Suzanne Somers first hit the big screen in 1973 with a small but memorable role in the iconic coming-of-age film, American Graffiti. Billed only as “Blonde in T-Bird,” Somers had just one line: “I love you”. Her star power, however, was undeniable, and she soon found herself in a leading role as Chrissy Snow on Three’s Company, a sitcom that would one day be heralded as one of the best in TV history. In the years that followed, Somers gained not only fame but fortune as well, amassing an impressive net worth.
At the time of her death in October 2023, Suzanne Somers’ net worth was estimated at around $100 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. After kicking off her career in the 70s, Somers went on to become an accomplished actress, author, and businesswoman. In addition to her acting career, she authored numerous self-help and health books, some of which became bestsellers, contributing significantly to her wealth.
Then, of course, there’s the Thighmaster, the fitness device invented by Somers that rose to popularity in the 90s. Somers became the spokesperson for her creation, allowing her to break into the health and wellness realm as well as establish herself as a business mogul. From then on, her entrepreneurial ventures and successful business deals substantially boosted her net worth.
“Anybody can do it,” Somers told Hollywood Raw in 2022 of her financial success from Thighmaster sales. “People are always calling me and wanting to know ‘How do I do this?’ You can’t decide to make money. You have to have a passion about whatever you’re selling. It has to be a fit. I can’t sell baseball bats. But I wanted to keep my legs looking great for those Manolo Blahnik shoes. So there was a weird, kind of strange, passion there.”
Suzanne Somers Was a Pioneer in Equal Pay for Female Actors
When Suzanne Somers signed on to Three’s Company, she did so under a contract for $3,500 per week (close to $18,000 in today’s dollars). Soon, however, the show became massively popular, at which point Somers’ salary had increased to $30,000 per episode. While this might seem like a high salary, it was nothing compared to what John Ritter, the male lead of the show, was making.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Ritter was raking in a jaw-dropping $150,000 per episode – a whopping five times more than Suzanne Somers. When Somers demanded equal pay to her male counterpart, executives offered her a $5,000 raise instead. When she declined, she was fired from the show rather than given an opportunity to negotiate further.
“The night before we went in to renegotiate, I got a call from a friend with connections high up at ABC. He said, ‘They’re going to hang a nun in the marketplace and the nun is Suzanne,’” explained Somers’ husband and manager, Alan Hamel. “The network was willing to do this because earlier that year the women on Laverne & Shirley got what they asked for and they wanted to put a stop to it. They’d destroy the chemistry on Company to make a point.”
Though she never won the pay parity she wanted, fellow stars remember Suzanne Somers fondly for her bold actions to this day. “Suzanne was a real pal and ‘connector,’” Kathy Griffin wrote on Threads in a heartfelt tribute to the late star. “She loved connecting people with one another. Also a real pioneer regarding equal pay for actresses in situation comedies where the man got substantially more salary than the woman.”
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