Suzanne Somers, the beloved actress who captivated countless viewers through her comedic performances on television series like "Three's Company" and "Step by Step," has passed away at the age of 76. Her passing was confirmed by her longtime publicist, R. Couri Hay, in a statement issued on Sunday, October 15, 2023.
A Long Battle with Breast Cancer
Since her initial diagnosis in 2001, Suzanne Somers has spent over 23 years fighting an aggressive form of breast cancer. In July of 2023, she announced that the cancer had returned and that she was starting chemotherapy again. On Instagram, she reflected, "This is not new ground for me. I'm a fighter who knows how to suit up."
Suzanne Somers died on October 15, 2023, in Palm Springs, CA at the age of 76.
Somers was an outspoken advocate for alternative and holistic medicine, and often shared her personal experiences and opinions on health and wellness. She wrote several books on topics such as bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, anti-aging, and natural remedies. She also launched her line of organic skincare and supplements.
Suzanne Somers was born on October 16, 1946, to a working-class Irish-American Catholic family in San Bruno, California. The former late actress was the third of four children.
Because of her alcoholic and violent father, Somers struggled with dyslexia and low self-esteem growing up. At 19, she wed Bruce Somers, and in 1965 she gave birth to their only child, Bruce Somers Jr. In 1968, they decided to divorce.
Inside Her Career
Somers began her acting career in the late 1960s and early 1970s, appearing in supporting roles in a variety of films and television shows. She became well-known after starring as the "Blonde in the white Thunderbird" in the 1973 film American Graffiti and making appearances on talk shows to promote her poetry collection.
Suzanne Marie Somers was an American actress, author, singer, entrepreneur, and advocate for health and wellness.
In 1976, she was cast as the iconic Chrissy Snow on the American adaptation of the British sitcom Man About the House, Three's Company.
To placate their conservative landlord, the show's protagonists, played by John Ritter, Joyce DeWitt, and Suzanne Somers, lied that their roommate Jack Tripper was gay. Somers's program went on to great success, and she became a comedic icon and sex icon in her own right.
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Controversy & Comeback
During the 1980 season of 'Three's Company,' Somers demanded a pay increase from $30,000 to $150,000 per episode in addition to 10% ownership of the show. Somers went on strike after the producers didn't meet her requests.
After the fifth season, she was let go, and Jenilee Harrison took over as Chrissy's cousin Cindy. After initially demanding $2 million in damages from ABC for contract violations, Somers eventually settled for $30,000.
For years, Somers had trouble finding work as a result of the public and professional reaction she received after her conduct. She began a new life as a Las Vegas performer in the 1980s and went on to write several best-sellers, including two autobiographies: 'Keeping Secrets' (1987), which told the story of her childhood abuse and her son's near-fatal accident, and 'After the Fall' (1998), which told the story of her rise and fall from fame.
Somers returned to television in 1991 on the family sitcom 'Step by Step,' costarring Patrick Duffy, in the role of Carol Foster Lambert. Somers's career was rejuvenated by the show, which ran for seven seasons until 1998. She was also a co-host for the years 1997–1999 on the hidden camera show Candid Camera.
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A Loving Family & a Lasting Legacy
Somers was married twice in her life. Her first marriage was to Bruce Somers, whom she wed when she was 19 years old. They had a son, Bruce Somers Jr., who is now a musician. They divorced in 1968.
Suzanne Somers and her second husband, Alan Hamel.
It was on the set of the 1969 game show "Anniversary Game" that she met her second husband, Alan Hamel. They tied the knot in 1977 and stayed together till her passing. Her business partner and manager was Hamel. Although the couple did not produce any offspring of their own, Somers did take on the role of stepmother to Hamel's two kids from a previous relationship.
According to her family, Somers was surrounded by love in her final days. She "took the world by storm," according to her son Bruce. In Alan's words, "She was still with us" as he kissed and talked to her right up until she passed away.
Friends and fans of Somers took to social media to express their condolences and celebrate her life, talent, and courage. Somers will be remembered as a TV icon who made millions of people laugh and smile, and as a lady who embraced every moment of her life with enthusiasm and poise.
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