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Suzanne Somers is an American actress known for her role in the TV sitcom Three’s Company as well as for promoting health and fitness books and equipment.
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The pair played newlyweds who create a new family, bringing together the children from their previous relationships. While many critics did not like the show, it became a staple on ABC’s popular Friday night comedy lineup for many years.
Somers published her first diet book, Suzanne Somers’ Eat Great, Lose Weight, in 1997. After her series went off the air the following year, she continued to build up her business, writing another autobiography, After the Fall: How I Picked Myself Up,
Dusted Myself Off, and Started All Over Again (1998) and several more diet books.
In March 2001, Somers revealed that she had been battling breast cancer during an appearance on Larry King Live. She made the announcement in response to some tabloid rumors that she got liposuction to look good. The surgery, Somers explained, had been to fix some swelling related to her medical treatments. “Saying the words publicly out loud—‘I have breast cancer’—rocked my soul,” she later said, according to People magazine. The news broke at the same time as Somers was promoting her latest health and fitness title, Eat, Cheat, and Melt the Fat Away.
Somers had been diagnosed with breast in April 2000, and doctors performed a lumpectomy. After surgery, Somers had radiation treatment, but she decided against having chemotherapy. She chose to take an alternative treatment called Iscador. Her course of treatment soon became a subject of public debate with some doctors and others criticizing Somers for her actions. She was also chastised for continuing to take hormones after her treatments against her doctors’ advice.
In July 2003, Somers tried her hand at the Broadway stage, starring in the autobiographical one-woman show, The Blonde in the Thunderbird. The show received mostly negative reviews and closed after only a few weeks.
Again caught up in controversy, Somers emerged as an advocate for bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. She believes that these natural, plant-based hormones have anti-aging properties and has promoted them in her two books, The Sexy Years (2004) and Ageless (2006). In 2007, Somers did knowledge some of the safety issues in an interview with Discover. “What bioidenticals have to offer me, I know is dangerous. . . . I don’t want fall into a life of sleeplessness and sexlessness and illness and depression and all the diseases that are by-products of the loss of hormones. I’m willing to take a risk.”
That same year, Somers faced a personal hardship. She and her husband lost their Malibu, California home during a wildfire in January. Fortunately, the couple was not home at the time. Somers issued a statement at the time, in which she said “My nature is to look at the glass half-full. . . We will rebuild, and I truly believe we will learn something great from this experience.”
Upon learning that actress Christina Applegate had breast cancer in 2008, Somers wrote her a letter offering her support.
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Few people know the challenges that go along with fighting breast cancer. Aside from the powerful women who have to fight the illness, family, friends and colleagues band together during these trying times as well. And those women who survive the hardships that go along with the affliction—particularly those in the public eye, such as Nancy Reagan, Melissa Etheridge and Wanda Sykes—become inspirations for women everywhere to get checked regularly and stand up to breast cancer. Browse through our group to see the courageous women who triumphed in their fight against breast cancer.
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