and misadventures of two women and one man living in California. She won a People’s Choice Award for her role as Snow in 1978 — but Somers’s time on the show ended abruptly after she asked for a raise, The Washington Post reported. Somers requested her pay increase from $30,000 per episode to $150,000 and asked for a portion of the show’s earnings. Producers were reluctant, and she was eventually fired. The show didn’t feature her former character for its remaining four years.

She later went on to star in the seven-season sitcom “Step by Step,” for which she again won a People’s Choice Award.

She also wrote two autobiographies. “Keeping Secrets” published in 1988 and detailed her troubled upbringing, including her father’s alleged alcoholism. Ten years later, she published “After the Fall: How I Picked Myself Up, Dusted Myself Off, and Started all Over Again,” which took readers behind the scenes during her time on set of “Three’s Company,” including her fight for a raise.

Despite her TV fame, in an interview in 2020, Somers said she was best known for her commercials for the ThighMaster, a fitness device she marketed in the 1990s.

In her later years, Somers built a brand promoting various alternative health products, including the controversial bioidentical hormone therapy. Her website sold a variety of supplements, which Somers promoted until her death.

Somers told Entrepreneur that after she lost her role on “Three’s Company,” she was determined to create her own destiny.

“I was suddenly kicked out on the streets, but I kept reinventing myself,” she told the magazine.

Somers said that she “decided not to feel sorry for myself.”

“My husband and I decided we wouldn’t work for anyone ever again,” she told Entrepreneur. “ … Was it unfair what happened to me at ABC? Yep. It was unfair, but life isn’t fair and you have to get over things and move forward.”

Anumita Kaur is a general assignment reporter for The Washington Post, where she covers breaking news and writes of-the-moment features. She has previously reported for the Los Angeles Times and Guam Pacific Daily News.

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