Celebrated actress Suzanne Somers is best known for her work on both the big and small screen, but did you know she posed for Playboy too? More than once!
An icon of classic film and television, Suzanne Somers’ impressive resume includes beloved hits like Three’s Company, Step by Step, and American Graffiti. And, of course, no Suzanne Somers biography would be complete without mentioning the Thighmaster, a piece of exercise equipment that took the nation by storm in the 90s because all you had to do was “put it between your knees and squeeze.” After becoming the spokesperson, Somers cemented herself as “the Thighmaster lady” and went on to be inducted in the Infomercial Hall of Fame.
Perhaps the most surprising aspect of her storied career, however, wasn’t her acting or her spandex-clad, thigh-busting exercise videos. For Suzanne Somers, it was her two (almost three) time run with the iconic (yet risqué) magazine, Playboy.
Suzanne Somers Posed for ‘Playboy’ Twice
It started in 1970, three years before Curt Henderson would drool over the “Blonde in T-Bird” in American Graffiti. And sadly, the feature was born out of a desperate situation. Her son, Bruce Jr., with whom she had at the young age of 19 with her then-husband Bruce Somers, was hit by a car at just 5 years old.
“He was given a 50/50 chance to live,” Somers told Adam Carolla in a 2022 interview. “The woman who hit him had no insurance. I had no child support, no insurance from the father. And I was broke and being harassed by bill collectors.”
As Somers explained, she was trying to break into modeling when she was approached by a Playboy photographer, who explained that she could win $15,000 if she was chosen as Playmate of the Month. Hoping to pay off her hospital debt, Somers agreed but soon had second thoughts, requesting that the photoshoot go unpublished. A request to which Playboy agreed – for a time.
A White Lie Sparked the Release of the Unpublished Photoshoot
A decade later, Somers appeared on The Tonight Show, during which she told a small lie: she had posed nude only once, for a magazine called High Society. Well, Playboy immediately set out to set the record straight. In February of 1980, those unpublished photos were suddenly splashed across Playboy magazines everywhere.
“I was hurt and furious when Playboy printed the pictures without my consent,” Somers told UPI Hollywood of her initial reaction. The hard feelings didn’t last long, however, as she posed for the magazine again – this time with the actress at the helm.
“’I had to have 100 percent control,” Suzanne Somers explained. “Any magazine would choose the most revealing rather than the best pictures. I made sure there were no gynecological shots. It killed the magazine to give me final approval of all photos. They were afraid it would set a precedent. But they were gents and lived up to the bargain. They redeemed themselves in my eyes.”
There Was Almost a Third ‘Playboy’ Shoot
Many years later, Suzanne Somers considered posing for Playboy a third time. This time, she was no longer a young mother but a successful actress and business woman at 73 years old.
“That would be interesting,” Somers told Access Hollywood in 2020. “Maybe on my 75th birthday… That would be really cool. I would like Annie Liebovitz to shoot me nude for Playboy for my 75th birthday. Okay? That’s now on record.”
Though the shoot never happened, nude photos of the 73-year-old did make waves. Rather than a magazine, however, they came from the actress’ own Instagram account. “Here I am at 73 in my Birthday Suit!!!” Somers wrote alongside an image of herself posed nude in a field of tall grass. With one risqué picture, the septuagenarian proved that confidence has no age limit.
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