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‘Three’s Company’ star Suzanne Somers dies at 76

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Suzanne Somers, the effervescent blonde actress best known for playing Chrissy Snow on the TV show “Three’s Company” as well as for her business ventures, has died. She was 76 years old.

Somers suffered from breast cancer for more than 23 years and died Sunday morning, her family said in a statement provided by her longtime publicist, R. Couri Hay. Her husband Alan Hamel, son Bruce and other members of her immediate family were with her in Palm Springs, California.

“His family was gathered to celebrate his 77th birthday on October 16,” the statement said. “Instead, they will celebrate his extraordinary life and want to thank his millions of fans and followers who loved him dearly.”

In July, Somers shared on Instagram that her breast cancer had returned.

“Like any cancer patient, when you hear that dreaded “It’s back,” you get a pit in your stomach. Then I put on my combat gear and go to war,” she told Entertainment Tonight at the time. “It’s a familiar battlefield for me and I’m very tough.”

She was first diagnosed in 2000 and also suffered from skin cancer. She has faced backlash for her reliance on what she describes as an organic, chemical-free lifestyle to fight cancers. She has spoken out against the use of chemotherapy, in books and on platforms like “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” which drew criticism from the American Cancer Society.

Somers was born in 1946 in San Bruno, California, to a gardener father and a medical secretary mother. She began acting in the late 1960s, playing the blonde driving the white Thunderbird in George Lucas’ 1973 film “American Graffiti.” Her only line was saying the words “I love you” to the character of Richard Dreyfuss.

During her audition, Lucas simply asked her if she could drive. She later said the moment “changed her life forever.”

Somers would later stage a one-woman show on Broadway called “The Blonde in the Thunderbird,” which drew largely scathing reviews.

She appeared on numerous television shows in the 1970s, including “The Rockford Files,” “Magnum Force” and “The Six Million Dollar Man,” but her most famous role came with “Three’s Company,” which aired on ABC from 1977 to 1984. – although his participation ended in 1981.

In “Three’s Company,” she was the ditzy blonde opposite John Ritter and Joyce DeWitt in the roommate comedy. In 1980, after four seasons, she asked for a raise from $30,000 per episode to $150,000 per episode, which would have been comparable to what Ritter was receiving. Hamel, a former television producer, had encouraged this request.

THREE’S COMPANY – “Chrissy’s Date” – Air date: October 11, 1977. (ABC Photo Archive/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images)

“The response from the show was, ‘Who do you think you are?'” Somers told People in 2020. “They said, ‘John Ritter is the star.'”

She was quickly fired and her character was replaced by two different roommates for the remaining years of the series. This also led to a breakup with his co-stars; They did not speak for many years. Somers reconciled with Ritter before his death, and then with DeWitt on his online talk show.

But Somers used the hiatus to explore new avenues, including performing in Las Vegas, writing books, hosting a talk show and becoming an entrepreneur. In the 1990s, she also became a spokesperson for the “Thighmaster”.

Somers returned to network television in the 1990s, notably with “Step by Step”, which aired on ABC’s TGIF youth-oriented programming. The channel also aired a biopic of her life, starring her, called “Keeping Secrets.”


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