(NEXSTAR) – Suzanne Somers, well known for her roles in “Three’s Company” and “Step by Step,” has died, according to multiple reports.
“She survived an aggressive form of breast cancer for over 23 years,” the statement added. She was diagnosed with a second bout of breast cancer earlier this year.
“Like any cancer patient, when you get that dreaded, ‘It’s back’ you get a pit in your stomach. Then I put on my battle gear and go to war,” Somers told Entertainment Tonight at the time. “This is familiar battleground for me and I’m very tough.”
She was first diagnosed in 2000, and also had skin cancer. She faced some criticism for her reliance on what she’s described as a chemical-free and organic lifestyle to combat the cancers.
Somers was planning on spending Monday, her birthday, with her “nearest and dearest,” she previously told People.
“Her family was gathered to celebrate her 77th birthday on October 16th,” Hay’s statement continued. “Instead, they will celebrate her extraordinary life, and want to thank her millions of fans and followers who loved her dearly.”
Somers was born in 1946 in San Bruno, California, to a gardener father and a medical secretary mother.
Her first on-screen appearance was in the 1968 film “Bullitt,” according to her IMDb page, though she was uncredited. She also appeared in “American Graffiti,” “The Rockford Files,” and “One Day at a Time.”
Then, in 1977, she was cast as one of the female leads in ABC’s “Three’s Company.” Somers would go on to play Chrissy Snow – the ditzy blonde opposite John Ritter and Joyce DeWitt in the roommate comedy – in 100 episodes of the show.
In 1980, after four seasons, she asked for a raise from $30,000 an episode to $150,000 an episode, which would have been comparable to what Ritter was getting paid. Her husband, Alan Hamel, a former television producer, had encouraged the ask.
“The show’s response was, ‘Who do you think you are?’” Somers told People in 2020. “They said, ‘John Ritter is the star.’”
She was soon fired and her character was replaced by two different roommates for the remaining years the show aired. It also led to a rift with her co-stars; they didn’t speak for many years. Somers did reconcile with Ritter before his death, and then with DeWitt on her online talk show.
She also played Sheriff Hildy Granger in “She’s the Sheriff,” which ran for 44 episodes in the late 1980s. Somers then took a break, pursuing new avenues, including a Las Vegas act, writing books, hosting a talk show, and becoming an entrepreneur. In the 1990s, she also became the spokesperson for the “Thighmaster.”
Then, Somers became Carol Foster Lambert in “Step by Step,” a “Brady Bunch”-like sitcom that first aired in 1991.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.