Facts about Suzanne Somers – American Actress and Author

By | April 4, 2024

Suzanne Somers was a popular American actress. While her fans know her for playing the role of Chrissy Snow (Three's Company) and Carol Foster Lambert (Step by Step), she was also an author and businesswoman.

Suzanne Somers, a popular American actress and author

Suzanne Somers, a popular American actress and author

Suzanne wrote over 25 books throughout her career, all focusing on autobiography, poetry, and health and well-being. She often advertised "ThighMaster," an exercise device for shaping your thighs. She also promoted bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHT) and alternative cancer treatments, for which she faced criticism from doctors.

Early Life

Suzanne Marie Somers was born on October 16, 1946, in San Bruno, California. She was the third child of Marion Elizabeth, a medical secretary, and Francis Mahoney, a laborer and gardener. Suzanne's father was an alcoholic and abuser. Suzanne disclosed that she was always worried while growing up that her father would kill her.

Suzanne attended Mercy High School in California, where she struggled academically due to her dyslexia. Her father's all-night rages also added to her struggles, keeping her awake at night and causing her to fall asleep in class.

During her prom, Suzanne's father ripped her dress, telling her she was "nothing," to which she responded by hitting him with a tennis racket in the head.

In 1964, Suzanne graduated from Capuchino High School. During the same year, she won the "Best Doll Award" for her role in the musical Guys and Dolls and for helping organize the senior ball.

Suzanne attended Lone Mountain College but withdrew in 1965 after getting pregnant. She then married her child's father Bruce Somers at age 19.

Acting Career

Guest Appearances

Suzanne started her career with small roles during the late 60s and early 70s. She made appearances in different talk shows promoting her books and parts in movies. This led to her guesting on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.

Suzanne also made guest appearances on TV shows like The Rockford Files, Lotsa Luck, and Magnum Force. She had a guest-starring role on The Six Million Dollar Man, specifically the "Cheshire Project" episode in 1977. Suzanne also played a passenger on the first episode of The Love Boat and made an appearance in an episode of One Day at a Time.

Three's Company

Suzanne's first major role was "Chrissy Snow" in Three's Company. While the role was originally portrayed by Susanne Zenor, it was replaced by Suzanne after the former actress failed to impress the producers during the pilot episodes. Her comedic timing and chemistry with the cast contributed to the show's success and eventually lifted Suzanne to popularity.

A poster from Suzanne Somer's Three's Company

A poster from Suzanne Somer's Three's Company

Recognizing her value to the show, Suzanne demanded a salary increase during the fifth season. Suzanne requested a pay of $150,000 per episode, as well as a 10% share of the show's profits. However, ABC was only willing to offer a $5,000 per episode raise. Suzanne then refused to appear in the second and fourth episodes of the season due to various excuses like broken ribs.

Suzanne eventually finished the remaining season on her contract, but her role was decreased to just around 60 seconds per episode.

Moving On from Three's Company

After leaving Three's Company due to a contract dispute, Suzanne continued her acting career in both television and film. Here are some highlights of Suzanne's acting career after Three's Company.

  • TV Specials and Movies - Suzanne appeared in different television movies and specials between 1980s to 1990s. Some popular ones include There Were Times Dear, Keeping Secrets, The Darklings, and Heartsounds.
  • Sitcoms and TV Shows - Suzanne starred in her own sitcom She's the Sheriff, which aired from 1987 to 1989. She also made guest appearances on Step by Step, The Oprah Winfrey Show, and several other shows.
  • Theater - She also appeared in productions like The Blonde in the Thunderbird and The Seven Year Itch.
  • Reality TV - In the 2000s up to 2010s, Suzanne made several appearances on reality TV shows like The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and Dancing with the Stars.

Writing Career

Suzanne also made significant contributions as an author. She wrote over 25 books throughout her career, showcasing diverse interests. She has two autobiography books, delving into her life experiences and challenges. However, a huge chunk of her books focus on health and well-being.

14 of her books became best sellers, including Ageless, I'm Too Young for This!, TOX-SICK: From Toxic to Not Sick, Knockout, A New Way to Age: The Most Cutting-Edge Advances in Anti Aging, Breakthrough: Eight Steps to Wellness, and Suzanne Somers' Get Skinny on Fabulous Food.

The many books authored by Suzanne Somers

The many books authored by Suzanne Somers

Personal Life

Suzanne has one biological son only with first husband Bruce Somers. His name is Bruce Somers Jr. She remarried in 1997 to Alan Hamel who had two children, Stephen and Leslie Hamel, from his previous marriage. They were married for 46 years until Suzanne's death.

Suzanne Somers with husband Alan Hamel

Suzanne Somers with husband Alan Hamel


Suzanne was also an advocate for health practices that led her to some controversies. She supported bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (Wiley Protocol), which was heavily criticized by medical professionals for its lack of scientific evidence and potential dangers.

Suzanne also faced backlash for promoting alternative cancer treatments in her book "Knockout" after her own battle with cancer.

She also made controversial comments about water fluoridation and speculated on the motivations behind the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, attributing it to dietary toxins and household cleaners.


Suzanne Somers had a long battle with cancer. She died on Oct 15, 2023, a day before her 77th birthday. The cause of her death was revealed to be breast cancer with metastasis to the brain. It was confirmed by a biopsy. She also lived with hypertension and hydrocephalus, which are underlying conditions that led to her death.

Following his mother's passing, Bruce Somers Jr paid a tribute to Suzanne through an Instagram post where he called the late actress "the best mother any son could ever dream of."

Suzanne Somers with son Bruce Somers Jr.

Suzanne Somers with son Bruce Somers Jr.

Three days after her death, Suzanne was buried at Desert Memorial Park with a ceremony handled by a funeral home in Palm Springs, California. Her net worth as of 2023 was estimated to be $100 million.

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