Entertainment
Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: Albany Daily News. Posted by Lexi Schwartz
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Entertainment
Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: Albany Daily News.
Posted by Lexi Schwartz
social
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“I’m content and it has nothing to do with fame or money. I love my husband. I love my family and my friends. I love what I do. Isn’t that it? Every night when I walk out on stage I’m in a state of exhilaration.” Making a name for herself in the 1970s as a ditzy blonde on the popular sitcom Three’s Company, Suzanne Somers has spent the last four decades proving that she’s anything but a dummy. After parting ways with CBS and Three’s Company when she demanded equal pay to John Ritter, Somers revitalized her fame as an infomercial star when she became the spokeswoman for the Thighmaster. She moved back to primetime television opposite Patrick Duffy on Step by Step and turned her attention to health and wellness with the release of a string of best-selling self-help books. After her recent stint on Dancing with the Stars in 2015, it’s obvious that the 72-year-old Somers has found the fountain of youth since she’s busier than ever before as an infomercial goddess, a best-selling author and a health guru.

Easily embracing her character as the ditzy and charming blonde known for always doing silly things, Somers became an overnight sensation as Three's Company climbed to higher and higher ratings from 1977 to 1980. By then, the chemistry between Ritter, DeWitt and Somers was like a well-oiled machine but, for Somers, that would quickly come to an end when she learned her male costar was bringing in $150,000 per episode while she was bringing in only $35,000 to star on the highest ranked show in the country. The inequality was too much for the actress to bear.

Demanding a raise, Somers was laughed at and denied as she told Radar Online, “The Three’s Company producer told the network he could ‘train another blonde like a seal’ to take over for me.” Giving the producer the opportunity to do just that, she skipped out on the first few episodes of the fifth season as producers cut her time on air to just 60 seconds per episode before writing her off completely and terminating her contract. She was soon replaced by Priscilla Barnes but the show never reached the same level of success with the network losing millions of dollars in syndication. Somers went on to sue ABC and was rewarded $30,000 for a single episode but, by then, the damage with the network and her costars—especially Ritter and DeWitt—was beyond repair. Regardless, Somers remained strong saying, “At the height of my success on Three’s Company, I was screwed out of my TV career by the producers and weak leaders at the network who concocted a plan to stop women in TV from asking to be paid the same as men.”

Today, the 73-year-old is taking full advantage of her popularity with a series of self-help books and speaking out on a variety of medical subjects. So, why the shift? Somers says she’s earned it even after standing up for herself and women decades ago. “There’s a new way to age. What I have at this stage of my life is wisdom like I’ve never had before and perspective and that’s the one thing no young person can have and buy—you have to earn it.”

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