SUZANNE SOMERS Biography - Actors and Actresses


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Name: Suzanne Somers                                                                       
Birth name: Suzanne Marie Mahoney                                                           
Born: 16 October 1946 San Bruno, California                                                 
Suzanne Somers (born October 16, 1946) is an American actress, author, and                 
businesswoman. Best known for her role as the ditzy blonde Chrissy Snow on the             
ABC sitcom Three's Company, she also had a noted starring role on the sitcom               
Step by Step as Carol Foster Lambert. She later capitalized on her acting career           
by also establishing herself as an author of a series of self-help books. She               
has released two autobiographies, two self-help books, four diet books, and a               
book about hormone replacement therapy. She currently features items of her                 
design on the Home Shopping Network.                                                       
Somers was born Suzanne Marie Mahoney, the third of four children in Frank and             
Marion Mahoney's Irish Catholic household in San Bruno, California. Her father             
was an alcoholic who could become violent on occasion, as Somers recounted,                 
often forcing her to hide in her closet. She suffered from dyslexia and was a               
poor student. After being expelled from parochial school for having love notes             
in her locker, Suzanne went to Capuchino High School, where she appeared in                 
several drama productions, including portraying Adelaide in the Frank Loesser               
musical Guys and Dolls. Due to his drinking problem, her father was too                     
inebriated to attend Suzanne's high school graduation in June 1964. A made-for-TV-movie     
starring Somers (based on her first autobiography, Keeping Secrets) was made               
about her life and growing up with an alcoholic father.                                     
In September 1964, she was accepted at San Francisco College for Women (commonly           
referred to as "Lone Mountain College") on a music scholarship, a Catholic                 
school that is now a campus of the University of San Francisco. She left during             
her Sophomore year, after becoming pregnant. She gave birth to her son Bruce Jr.           
on November 8, 1965, after marrying the boy's father, Bruce Somers. She left her           
husband three years later and began modeling. In 1971, her son was severely                 
injured when he was hit by a car. Also at this time, Suzanne was arrested for               
writing a bad check to pay her rent. (Her mugshot would appear years later when             
she was on Three's Company. But the negative publicity quickly subsided once               
Suzanne explained about her emotional and financial difficulties of having her             
son in the hospital.)                                                                       
In 1968, Suzanne won a job as a prize model on the short-lived game show, The               
Anniversary Game hosted by her future husband, Alan Hamel, who was married at               
the time. The two began dating, and Suzanne became pregnant while Hamel was                 
still married. They decided that Suzanne should have an abortion, which she did,           
suffering severe bleeding for several days. She has been married to Hamel since             
1977. Hamel was her business manager during the failed negotiations which led to           
her leaving Three's Company.                                                               
She began acting in small roles during the late 1960s and early 1970s (including           
on various talk shows promoting her book of poetry, and bit parts in movies such           
as the "Blonde in the T-Bird" in American Graffiti, and an episode of the                   
American version of the sitcom Lotsa Luck as the femme fatale in the early 1970s)           
before landing the role of the ditzy blonde "Chrissy Snow" on the ABC sitcom               
Three's Company in 1977.                                                                   
At the beginning of the 1980-81 season, Suzanne demanded a raise from $30,000 an           
episode to $150,000 an episode and 10% ownership of the show. When ABC refused,             
Somers boycotted the second and fourth shows of the season, claiming illness.               
She finished the remaining season on her contract, but her role was cut back to             
1 minute per episode. After her contract expired, she sued ABC for $2 million,             
claiming that her credibility in show business had been damaged. It went to an             
arbitrator who decided that Suzanne was owed only $30,000 for a missed episode.             
By this time, John Ritter and Joyce DeWitt were not talking to Suzanne because             
of the contractual dispute she started. There is a rumor, that when John and               
Joyce carried Suzanne out of the apartment (they did this for a scene), they               
dropped her on the ground purposely. John Ritter and Joyce DeWitt denied this               
rumor. On September 11, 2003, Suzanne was informed of John Ritter's death by his           
widow, Amy Yasbeck.                                                                         
Before the feud with Three's Company producers and ABC even ended, rival network           
CBS knew that Somers was going to be available in the end. They eventually                 
signed her to a contract and a development deal for her own sitcom, which was               
going to be called The Suzanne Somers Show, in which she played an "over-the-top"           
airline stewardess. Once she was finally available, CBS gave Somers- and the               
public- a timeframe in which the show was supposed to premiere, but due to a               
change in administration at CBS's entertainment division in early 1982, the                 
brass ended up passing on the project. Also, Suzanne claimed in her book After             
the Fall (1998), that the producers of Three's Company kept sending "cease &               
desist" forms to CBS stating that Suzanne couldn't use any of her Chrissy Snow             
characterization, and that chilled the creative process.                                   
During the 1980s, Somers became a Las Vegas entertainer. She was the spokeswoman           
for the Thighmaster, a piece of exercise equipment that is squeezed between one's           
thighs. Thighmaster was one of the first products responsible for launching the             
infomercial concept. As well, she performed for U.S. servicemen overseas.                   
She graced the cover of Playboy with a full nude pictorial twice : in 1980 and             
1984. The 1980 pictures were taken years before, when Suzanne was a struggling             
model and actress, unlike the 1984 pictorial.                                               
At the height of her exposure as official spokesperson for Thighmaster                     
infomercials, Somers made her first return to a series, although not on network             
television. In 1987, she starred in the sitcom She's the Sheriff, which ran in             
first-run syndication. Somers portrayed a widow with two young kids who decided             
to fill the shoes of her late husband, a sheriff of a southern town. The show               
ran for two seasons.                                                                       
In 1990, Somers returned to network TV, appearing in numerous guest roles and               
made-for-TV movies, mostly for ABC. Her roles in these, including the movie Rich           
Men, Single Women, attracted the attention of Lorimar Television and Miller-Boyett         
Productions, who were developing a new sitcom. For Lorimar, this was asking                 
Somers back, since they alone had produced She's the Sheriff.                               
In September 1991, Somers bounced back to series TV by starring in the                     
successful sitcom Step By Step (with Patrick Duffy), which ran for seven seasons.           
Playing off her rejuvenated career, Somers also launched a daytime talk show in             
1994, albeit briefly, aptly titled Suzanne Somers. During Step By Step's final             
season, on CBS, she began co-hosting Candid Camera with Peter Funt.                         
Somers announced in spring 2001 that she had breast cancer and she was treated             
with conventional surgery and radiation therapy. Instead of pursuing elective               
chemotherapy after her treatment, Somers chose an alternative therapy using                 
mistletoe injections.                                                                       
Somers is also a supporter of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. Her book,           
Ageless, includes interviews with 16 leading practitioners of bioidentical                 
hormone therapy, but gives extra discussion to the Wiley Protocol.