Suzanne Somers, who passed away on October 15, 2023, at the age of 76, was more than just the star of “Three’s Company”. She was a versatile performer, a successful entrepreneur, a best-selling author, and a health advocate who fought breast cancer for over two decades.
From San Bruno to Hollywood
Somers was born on October 16, 1946, in San Bruno, California. She had a difficult childhood, as her father was an alcoholic and her mother struggled to support the family. She married her first husband, Bruce Somers, when she was 19 and gave birth to her only child, Bruce Jr., a year later. The couple divorced in 1968.
She began her acting career in the late 1960s, appearing in small roles in films and TV shows. She gained fame and popularity in 1977, when she landed the role of Chrissy Snow, the bubbly blonde roommate of Jack Tripper (John Ritter) and Janet Wood (Joyce DeWitt) on the hit sitcom “Three’s Company”. The show was based on the British comedy “Man About the House” and revolved around the hilarious misunderstandings and mishaps of three single friends living together in Santa Monica.
A Comedy Icon
Somers quickly became a household name and a sex symbol, thanks to her comedic timing and her trademark giggle. She also became a fashion trendsetter, with her signature feathered hairstyle and colorful outfits. She was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Comedy Series in 1981.
However, her success also brought some challenges. She had a contract dispute with the producers of “Three’s Company”, who refused to raise her salary to match that of Ritter. She was eventually fired from the show in 1981, after appearing only in one-minute segments via telephone for the fifth season. She later sued the producers for breach of contract and settled out of court.
She did not let this setback stop her from pursuing her career. She starred in her own sitcoms, such as “She’s the Sheriff” and “Step by Step”, as well as several TV movies and stage shows. She also launched her own line of products, such as the Thighmaster exercise device, the Somersize diet program, and various beauty and wellness products.
A Health Warrior
Somers faced another challenge in 2001, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She opted for alternative treatments instead of chemotherapy, such as hormone therapy and dietary supplements. She also underwent a controversial procedure called lipofilling, which used stem cells from her own fat to reconstruct her breast.
She wrote several books about her experience and her views on health and aging, such as “Knockout: Interviews with Doctors Who Are Curing Cancer–And How to Prevent Getting It in the First Place” and “Ageless: The Naked Truth About Bioidentical Hormones”. She also advocated for natural hormone replacement therapy and organic food.
She received criticism from some medical experts and celebrities for her unconventional choices and opinions, but she defended her decisions and said that she wanted to empower women to take charge of their own health.
A Loving Wife and Mother
Somers was married to her second husband, Alan Hamel, since 1977. They had a long and happy marriage, which they credited to their strong communication and their passion for each other. They often shared their intimate secrets and tips on their books and TV shows, such as “The Suzanne Somers Show” and “Suzanne Somers’ Breaking Through”.
She was also a devoted mother to her son Bruce Jr., who had some troubles with drugs and alcohol in his youth. She supported him through his recovery and helped him become a successful sound engineer. She was also a grandmother to his two children, Violet and Daisy.
A Legacy of Joy
Somers left behind a legacy of joy and laughter for millions of fans around the world. She was an inspiration to many people who admired her courage, resilience, creativity, and generosity. She touched many lives with her humor, her beauty, and her wisdom.
She once said: “I don’t want to be age appropriate; I want to be me.” And she was indeed herself until the end: a vibrant, radiant, and remarkable woman who lived a life well lived.