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Suzanne Somers


Fashion model and TV commercial actress who landed a minor film role in "Bullitt" (1968), gained notice as the blonde in the T-Bird in "American Graffiti" (1973) and became a TV star as dumb blonde Chrissy Snow on "Three's Company" (1977-81). Somers' demand for a salary increase (from a reputed $30,000 per show to $150,000 plus a share of the profits) resulted in her being fired from the hit series. After a brief stint on the series "She's the Sheriff" playing a woman who takes over the law and order of a town after the death of her husband, and occasional appearances on specials and TV-movies such as "Hollywood Wives" (1985), playing an ambitious movie star, Somers made a comeback of sorts in 1991 with a new series, "Step by Step". She also played herself in "Keeping Secrets" (1991), a TV-movie based on her account of her relationship with her alcoholic father, but gained more attention for promoting an exercise device, the 'Thighmaster', on TV commercials. Somers' story is one of the did-what-it-takes variety. The child of an alcoholic father, she married young, had a son, and divorced young. To support her baby, she modeled, and, after her stardom in "Three's Company," a nude layout she did years earlier to pay the rent appeared in PLAYBOY. She even was hauled into court for passing a bad check, avoiding prosecution by making good on it. Along the way she met Alan Hamel, a Canadian talk show host and producer. They married and he took over the direction of her career. While the contract dispute with "Three's Company"--Somers later claimed the six-figure salary demand was only an opening volley in negotiations--hurt her career, she did make several unsuccessful pilots through Norman Lear's company for CBS and performed in Las Vegas. In the 90s, the modest success of "Step By Step" seemed secondary to Somers' other career as a huckster for the 'Thighmaster' as well as other exercise products and a cook book. They made her very wealthy. Yet, she failed with an attempt at a syndicated daytime talk show in 1994. That same year, she began hosting "Will You Marry Me?" specials for ABC, a yearly look at unusual marriage proposals. She also appeared as herself, a celebrity planning to do a TV movie based on the life of a mother/homemaker/killer, in John Waters' satirical feature film "Serial Mom" (1994).

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