In Memoriam: Suzanne Somers

Suzanne Somers
(October 16, 1946 – October 15, 2023)

Suzanne Somers was diagnosed with dyslexia during her youth and struggled academically due to her parents’ tumultuous relationship and her father’s abusive behavior. Despite these challenges, she excelled in the arts and actively participated in her school’s theater program. Although she initially received a music scholarship to college, her plans changed when she became pregnant six months into her studies. As a single mother, she turned to modeling in San Francisco to support herself and her son before transitioning to acting in the late 1960s. Her breakthrough came with a role in the Steve McQueen film “Bullitt,” but it was her appearance as the blonde driving the white Thunderbird in George Lucas’s “American Graffiti” in 1973 that brought her into the spotlight.

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Throughout the 1970s, Somers made numerous television appearances, including on shows like “The Rockford Files,” “Magnum Force,” and “The Six Million Dollar Man.” However, her most iconic role came with “Three’s Company” on ABC from 1977 to 1984, where she portrayed the ditzy blonde alongside John Ritter and Joyce DeWitt.

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After advocating for herself regarding her compensation on “Three’s Company,” Somers was let go, leading her to explore new opportunities such as performing in Las Vegas, hosting a talk show, and venturing into entrepreneurship. She gained further fame in the 1990s as the spokesperson for the “ThighMaster” and became one of the top-selling brands on the Home Shopping Network. Additionally, she authored 27 books, including 14 New York Times bestsellers, and expanded her brand to include products ranging from jewelry to protein formulas.

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In the 1990s, Somers returned to network television with the show “Step by Step” on ABC’s TGIF lineup. The network also aired a biopic about her life titled “Keeping Secrets,” starring Somers herself.

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