Suzanne Somers, Iconic Actress and Fitness Guru, Dies at 76

Suzanne Somers

Suzanne Somers, the actress best known for her roles in TV comedies including “Three’s Company” and “Step by Step,” has died, her longtime publicist announced Sunday. She was 76 years old.

Suzanne Somers

A Long Battle with Breast Cancer

“Suzanne Somers passed away peacefully at home in the early morning hours of October 15th,” R. Couri Hay said in a statement. “She survived an aggressive form of breast cancer for over 23 years. Suzanne was surrounded by her loving husband Alan, her son Bruce, and her immediate family. Her family was gathered to celebrate her 77th birthday on October 16th. Instead, they will celebrate her extraordinary life, and want to thank her millions of fans and followers who loved her dearly.”

A private family burial will take place this week, Hay said, and a memorial will be held next month.

Somers was first diagnosed with the disease in 2001 and revealed it in an interview with Larry King. In July, she announced a recurrence of breast cancer on Instagram.

“Since I have been taking time off from work, many of you have asked for more details about my health. As you know, I had breast cancer two decades ago, and every now and then it pops up again, and I continue to bat it down,” she wrote. “This is not new territory for me. I know how to put on my battle gear and I’m a fighter.”

A Star on the Small Screen

Born Suzanne Marie Mahoney on Oct. 16, 1946, in San Bruno, California, Somers got her acting start in the late ’60s and early ’70s with small roles and bit parts in films like the 1968 Steve McQueen action classic “Bullitt,” and Clint Eastwood’s “Magnum Force” in 1973. That same year, she also had a brief but memorable appearance in the George Lucas-directed “American Graffiti,” credited as “Blonde in T-Bird” who silently mouths the words “I love you” to star Richard Dreyfuss before driving away.

Somers also appeared throughout the 1970s on hit TV shows including “The Rockford Files,” “One Day at a Time,” “The Six Million Dollar Man,” “The Love Boat” and “Starsky & Hutch.” However, her big break came when she was cast as the ditzy Chrissy Snow on the ABC sitcom “Three’s Company” opposite Joyce DeWitt and the late John Ritter. The series, based on the British sitcom “Man About the House,” revolved around the antics of three single roommates – Somers’ Chrissy, Ritter’s Jack Tripper and DeWitt’s Janet Wood – living together platonically.

“Three’s Company” was a hit, running for eight seasons between 1977 and 1984 and spawning several spinoff series. It also made Somers a sex symbol and household name.

A Controversial Exit and a Comeback

Before the show’s fifth season, Somers famously demanded a raise from $30,000 an episode to $150,000, equal to what male co-star John Ritter reportedly was making then. When producers refused, Somers claimed health issues and declined to appear in two show episodes. Despite her popularity, her role was drastically reduced for the remainder of the season and she was fired when the season ended in 1981. Somers sued the show’s producers for $2 million in response but received only a small fraction of what she asked.

Widely criticized in the popular press for her “Three’s Company” demands, Somers found it difficult for several years to secure acting work other than an occasional TV movie. She also starred on the short-lived, critically drubbed syndicated sitcom “She’s the Sheriff” from 1987 to 1989.

However, Somers made a comeback in the early ’90s as both an actress and a fitness guru. She landed another sitcom role as Carol Foster Lambert on ABC’s “Step by Step,” which ran for seven seasons from 1991 to 1998. She also became one of TV’s most iconic fitness pitchwomen with her Thighmaster infomercials that aired frequently throughout the decade.

A Legacy of Laughter and Wellness

Somers continued to work as an actress, author, entrepreneur and health advocate in the later years of her life. She appeared on several reality shows such as “Dancing with the Stars,” “Celebrity Wife Swap” and “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.” She also wrote over 25 books on topics ranging from diet, aging, beauty and sexuality. She launched her own line of organic skincare products called Suzanne Organics and hosted a weekly online talk show called “Suzanne Somers Breaking Through.”

Somers was married twice: first to Bruce Somers from 1965 to 1977, with whom she had her only child, Bruce Jr., and then to Alan Hamel since 1977. She also had two stepchildren from Hamel’s previous marriage.

Somers was widely admired for her humor, resilience and positivity. She received many awards and honors for her work, including a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2003. She was also a vocal supporter of various charities and causes, such as the American Cancer Society, the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the Environmental Working Group.

Somers is survived by her husband, her son, her stepchildren, her grandchildren and her great-grandchildren.

By Kane Wilson

Kane Wilson, founder of this news website, is a seasoned news editor renowned for his analytical skills and meticulous approach to storytelling. His journey in journalism began as a local reporter, and he quickly climbed the ranks due to his talent for unearthing compelling stories. Kane completed his Master’s degree in Media Studies from Northwestern University and spent several years in broadcast journalism prior to co-founding this platform. His dedication to delivering unbiased news and ability to present complex issues in an easily digestible format make him an influential voice in the industry.

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