Suzanne Somers

Actress


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In her two-hour Archive interview, Suzanne Somers discusses her early years as a single mother and struggling model/actress. She talks about landing a small but memorable role in the feature film "American Graffiti," which led to appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, and her casting on Three's Company. Somers describes being mentored by Three's Company producer Michael Ross and star John Ritter, and how she came to grasp the essence of comedy acting. Somers speaks frankly about the pitfalls of her meteoric rise to stardom, which eventually resulted in her exit from Three's Company. She then speaks about her subsequent work as a Vegas headliner, author, and star of 1990s sitcom Step By Step. Stephen J. Abramson conducted the interview on July 15, 2009 in Malibu, CA.

"I knew what 'Chrissy Snow' would and would not do. She'd never tell a lie. She'd never steal anybody's boyfriend. Everything was always absolutely honest with her. And I think that's what endeared her to the public."

People Talking About ...
Highlights
Suzanne Somers on how she first came to appear on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson in her early career (pre-Three's Company)
Suzanne Somers on how she was cast on Three's Company by ABC exec Fred Silverman, who had seen her on The Tonight Show
Suzanne Somers on learning comedy from John Ritter and being mentored by producer Mickey Ross (and their eventual falling out)
Suzanne Somers on her Three's Company character, "Chrissy Snow"
Suzanne Somers on how her contract was not renewed for Three's Company
Suzanne Somers on the popularity of Three's Company
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On her parents; on her desire to become a performer; on early television she watched, including The Ed Sullivan Show; on playing the female lead in "Guys and Dolls"; on her father's alcoholism
On becoming a teenage mother/wife; on her early modeling and acting career; on her son's childhood accident and its aftermath (the counseling she received)
On her appearances on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson in her early career; on appearing on the syndicated game show The Anniversary Game, hosted by her future husband Alan Hamel; on her audition for the movie "American Graffiti"
On how she was cast on Three's Company by ABC exec Fred Silverman, who had seen her on The Tonight Show; on how she nearly declined auditioning for Three's Company after she had a near-death plane experience; on the resentment she felt from others when she won acting awards having never studied acting; on learning comedy from John Ritter and being mentored by producer Mickey Ross (and their eventual falling out)
On her Three's Company character, "Chrissy Snow"; on how she missed out on several movie opportunities during Three's Company; on her inexperience at the start of Three's Company; on her audition (with Joyce DeWitt); on Three's Company as part of ABC's successful Tuesday night lineup; on her working relationship with John Ritter
On her similarities to her character, "Chrissy Snow"; on the popularity of Three's Company; on her initial fame; on actor Norman Fell ("Mr. Roper"); on the atmosphere on the set of Three's Company

Chapter 2

On how the hairstyle and trademark laugh for her Three's Company character, "Chrissy Snow," came about; on her character's innocence; on performing physical comedy with John Ritter
On the beginning of her stardom (and conflicts on Three's Company) during a Newsweek cover photo shoot; on angering ABC when she "sold" her hiatus to CBS; on how her contract was not renewed for Three's Company
On headling in Las Vegas; on how her contract was not renewed for Three's Company; on how her bad departure from Three's Company affected her
On deciding to take sitcom Step By Step over a Broadway role; on working on Step By Step; on career advice to actors
Shows

Anniversary Game, The

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Suzanne Somers on appearing as a prize model on The Anniversary Game, hosted by future husband Alan Hamel

Step By Step

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Suzanne Somers on deciding to take sitcom Step By Step over a Broadway role
Suzanne Somers on comparing her approach to playing a mom on Step By Step versus playing Chrissy on Three's Company
Suzanne Somers on her lifestyle during the shooting of Step by Step (and how the series handled breakout star Sasha Mitchell)
Suzanne Somers on working with the ensemble of child actors on Step By Step

