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Suzanne Somers, Star of ‘Three’s Company’ and ‘Step by Step,’ Passes Away at Age 76

Suzanne Somers, Star of 'Three's Company' and 'Step by Step,' Passes Away at Age 76

Suzanne Somers, who rose to fame through her roles in the popular TV series “Three’s Company” and “Step by Step,” and later became a successful health and fitness advocate and author, passed away on Sunday in Palm Springs, California. She was 76.

According to a statement from her long-time publicist R. Couri Hay, Suzanne Somers peacefully passed away at her home in the early hours of October 15th. She had bravely battled an aggressive form of breast cancer for over 23 years. At the time of her passing, Suzanne was surrounded by her devoted husband Alan, her son Bruce, and her immediate family. Her family had initially gathered to celebrate her 77th birthday on October 16th, but instead, they celebrated her remarkable life and expressed gratitude to her millions of adoring fans and followers.

Suzanne Somers initially garnered attention with a memorable but brief appearance on the big screen, where she played the nameless beauty in a white Thunderbird in George Lucas’ 1973 hit comedy-drama “American Graffiti.” Following this, she took on various small roles in both television and film. However, her breakthrough moment came in 1977 when she was cast as one of the female leads in the successful ABC comedy series “Three’s Company.” The show, based on a British series, featured Suzanne as Chrissy Snow, the quintessential “dumb blonde,” sharing an apartment with the smarter and more level-headed Janet Wood. The series, also starring John Ritter, became a national hit, ranking third in the ratings during its first full season in 1977-78.

“Three’s Company” entered the television scene during a period known as the ‘jiggle era,’ marked by shows like “Charlie’s Angels.” It was the medium’s response to the sexual revolution and the concept of single life. Although the show’s content was not political, it was the first sitcom to address the sexual implications and challenges of co-ed living, which was still somewhat controversial in 1977.

The show, known for its constant discussion of sex, remained a top-rated program through its 1980 season, yet it faced business conflicts at the beginning of the fifth season. Suzanne Somers demanded a significant increase in her salary and a share of the show’s profits, leading to disputes with the producers. Ultimately, her role was reduced to brief, separate scenes, and she was written out of the show. She was replaced by other characters.

Following “Three’s Company,” Suzanne Somers ventured into a singing career in Las Vegas and starred in the syndicated sitcom “She’s the Sheriff” for two seasons. In 1991, she returned to ABC with a new sitcom, “Step By Step,” where she acted alongside Patrick Duffy of “Dallas” fame. The show followed a traditional sitcom formula, revolving around a divorced contractor and a widowed beauty salon owner who blend their two families, each with four children, under one roof. “Step By Step” lasted for eight seasons, moving from ABC to conclude its run on CBS in 1997-98.

By this time, Suzanne Somers had amassed a substantial fortune and developed a multi-million-dollar business empire, primarily through her promotion of the ThighMaster on television infomercials. This fitness device, which she began using during her time on “Step By Step,” became widely recognized, and she served as its prominent spokesperson. Suzanne and her husband, Alan Hamel, took over full ownership of the ThighMaster and a related fitness product called the ButtMaster after buying out their struggling partners. In a 2022 interview on the “Hollywood Raw” podcast, it was estimated that she had earned approximately $300 million from the sale of the original equipment alone.

Written By

Viola Rowland, an accomplished author at Bee Bumble Entertainment Magazine, blends her love for entertainment with her gift for storytelling. With a knack for capturing the essence of pop culture phenomena, Viola's engaging articles provide readers with fresh insights into the world of entertainment, making her a standout contributor to the magazine.

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