May 13, 2010 Leave a comment
Suzanne Somers, May 2006
October 16, 1946 (1946-10-16) (age 63)
San Bruno, California, U.S.
Alan Hamel (1977–present)
Suzanne Somers (born Suzanne Marie Mahoney; October 16, 1946) is an American actress, author, singer and businesswoman, best known for her television roles as Christmas Snow AKA Chrissy Snow on Three’s Company and as Carol Lambert on Step by Step.Somers later became the author of a series of best-selling self-help books, including Ageless: The Naked Truth About Bioidentical Hormones (2006), a book about bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. She has also released two autobiographies, four diet books, and a book of poetry entitled “Touch Me” (1980). She currently features items of her design on ShopNBC.She has been criticized for her views on some medical subjects and her advocacy of the Wiley Protocol, which has been labelled as “scientifically unproven and dangerous”. Her promotion of alternative cancer treatments has received criticism from the American Cancer Society.
Born Suzanne Marie Mahoney in San Bruno, California, Somers was the third of four children in an Irish Catholic family. Her mother, Marion Elizabeth (née Turner), was a medical secretary, and her father, Francis Mahoney, was a laborer (loading beer into boxcars) and gardener. Her family attended church at St. Robert’s Catholic Church in San Bruno.She attended Capuchino High School, then 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 by Bruce Somers, whom she married, giving birth to Bruce Jr. on November 8, 1965. She left her husband three years later and began modeling. In 1971, her son was severely injured when he was hit by a car.In 1968, Somers met her future husband Alan Hamel while working on a game show. The couple married in 1977, and Hamel became her business manager.In 2001 Somers announced that she had breast cancer, having a lumpectomy to remove the cancer followed by radiation therapy, though she decided to forego chemotherapy in favour of alternative treatment.On January 9, 2007, the Associated Press reported that a wildfire in Southern California had destroyed Somers’ Malibu home.
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) and had an uncredited role as a pool girl in Magnum Force in 1974. She later landed the role of the ditzy blonde “Chrissy Snow” on the ABC sitcom Three’s Company in 1977.
Further information: Three’s Company: Cast changesAt the beginning of the fifth season, Somers demanded a hefty raise from $30,000 to $150,000 an episode and 10% ownership of the show’s profit. Those close to the situation suggested that Somers’ rebellion was due to husband/manager Hamel’s influences over her. When ABC denied her request, Somers boycotted the second and fourth shows of the season, due to several excuses such as a broken rib (which was false). She finished the remaining season on her contract, but her role was decreased to 60 seconds per episode. After her contract was terminated, she sued ABC for $2 million, claiming that her credibility in show business had been damaged. It went to an arbitrator who decided that Somers was owed only $30,000 due to a single missed episode for which she had not been paid. Other rulings favored the producers. Somers has said she was fired because she asked to be paid as much as the male actors on the show like Alan Alda of M*A*S*H, and Carroll O’Connor of Archie Bunker’s Place.Before the feud with Three’s Company producers and ABC had even ended, rival network CBS knew that Somers was ultimately going to be available. 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 to play an “over-the-top” airline stewardess. Once she was indeed available (after her firing from Three’s Company), CBS gave Somers – and the public – a timeframe in which to expect the show to hit the air, but due to a change in administration at CBS’ entertainment division in early 1982, the brass ended up passing on the project. Also, Somers claimed in her book After the Fall (1998), that the producers of Three’s Compa
kept sending cease and desist forms to CBS stating that Somers could not 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. During this period of her career, she also performed for US servicemen overseas.
Somers appeared in two Playboy cover-feature nude pictorials: in 1980 and 1984. The 1980 pictures were taken years before, when Somers was a struggling model and actress and did a test photoshoot for the magazine.[dead link]
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.
From 1997–99, Somers cohosted the revised Candid Camera show, when CBS chose to bring it back with Peter Funt. Somers stayed for two years before PAX TV renewed the series without her.
Somers receiving patriotic civilian service award for past USO tour performances after performing The Blonde in the Thunderbird for members of the US military and their families.In summer 2005, Somers made her Broadway debut in a one-woman show, The Blonde in the Thunderbird, a collection of stories about her life and career. The show was supposed to run until September, but was cancelled in less than a week after poor reviews and disappointing ticket sales. Somers blamed the harsh reviews (The New York Times referred to it as “…a drab and embarrassing display of emotional exhibitionism masquerading as entertainment“) and told the New York Post: “These men [New York critics] are curmudgeons, and maybe I went too close to the bone for them. I was lying there naked, and they decided to kick me and step on me, just like these visions you see in Iraq.”
