On Sunday, October 15th, the world lost an icon of both television and film. Suzanne Somers, star of classics such as American Graffiti and Three’s Company, died peacefully in her home in Palm Springs, California following a long battle with cancer. She was one day shy of turning 77 years old.
Although she amassed an impressive filmography over the course of her lengthy career, she is perhaps best known for her role as the blonde in the Thunderbird in American Graffiti.
During the film, Somers’ character catches the eye of Richard Dreyfuss’ character, Curt, during a brief interaction at a stoplight. In a true “love at first sight” moment, Curt spends the rest of the evening trying to find the “Blonde in T-Bird.”
The moment, while brief, is a true highlight of the film and something for which many fans remember Somers fondly.
Suzanne Somers Almost Lost Out on Her Famous ‘American Grafitti’ Role
It’s hard to imagine another blonde in that Thunderbird in American Graffiti, but it almost happened. In an interview with Page Six, Somers candidly admitted that she had no clue who George Lucas, who hadn’t directed Star Wars yet, was.
“I had no idea who George Lucas was… I was in the waiting room with a bunch of other blondes, and the audition was running behind.” Somers recalled, “I almost left because my parking meter was running out, and I had no money to extend it.”
A casting assistant asked Somers to wait because Lucas liked her photo. Thankfully, Somers risked a parking ticket, and after she confirmed with Lucas asked her if she could drive. When she said yes, the part was all hers.
In the film, Somer’s only had one line: “I love you.” When it came time to film the scene, however, Lucas decided he liked it better if she just mouthed the words.
“I practiced all day in the mirror… when the time came to shoot my scenes, I drove around in a white Thunderbird. Now for my big line! George Lucas said, ‘Just mouth it,’” she recalled to Paige Six. “I didn’t even get to say the three words! I think I was on screen for a total of five seconds… but those five seconds gave me my career.”
“Blonde in T-Bird” was Somers’s first credited role. She’d go on to star in many other films, as well as the hit TV shows Step by Step and Three’s Company.
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