Three's Company

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Suzanne Somers on how she was cast on Three's Company by ABC exec Fred Silverman, who had seen her on The Tonight Show
Suzanne Somers on how she nearly declined auditioning for Three's Company after she had a near-death plane experience
Suzanne Somers on the resentment she felt from others when she won acting awards having never studied acting
Suzanne Somers on learning comedy from John Ritter and being mentored by producer Mickey Ross (and their eventual falling out)
Suzanne Somers on her Three's Company character, "Chrissy Snow"
Suzanne Somers on how she missed out on several movie opportunities during Three's Company
Suzanne Somers on her inexperience at the start of Three's Company
Suzanne Somers on her similarities to her Three's Company character, "Chrissy Snow"
Suzanne Somers on the popularity of Three's Company
Suzanne Somers on her audition (with Joyce DeWitt) for Three's Company
Suzanne Somers on Three's Company as part of ABC's successful Tuesday night lineup
Suzanne Somers on her working relationship with John Ritter on Three's Company
Suzanne Somers on her initial fame (from Three's Company)
Suzanne Somers on working with actor Norman Fell on Three's Company
Suzanne Somers on the atmosphere on the set of Three's Company
Suzanne Somers on creating her Three's Company character, "Chrissy Snow"
Suzanne Somers on how her hairstyle and trademark laugh came about for Three's Company character, "Chrissy Snow"
Suzanne Somers on working with John Ritter in the classic Three's Company episode "Handcuffed"
Suzanne Somers on performing physical comedy with John Ritter on Three's Company
Suzanne Somers on the beginning of her stardom (and conflicts on Three's Company) during a Newsweek cover photo shoot
Suzanne Somers on how she's feels the breakout character of Fonzie on Happy Days was handled better by the show's producers, than her breakout character Chrissy on Three's Company
Suzanne Somers on how her contract was not renewed for Three's Company
Suzanne Somers on how her bad departure from Three's Company affected her

Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, The

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Suzanne Somers on how she first came to appear on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson in her early career (pre-Three's Company)
Suzanne Somers on how she was cast on Three's Company by ABC exec Fred Silverman, who had seen her on The Tonight Show
Topics

Characters & Catchphrases

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Suzanne Somers on her Three's Company character, "Chrissy Snow"
Suzanne Somers on how her hairstyle and trademark laugh came about for Three's Company character "Chrissy Snow"

Classic TV series episodes

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Suzanne Somers on working with John Ritter in the classic Three's Company episode "Handcuffed"

Comedy

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Suzanne Somers on working with John Ritter in the classic Three's Company episode "Handcuffed"

Pop Culture

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Suzanne Somers on her Three's Company character, "Chrissy Snow"
Suzanne Somers on working with John Ritter in the classic Three's Company episode "Handcuffed"
Suzanne Somers on how her hairstyle and trademark laugh came about for Three's Company character "Chrissy Snow"
Professions

Actress

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Suzanne Somers on her inexperience at the start of Three's Company

Performers

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Suzanne Somers on her inexperience at the start of Three's Company
Genres

Comedy Series

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Suzanne Somers on Three's Company
Suzanne Somers on Three's Company (Part 2)
People

Ted Bergmann

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Suzanne Somers on Three's Company's Executive in Charge of Production, Ted Bergmann

Joyce DeWitt

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Suzanne Somers on her audition (with Joyce DeWitt) for Three's Company

Norman Fell

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Suzanne Somers on working with actor Norman Fell on Three's Company

George Lucas

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Suzanne Somers on her audition (with George Lucas) for the movie "American Graffiti"

John Ritter

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Suzanne Somers on learning comedy from John Ritter and being mentored by producer Mickey Ross (and their eventual falling out)
Suzanne Somers on performing physical comedy with John Ritter on Three's Company

Michael Ross

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Suzanne Somers on learning comedy from John Ritter and being mentored by producer Mickey Ross (and their eventual falling out)

Frank Sinatra

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Suzanne Somers on singing advice she received from Frank Sinatra when she headlined in Las Vegas

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