Three’s Company star Suzanne Somers was one of the first female actors to stand up for themselves and demand fair pay, and it cost the star her job.
The late actress starred in the John Ritter-led classic as Chrissy Snow from 1977 to 1981. During Season 5, Somers was unceremoniously replaced by Jenilee Harrison, who played Cindy Snow, Chrissy’s cousin. Fans were led to believe Somers simply left the series, but that wasn’t the case.
Somers had gone to her bosses and asked for a raise. She believed she deserved to make nearly as much as Ritter because she was one of the main stars. The execs were upset that she had the gumption, so they fired her.
“So, we went in to renegotiate for year six because we had to, my contract was up,” she told ET. “And they fired me. They fired me for asking to be paid commensurate with the men. … They need you as the example so no other woman in television will get uppity and think that they could ask for parity with men.”
It Was Decades Before Suzanne Somers and John Ritter Made Amends
Suzanne Somers admitted that the situation hit her hard. For a short time, she regretted asking for more money. What made everything worse was that the producers lied to her castmates and “painted” her as “greedy.” For six years, she had been close with the other stars, but when she left the show, most of them never forgave her.
The actress said she only spoke to one of the Three’s Company stars ever again—John Ritter. He called and made amends one month before he died. Ritter also asked her to guest star on 8 Simple Rules. She agreed, but he passed before the plan could come to fruition.
In the end, Somers did not regret asking for fair pay. She was proud that she stood up for herself, and she was thankful for having the opportunity to star in the classic TV show and make a name for herself.
Suzanne Somers died on Sunday, Oct. 15, one day before what would have been her 77th birthday. Her longtime publicist, R. Couri Hay, shared that she passed “peacefully” in her sleep, surrounded by her family.
Somers leaves behind one son, Bruce Sommers Jr., and her husband of 46 years, Alan Hamel. Her family will hold a private burial later this week. A memorial will take place next month.
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