A beloved sitcom icon
Suzanne Somers, who rose to fame as the bubbly blonde Chrissy Snow on the hit comedy series Three’s Company, has died at the age of 76. Her publicist confirmed that she passed away peacefully at her home on October 15, the day before her birthday, after living with breast cancer for more than 20 years.
Somers was a popular and versatile entertainer, who also starred in the family sitcom Step By Step, competed on Dancing with the Stars, wrote several self-help books, and launched her own health and beauty product line. She was known for her upbeat personality, her advocacy for alternative medicine, and her candidness about her personal life.
A breakthrough role in Three’s Company
Somers’ career took off when she landed the role of Chrissy Snow, a naive and ditzy secretary who shared an apartment with two male roommates, played by John Ritter and Joyce DeWitt. The show was based on the British sitcom Man About The House and ran for eight seasons from 1977 to 1984.
Three’s Company was a ratings success and a cultural phenomenon, attracting millions of viewers with its slapstick humor, sexual innuendo, and risque situations. Somers received a Golden Globe nomination for her performance and became a sex symbol in the late 1970s.
However, Somers’ stint on the show was cut short after she demanded a significant pay raise and equal billing with Ritter. She was fired after the fifth season and replaced by Jenilee Harrison as Chrissy’s cousin Cindy. Somers later sued the producers for breach of contract and settled out of court.
A comeback in Step By Step
After leaving Three’s Company, Somers struggled to find steady work in Hollywood. She appeared in several TV movies and guest roles, but none of them matched the popularity of her previous show. She also faced personal challenges, such as a divorce from her first husband Bruce Somers, a custody battle over their son Bruce Jr., and a diagnosis of breast cancer in 2000.
Somers made a comeback in 1991 when she starred in another sitcom, Step By Step, alongside Patrick Duffy. The show followed the blended family of two single parents who married after a whirlwind romance. Somers played Carol Foster Lambert, a beautician and mother of three daughters. The show ran for seven seasons and was part of ABC’s TGIF lineup.
Step By Step gave Somers a chance to showcase her comedic skills and chemistry with Duffy. She also sang the theme song of the show with him. The show was well-received by critics and audiences and became one of the longest-running family sitcoms of the 1990s.
A legacy of laughter and love
Somers’ death has sparked an outpouring of tributes from fans and celebrities who admired her work and personality. Many of them praised her for being a trailblazer for women in comedy, a pioneer in wellness, and a loving wife and mother.
Somers was married to Alan Hamel, a Canadian producer and host, since 1977. They had one of the longest-lasting marriages in Hollywood and were known for their affectionate and playful relationship. They often appeared together on TV shows, podcasts, and social media platforms. They also collaborated on several business ventures, such as Somers’ product line.
Somers is survived by her husband, her son Bruce Jr., her stepchildren Stephen and Leslie, and several grandchildren. Her family said they will celebrate her extraordinary life and thank her millions of fans who loved her dearly.
Somers’ final Instagram post was a photo of her smiling with Hamel on October 14. She wrote: “I love this man so much. He is my everything.”