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Suzanne Somers, the Emmy-nominated actress and fitness guru, passed away on Sunday, October 15, 2023, at the age of 76. She had been battling breast cancer for over two decades and died peacefully at her home surrounded by her family.
Somers was best known for her roles in the popular sitcoms Three’s Company and Step by Step, as well as her infomercials for the Thighmaster and ButtMaster exercise equipment. She was also the author of several self-help books on topics such as wellness, weight loss, and aging.
Suzanne Somers Breakthrough Role in Three’s Company
Somers began her acting career in the late 1960s and early 1970s with small parts in TV shows such as The Love Boat and One Day at a Time. She rose to fame in 1977 when she landed the role of Chrissy Snow, a ditzy blonde roommate in the comedy series Three’s Company. She starred alongside John Ritter and Joyce DeWitt as they pretended to be a heterosexual couple to fool their landlord.
Somers received an Emmy nomination for her performance in 1979, and became a household name. However, she left the show in 1981 after a dispute over her salary. She claimed that she was paid much less than Ritter and DeWitt, and demanded a raise from $30,000 to $150,000 per episode. The producers refused and eventually replaced her with another actress.
A Comeback in Step-by-Step
After leaving Three’s Company, Suzanne Somers took a break from on-screen acting and pursued a career as an entertainer in Las Vegas. She also launched her own line of jewelry and skincare products. In 1991, she returned to TV with a lead role in Step by Step, a family sitcom that co-starred Patrick Duffy. She played Carol Foster, a divorced mother of three who married Frank Lambert (Duffy), a widowed father of three.
The show ran for seven seasons and was a hit among viewers. Somers and Duffy had a great chemistry on screen, and their characters dealt with various issues such as parenting, blended families, and romance. Somers also sang the theme song of the show, which was composed by Jesse Frederick.
A Fitness Empire and a Wellness Advocate
Somers was not only an actress but also a fitness icon. She appeared in numerous commercials for the Thighmaster and ButtMaster exercise devices, which promised to tone the lower body muscles. She also released several workout videos and books that promoted her fitness philosophy.
Somers was also an advocate for natural health and wellness. She wrote several books on topics such as bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, alternative medicine, organic food, and anti-aging. She claimed that these methods helped her cope with her breast cancer diagnosis in 2001, which she revealed in an interview with Larry King.
She underwent a lumpectomy and radiation therapy but refused chemotherapy. She also opted for a controversial procedure called cell-assisted lipotransfer, which used stem cells from her own fat to reconstruct her breast. She said that this procedure made her breasts look normal again.
A Loving Wife and Mother
Somers was married twice in her life. Her first marriage was to Bruce Somers, whom she wed in 1965 when she was 19 years old. They had a son named Bruce Jr., who was born in 1965. They divorced in 1968 after three years of marriage.
Her second marriage was to Alan Hamel, whom she met in 1969 when he was hosting a game show called Anniversary Game. They married in 1977 and remained together until her death. Hamel was also her business partner and manager. They had two children together: a son named Stephen (born in 1970) and a daughter named Leslie (born in 1974).
Somers was also a grandmother of six grandchildren: Violet (born in 2006), Daisy (born in 2008), Camelia (born in 2010), Beckett (born in 2012), Bruce III (born in 2014), and Rocco (born in 2016).
A Legacy of Laughter and Inspiration
Suzanne Somers will be remembered as a talented actress who brought laughter and joy to millions of fans around the world. She will also be remembered as a fitness pioneer who inspired many people to live healthier and happier lives. She will be missed by her family, friends, colleagues, and admirers.
A private family burial will be held for Somers next week, according to her publicist. A memorial service will be held in November to celebrate her extraordinary life.