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Suzanne Somers, who played Chrissy Snow on Three’s Company, died a day short of her 77th birthday. She had breast cancer and died at home in Palm Springs.
Suzanne Mahoney was born in 1946 in San Bruno, California. She attended Lone Mountain College (now part of the University of San Francisco) but dropped out when she learned she was pregnant.
Somers was a model on game show Anniversary Game, hosted by Alan Hamel.
She had a tiny role in 1973 film American Graffiti, credited as Blonde in T-Bird. She parlayed that cameo into an appearance on The Tonight Show.
Performances on ‘70s shows such as The Six Million Dollar Man, The Love Boat, Starsky and Hutch and The Rockford Files followed.
Comedy Three’s Company debuted in 1977, the same year Somers married Alan Hamel. Chrissy was a secretary and Janet, played by Joyce DeWitt, was a florist. The duo invites Jack, played by John Ritter, to be their roommate, but they pretend he is gay to appease their landlord.
The show was a hit on ABC and Somers, who played a ditsy blonde, pushed to bring her pay in line with what Ritter was making. She was fired after five seasons.
“I’ve been playing what I think is one of the best dumb blondes that’s ever been done, but I never got any credit,” she told The New York Times. “I did it so well that everyone thought I really was a dumb blonde.”
Somers later appeared in ‘80s sitcom She’s the Sheriff and ‘90s sitcom Step by Step, playing the mother of a blended family. Step by Step ran on ABC from 1991 to 1997.
She co-hosted Candid Camera from 1997 to 2000.
She also appeared in the infomercials for workout device ThighMaster, and later took over its ownership with her husband.
Somers’ autobiographical Broadway show, The Blonde in the Thunderbird, premiered in 2005 but ran for just 15 performances.
In the 2000s, Somers was a frequent guest on Home Shopping Network, the Times reported, pitching everything from cowboy boots to waffle irons. Somers authored 27 books, including Ageless and Sexy Forever, that frequently detailed wellness and ageing.
She had been diagnosed with cancer in 2001.