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Suzanne Somers, an iconic figure in the world of entertainment, touched the hearts of millions through her multifaceted career and enduring charm. Just one day before her 77th birthday, the world bade farewell to this remarkable individual.

While her passing marks the end of a remarkable era in entertainment, her legacy lives on through the indelible imprint she left on the industry and the lives she touched.

Suzanne Somers biography

Suzanne Somers smiling

Suzanne Marie Somers (October 16, 1946 – October 15, 2023) was an American actress, author, singer, businesswoman and advocate for health and mental well-being.

Somers, who was born in San Bruno, California, had a challenging early life. She was the third of four children in a working-class Irish-American Catholic family. Her mother, Marion Elizabeth Turner, worked as a medical secretary, while her father, Francis Somers, was a labourer and gardener. Her father struggled with alcoholism and abusive behaviour, which created a difficult home environment. Somers often lived in fear of her father’s violent outbursts. Her childhood was marked by personal struggles as well. She battled with bedwetting until the age of 12, which only worsened her relationship with her father. Despite these challenges,

She attended Mercy High School in Burlingame, California. However, her academic performance suffered due to dyslexia and her father’s disruptive behaviour, often leading her to doze off during class. Despite these setbacks, Somers showcased her talent by taking on the lead role in a production of H.M.S. Pinafore at school. She was, however, expelled at the age of 14 for writing inappropriate notes to a boy.

At the age of 17, her father’s abusive behaviour escalated to the point where he tore her prom dress and belittled her. She responded by defending herself, hitting him with a tennis racket. In 1964, Somers graduated from Capuchino High School in San Bruno, California. During her time there, she won the “Best Doll Award” for her role in the senior musical, “Guys and Dolls”, and played a role in organising her class’s senior ball.

After graduating from high school, she briefly attended Lone Mountain College, an institution affiliated with the Catholic Society of the Sacred Heart. However, she withdrew in 1965 after discovering she was pregnant. At the age of 19, she married the father of her child, Bruce Somers.

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Suzanne Somers career

Suzanne Somers showing of her Hollywood Walk of Fame star

Somers embarked on her acting career in the late 1960s and early 1970s, taking on roles and making appearances on various talk shows, where she promoted her book of poetry and her bit parts in movies. During that period, she got a notable role as the “Blonde in the white Thunderbird” in American Graffiti. Her growing recognition led to appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.

In the early 1970s, she featured in an episode of the American version of the sitcom Lotsa Luck, which was based on the British sitcom, On the Buses. She also had a role as a “pool girl” in Magnum Force in 1973 and appeared in The Rockford Files in 1974. In 1977, she played a passenger on the first episode of The Love Boat and made a guest appearance in a 1976 episode of One Day at a Time. She even appeared as a celebrity panellist on Match Game and participated with her husband, Alan Hamel, on Tattletales.

Somers’ career took a significant turn when she was cast in the ABC sitcom, Three’s Company, in the late 1970s. This series, based on the British sitcom, Man About the House, revolved around two single women living with a man who pretended to be gay to bypass the landlord’s no-men policy. Somers portrayed Chrissy Snow, a character embodying many blonde stereotypes and working as an office secretary. Initially, she earned $3,500 per week from the show.

The sitcom quickly became a massive success in the Nielsen ratings, even leading to a spin-off series, The Ropers, which was loosely based on the British sitcom, George and Mildred. Somers’ role in Three’s Company was pivotal to the show’s popularity.

However, during the show’s fifth season in late 1980, Somers demanded a substantial salary increase, from $30,000 to $150,000 per episode, and sought 10 per cent of the show’s profits, as inspired by her husband, Alan Hamel. When ABC offered only a $5,000 per episode raise, Somers refused to appear in the second and fourth episodes, citing various excuses, including a broken rib. Her role in the series was subsequently reduced to just 60 seconds per episode and ABC eventually terminated her contract.

This led to a legal battle as Somers sued the network for $2 million but an arbitrator ruled in favour of ABC, awarding her only $30,000 for a single missed episode for which she had not been paid. Future rulings continued to favour the network and producers. Somers claimed that she was let go for advocating equal pay with popular male television stars.

In addition, Somers made headlines with her appearances in Playboy magazine. Somers posed for Playboy magazine in two separate pictorials, in 1980 and 1984. Her first set of nude photos was taken in 1970 by Stan Malinowski but she initially declined to pose nude for Playboy in 1971. In 1980, during an appearance on The Tonight Show, she denied ever posing nude, which led Playboy to publish the 1970 photos without her permission. Her original reason for posing nude was to cover medical bills related to her son’s car accident.

Somers sued Playboy and settled for $50,000, with a significant portion donated to charity. In 1984, she posed nude for Playboy once more to regain her popularity after a contract dispute related to Three’s Company. This time, she insisted on having more control over the photos. Her son, who had reservations initially, chose to view the second pictorial.

In 2012, Somers launched an online talk show named Suzanne Somers Breaking Through. Notably, she reunited with her former Three’s Company co-star, Joyce DeWitt, in three of the show’s episodes after not having seen or spoken to each other for 31 years. They also briefly discussed their late co-star, John Ritter, and their last conversations with him.

In the same year, she hosted The Suzanne Show, a 13-episode series on the Lifetime Network, covering a range of health and fitness topics with various guests.

In 2015, Somers participated in the 20th season of Dancing with the Stars alongside professional dancer, Tony Dovolani. The duo was, however, eliminated in the fifth week of the competition and finished in ninth place.

Additionally, in May and June 2015, Somers showcased her talents in a live performance, titled: Suzanne Sizzles, at the Westgate Las Vegas.

Suzanne Somers movies

Somers has made appearances in several television series and films, here are some:

Television

  • Love-Struck (1997)
  • Candid Camera (Co-host from 1997 to 2000)
  • No Laughing Matter (1998)
  • The Darklings (1999)

Films

  • Serial Mom (1994)
  • The Nutty Professor (1996)
  • Rusty: A Dog’s Tale (1998)
  • Say It Isn’t So (2001)

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Suzanne Somers

Somers was said to have a net worth of $100 million at the time of her demise, according to Celebrity Net Worth

Suzanne Somers family

Suzanne Somers hugging her husband

Somers first married Bruce Somers in 1965. Their union welcomed a son, Bruce Jr., in November 1965. Their marriage, however, ended in divorce in 1968.

Following her divorce, Somers began working as a prize model on The Anniversary Game, a game show hosted by Alan Hamel. Despite Alan Hamel’s existing marriage, they started dating, eventually leading to an affair that resulted in an abortion. However, their connection deepened and they decided to marry in 1977.

Somers and Alan Hamel acquired a house in Palm Springs, California, in 1977. This residence held a significant place in their lives but in 2021, they sold the house for £8.5 million.

Suzanne Somers age

Somers was born on October 16, 1946. She passed away at her home in Palm Springs, California, on October 15, 2023, just a day before her 77th birthday. Her breast cancer had returned earlier in the year, leading to her untimely demise.

Somers faced various health challenges during her life:

  • In her 20s, she experienced hyperplasia.
  • In her 30s, she dealt with skin cancer.
  • In April 2000, Somers received a diagnosis of stage II breast cancer and underwent a lumpectomy to remove the cancer, followed by radiation therapy.
  • In 2018, it was reported that she underwent an experimental stem-cell therapy aimed at regrowing the breast she had lost to cancer.
  • In 2020, Somers suffered a hip fracture when she jumped out of a private tram to her house.

Suzanne Somers Instagram

Suzanne Somers had an active social media presence on Instagram, with 265,000 followers before her demise.

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