Suzanne Somers, fitness icon and star of “Three’s Company,” dies at age 76 after battle with cancer


Suzanne Somers, who starred in “Three’s Company” and later went on to become an advocate for a healthy lifestyle, has died after a long battle with cancer.

The actress died early Sunday morning at her home, just one day before her 77th birthday, her publicist R. Couri Hay confirmed to CBS News.

“Suzanne was surrounded by her loving husband Alan, her son Bruce and her immediate family,” Hay told CBS News in a statement, adding that her family had gathered to celebrate her upcoming birthday.

“Instead, they want to celebrate her extraordinary life and want to thank her millions of fans and followers who loved her dearly.”

Suzanne Somers in 2015
Suzanne Somers speaks at a press conference announcing her residency, “Suzanne Sizzles,” at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino on March 25, 2015.

David Becker/Getty Images


She will be buried this week in a private ceremony, and a memorial will be held next month, Hay said.

Somers was most famous for her role as Chrissy Snow on the beloved 1970s sitcom “Three’s Company.”

“People just wanted to protect Chrissy Snow,” she told CBS News in a 2020 interview. “Creating her was actually intellectual. How do I make her likable and lovable? Stupid blondes are annoying. I gave her a moral code. I imagined that was the childhood I wanted to have. ”

She was famously fired from the show when she asked for a salary equal to that of late star John Ritter.

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The cast of the 1970s sitcom “Three’s Company” pose together in this undated photo; from left Joyce DeWitt, John Ritter and Suzanne Somers.

AP


“I got fired from ‘Three’s Company’ for having the audacity to ask to be paid the same as men,” she said in 2020. “They made 10 to 15 times more and John [Ritter] made a lot more than me. They had appointed John as the star, when my star rose up and started competing with John’s star, it made them mad at me. It pissed them off when I was on every magazine cover and John wasn’t. We were all on the cover of Newsweek. It was a failure that day. The producers didn’t tell any of us that Newsweek only wanted Chrissy, and nobody told me either.”

Later in life, she became a health guru who made millions selling the Thighmaster and diet books.

But her life was first plagued by illness dealing with melanomaa type of skin cancer, in the 30s, and beyond diagnosed with breast cancer in the 50s.

She described her early cancer battles in that 2020 interview.

“Even when I was Chrissy on Three’s Company, I’d had cancer three times,” Somers said. “They call it severe hyperplasia of your uterus. I didn’t make a big deal out of it. In my 30s I got a malignant melanoma in my back.”

In August, Somers revealed that she was fighting a recurrence of breast cancer in a message sent to Instagram.

“Since I’ve been off work, many of you have been asking for more details about my health,” Somers captioned a photo featuring her with her husband Alan Hamel.

“As you know I had breast cancer two decades ago and every now and then it comes back and I continue to beat it down,” her post continued. “I have used the best alternative and conventional treatments to combat it.”


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