This is the third of three installments in Yahoo Life's Unapologetically Suzanne video series with Suzanne Somers.
Suzanne Somers loved being Chrissy Snow on Three's Company. "I am really proud of creating that dumb blonde cause she had a moral code. She was lovable," the actress says. But when she asked for her worth on the ABC sitcom — and got fired for it.
Somers, now 74, who was a fan favorite for five seasons, calls herself the “first feminist” to request to be paid commensurate to her male co-stars.
“All the men were being paid 10 to 15 times more than me,” Somers explains. “So my contract was up, I renegotiated and I was fired for asking, essentially.”
Recalling the “humiliating” process of being fired midway through the fifth season, Somers says that in order to collect her paycheck while negotiations were ongoing, she had to appear occasionally on the series. Ultimately, she would make seven cameos across her final season on the show, but despite her limited presence, the sitcom continued to use her name to promote the program.
“They used me to be able to perpetuate the fact that Suzanne Somers was still on the show while they were trying out other girls,” she tells Yahoo Life. “I don't know how much money they lost when they broke up that chemistry but I think it was in the billions. I hear it all the time to this day: ‘I never watched again when you weren't there.’”
Somers was replaced by Jenilee Harrison, who portrayed Cindy Snow, Chrissy’s clumsy cousin.
Despite the setback, Somers recalls the situation being a blessing in disguise, brought to light by some sage wisdom from her husband, Alan Hamel.
“He said, ‘We're going to make this work for us or only go to work for ourselves going forward,’” she explains. “And so that's pretty much how we became the entrepreneurs that we are.”
Since her time on Three’s Company, Somers has launched a beauty line, penned a dozen books and, of course, famously promoted products like the Thigh Master. All of which happened without a TV executive telling her how much — or, rather, how little — she was worth.
“You know, I didn’t wallow in anger and darkness and negativity,” she muses of that time in her life. “I don’t hate any of them, I just feel indifferent. You know, you’re not worth my expending emotion on it. I just try to keep my thoughts in such a healthy place.”
– Video produced by Stacy Jackman