The featured photo is a screen grab from Suzanne Somer’s jive dance on Dancing With the Stars.
Last night, I heard the news that Suzanne Somers, a star of one of my favorite TV shows of all time, passed away just one day before she would have turned 77 years old. When I was growing up, I loved seeing her on Three’s Company, along with the late John Ritter and Joyce DeWitt. When she was famously fired for asking for a salary as high as Ritter’s, I continued watching. I think my favorite of the blonde roommates was Priscilla Barnes, who played Terri Alden. But it was Suzanne Somers who really helped make the show as famous popular as it was.
I’ve watched Three’s Company many times over the years. I have the box set on DVD, and I tend to pull it out when I need something funny and lightweight to take my mind off of something heavy and sad. I guess the main reason why Suzanne wasn’t my favorite of the blondes is because when the show started, her character as Chrissy Snow was different than it was when she was fired. She started off naive and sweet, not stupid. Then she changed, and adopted the annoying snorting laugh and wide eyed obvious dimwittedness. I liked her much better when she was innocent, sweet, and naive, rather than obviously dumb. Maybe it’s because I’m a blonde myself, and I don’t like the “dumb blonde” stereotypes.
I never regularly watched Suzanne Somers on her other shows, like Step by Step and She’s the Sheriff. In fact, I don’t think I ever saw an episode of Step by Step until last week, when we were in Brno, in the Czech Republic. In Brno, they still show reruns of Step by Step during prime time, and Bill and I watched a few episodes dubbed into Czech… which means we understood very little of what was going on. I still think it’s kind of eerie that a week ago, I was watching Suzanne on TV, not realizing that she’d be dead now.
I do remember seeing Suzanne on infomercials a lot in the 1990s, as she was selling her Thighmaster device. Evidently, she made a lot of money marketing that thing on late night TV. I also remember seeing her made for TV movie about her life, and how she grew up with an alcoholic father who berated her. I could really relate to her story, because I had a father like that, too. My dad probably wasn’t as bad as hers was, though. I also read her book, too, about growing up with an alcoholic parent. I think of all of the things Suzanne did in her life, it was her book, Keeping Secrets, that resonated the most with me.
I remember hearing Suzanne Somers talk a lot about her strategies for beating breast cancer, which dogged her for over twenty years. I distinctly remember her talking about how she no longer ate sugar, as it’s “poison” to the body and promotes cancer. And below, she talks about how people are all full of toxins, and that’s why they get and stay fat after age 40.
Based on what I’ve read, Suzanne passed peacefully at her home, with her husband, Alan Hamel, and her son, Bruce Somers, Jr., at her side, along with other family members. While some people might think that 76 is not that old to be passing away, she was one day away from turning 77, and she has spent the past 23 years battling cancer. She must have been doing something right. On the other hand, I have an aunt who got breast cancer in 1986 and is still living… and I don’t think she did any drastic changes to her diet.
Anyway, I can’t claim to have been the greatest fan of Suzanne Somers’ work, but I do have many fond memories of watching her play Chrissy Snow on Three’s Company, which will always be one of my favorite shows from my childhood. And yes, I know it was not really an appropriate show for kids to be watching, but I had parents who didn’t supervise me very much or often. You can see where that kind of upbringing got me. Suzanne was a very accomplished and talented woman, and she had a lot of moxie. If she hadn’t asked for a raise on Three’s Company, who knows where she would have ended up.
My condolences to Suzanne’s friends, family, and fans… She was clearly a ray of sunshine to many people. She was a very accomplished person and a brilliant businesswoman. We could learn a lot from her.
As an Amazon Associate, I get a small commission from Amazon on sales made through my site. I’m including this link for the convenience of those who would like to read about Suzanne Somers’ experiences being raised by an alcoholic. I read the book years ago, and really related to it.