Three’s Company actress Suzanne Somers died aged 76, a day before her 77th birthday.
Suzanne had been battling breast cancer for many years, and now her friends reveal that they tried to convince her to go through chemotherapy, but she opted to do alternative treatments instead.
Suzanne Somers was born Suzanne Marie Mahoney on October 16, 1946, in San Bruno, California.
She was raised by her mother, and her abusive father. Suzanne attended catholic school but was soon expelled because she was caught exchanging love letters. She then attended Capuchino High School in San Bruno from where she eventually graduated.
Suzanne’s life changing moment came when she got a small role in George Lucas’ film American Graffiti. “This is a life-changing moment. Five seconds on film that will never be forgotten,” she said, adding that Lucas told her, “Everybody will always remember the mysterious blonde in the Thunderbird.”
She was offered the role in Three’s Company after she got a gig at The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, where she began reading poetry in front of a national audience every month.
The role of Chrissy Snow helped Suzanne make a name for herself.
“I am really proud of creating that dumb blonde cause she had a moral code. She was lovable,” she said of the character she played.
At some point, when she reached a celebrity status, Suzanne caused a stir when she asked for a 500% raise. Instead of the $30,000 she made weekly, she asked for $150,000, the same amount of money her male co-star John Ritter earned at the time.
Instead of meeting her demands, Suzanne Somers was fired.
“I’ve been playing what I think is one of the best dumb blondes that’s ever been done, but I never got any credit,” she told The New York Times the same year. “I did it so well that everyone thought I really was a dumb blonde.”
Suzanne had battled breast cancer for over two decades.
It was back in 2001 that she revealed her diagnosis on Larry King Live, explaining that she had been diagnosed the year prior.
“In the last year I have been battling and surviving breast cancer, and I was in that clinic, and it all has to do with my breast cancer,” Somers told Larry King. “But it just, you know – I have had such an honest relationship with the American public. I mean, I have written books on alcoholism, and blending families, and they have been with me on my ups and downs and sides. And this was just one of those things – I think the most shocking words I ever thought, I never thought, I would ever in my life hear someone say to me that you have bIn reast cancer. And it was – it has been so…”
Suzanne continued, “I was in such shock. I’m very strong, and I was in such shock because I have always taken care of myself, and, I just thought, it would never happen to me, but I think that is what everybody thinks; it won’t happen to them. And, what’s interesting is what you learn about yourself when you are diagnosed with cancer. And cancer is not for sissies.”
She then spoke to a number of doctors who all advised that chemo is the way to approach her cancer, but she decided to turn to alternative medicine instead.
“As I’m hearing the common course of treatment, I – I don’t want to lose my hair, but that was the least of my worries was losing my hair. But I – I don’t like what that drug does to people. What I have seen… Chemotherapy. I have seen people under treatment, there is, you know, I know it helps people. I know it helps.
“It does [work for breast cancer], but I decided to find alternative things to do,” she continued. “Because I have done so much work in my books about hormones, and that hormonal balance is why people gain or lose weight, and, it was my belief that a balanced environment of hormones prevents disease. And the first thing they said to me, we are taking of off all hormones. I said no, I’m going to continue taking my hormones, which is the first thing against the common course…
“I didn’t want chemotherapy.”
At some point, it was revealed that Suzanne was getting treatments for cancer while on Three’s Company. In fact, she was treated for cancer three times during that time.
“Even when I was Chrissy on Three’s Company, I had had cancer three times,” Suzanne told CBS News in 2020.
“They call it severe hyperplasia in your uterus. I didn’t make a big deal about it,” she continued, adding that she also had malignant melanoma in her back in her 30s.
Suzanne lived with cancer for many years, and around six months ago, it looked like she had been finally healed, as per husband Alan Hamel. Sadly, as he shared with Page Six, the cancer returned once again.
Speaking to CBS, Suzanne said in a separate statement, “As one of millions of cancer patients, we do our best not to let this insidious disease control us. I find bliss in each day.”
Her cancer free days, however, were short-lived.
On October 15, her publicist shared the devastating news of her passing.
“Suzanne Somers passed away peacefully at home in the early morning hours of October 15th. She survived an aggressive form of breast cancer for over 23 years,” Somers’ longtime publicist R. Couri Hay wrote in a statement on behalf of the actress’ family.
“Suzanne was surrounded by her loving husband Alan, her son Bruce, and her immediate family,” the statement continued. “Her family was gathered to celebrate her 77th birthday on October 16th. Instead, they will celebrate her extraordinary life, and want to thank her millions of fans and followers who loved her dearly.”
Further, Hay told People, “There were all these plans, and she was always working and dreaming and had brought her family into the business, and the grandchildren and step-children were all part of the business,” adding that Suzanne was “very engaged right to the end.”
Months prior to her passing, Suzanne explained that they had “used the best alternative and conventional treatments to combat it.” Many of her family and friends, however, didn’t like her approach to fighting the disease.
As per Daily Mail, they were trying to convince her to ditch the alternative medicine and turn to chemo instead.
“She was advised by several people to consider the more conventional approach, but she did not listen,” a source close to Somers told the Daily Mail. “She really only found out that the cancer was back at the beginning of summer so she didn’t have that long to really do anything other than accept it.”
The source continued, “She has always rejected chemo, so it wasn’t even an option. Her friends and loved ones urged her to reconsider so many times during her cancer battles and at the end. She never regretted her decisions, and she was prepared to go. She believed that she lived a life beyond her wildest dreams and truly made a dent in the world.”
The source added that the actress was aware her time to leave the world was nearing and that she had the time to say goodbye to her loved ones.
“The timing of her passing was a blessing because her loved ones were there. She was able to say her goodbyes to everyone she loved, which was so many people. She was accepting of her fate and went with dignity.”
Her husband of many years revealed the last moments of his late-wife’s life.
“We were in bed together, and her breathing was erratic, and I had been talking to her for hours,’ he said.
“There was no response except when I kissed her, she responded, and then around five o’clock in the morning, she was gone.”
Rest in peace, Suzanne Somers.
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