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 one specific approach, the ‘Wiley Protocol‘.T. S. Wiley and Somers have been criticized by some physicians for their advocacy of the Wiley Protocol. A group of seven doctors, all of whom utilize bioidentical hormone therapies to address health issues in women, issued a public letter to Somers and her publisher, Crown, in which they state that the protocol is “scientifically unproven and dangerous” and cite Wiley’s lack of medical and clinical qualifications. The use of bioidentical hormone therapies is a very controversial area of medicine.Her promotion of them, and Oprah Winfrey‘s support of her, has been the subject of an Associated Press article:The problem, for many doctors: These custom-compounded products are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration.Somers, whose hormone regimen involves creams, injections and some 60 supplements daily, got a huge boost earlier this year from Oprah Winfrey. “Many people write Suzanne off as a quackadoo,” Winfrey said when Somers appeared on her show. “But she just might be a pioneer.”Yet Winfrey’s tacit support of Somers gave her some of the worst press of her career. “Crazy Talk,” Newsweek headlined an article on the talk show host earlier this year. Another headline, on Salon.com: “Oprah’s Bad Medicine.”In 2001, Somers was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had a lumpectomy, and radiation, but declined to undergo chemotherapy. In November, 2008, Suzanne Somers announced she was diagnosed with inoperable cancer by six doctors, but Somers learned a week later that she had been misdiagnosed.During this time, she interviewed several doctors about various cancer treatments and these interviews became the basis of her book, Knockout, about alternative treatments to chemotherapy. In her book Knockout, Somers promotes alternative cancer treatments, for which she has received criticism from the American Cancer Society:
The handprints of Suzanne Somers in front of The Great Movie Ride at Walt Disney World‘s Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park.
- Anniversary Game (1969–1970)
- Mantrap (1971–1973)
- Lotsa Luck (c1973)
- Sky Heist (1975)
- It Happened at Lakewood Manor (1977)
- Three’s Company (cast member from 1977–1981)
- Happily Ever After (1978)
- Zuma Beach (1978)
- Hollywood Wives (1985) (miniseries)
- Goodbye Charlie (1985)
- She’s the Sheriff (1987–1989)
- Rich Men, Single Women (1990)
- Step by Step (1991–1998)
- Keeping Secrets (1991)
- Exclusive (1992) (also co-executive producer)
- The Suzanne Somers Show (1994–1995)
- Seduced by Evil (1994)
- Devil’s Food (1996)
- Love-Struck (1997)
- No Laughing Matter (1998)
- Candid Camera (co-host from 1998–2000)
- The Darklings (1999)
- Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List (2009) (Guest appearance)
Somers at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival
- Bullitt (1968)
- Daddy’s Gone A-Hunting (1969)
- American Graffiti (1973)
- Magnum Force (1973)
- Ants (1977)
- Billy Jack Goes to Washington (1977)
- Yesterday’s Hero (1979)
- Nothing Personal (1980)
- Totally Minnie (1987)
- Full House (1990’s)
- Serial Mom (1994)
- Rusty: A Dog’s Tale (1998) (voice)
- Say It Isn’t So (2001) (cameo)
- Somers, S (2008). Breakthrough. Crown Publishing Group. ISBN 1400053277.
- Somers, S (2006). Ageless: The Naked Truth About Bioidentical Hormones. Crown Publishing Group. ISBN 0-307-23724-9.
- Somers, S (2004). The Sexy Years: Discover the Hormone Connection – The Secret to Fabulous Sex, Great Health, and Vitality, for Women and Men. Crown Publishing Group. ISBN 0-609-60721-9.
- Somers, S (1992). Wednesday’s Children: Adult Survivors of Abuse Speak Out. Putnam Adult. ISBN 0399137432.
- Somers, S (1980). Touch Me: The Poems of Suzanne Somers. Workman Pub Co. ISBN 0-89480-141-4.
- Somers, S (1998). After the Fall. Crown Publishers, Inc.. ISBN 0-609-60312-4.