TV legend Suzanne Somers died on Sunday, Oct. 15 at the age of 76. Somers had been battling breast cancer on and off for the past 23 years.
The star first went public with her breast cancer diagnosis in 2000. She underwent treatment and by 2007 was cancer-free. But in July 2023, Somers announced via Instagram that her cancer had returned.
The actress’ death came one day before her 77th birthday on Oct. 16th. Her family had gathered for a birthday celebration but instead will host a memorial for the late star.
In a statement, Somers’ publicist R. Couri Hay wrote:
"“Suzanne Somers passed away peacefully at home in the early morning hours of October 15th. She survived an aggressive form of breast cancer for over 23 years. Suzanne was surrounded by her loving husband Alan, her son Bruce, and her immediate family. Her family was gathered to celebrate her 77th birthday on October 16th. Instead, they will celebrate her extraordinary life, and want to thank her millions of fans and followers who loved her dearly.”"
Suzanne Somers’ Rise to TV and Entrepreneurial Fame
Somers’ acting journey started in the late 1960s with bit parts in films and TV series. Her early credits include shows such as Starsky & Hutch and The Six Million Dollar Man.
In 1977, she landed her big break when cast as Chrissy Snow on the ABC sitcom Three’s Company. Somers, Joyce DeWitt, and John Ritter played roommates living in a California apartment. The show became an instant hit with viewers tuning in each week to catch the latest hijinks from the trio.
When the show’s fifth season began in 1980, Somers’ salary demands lead to friction on set and later her dismissal from the sitcom. Her character Chrissy was written out and actress Jenilee Harrion was cast as the new roommate.
The actress would go on to star in the short-lived sitcom She’s the Sheriff, which ran from 1987 to 1989. In 1991, Somers found TV success again co-starring alongside Patrick Duffy in the ABC comedy Step by Step. The show was popular during the Friday night lineup and enjoyed a seven-season run.
Aside from acting, Somers became an entrepreneur. In the early 1990s, she became the spokeswoman for a new exercise product, the Thighmaster. Somers’ business empire continued to grow with a clothing and jewelry line sold on HSN.
As news of Somers’ death spread, fans and collagues poured in with tributes. Her Three’s Company co-star DeWitt released a statement to People.
"“I’m sure Suzanne was greeted by Angels into the loving wisdom waiting for all of us on the other side, and I hope that will assist her family’s hearts in healing as they travel through this difficult time.”"