Born Suzanne Marie Mahoney, Somers' big break came as the mysterious woman in the Thunderbird pursued by Richard Dreyfuss in Francis Ford Coppola's American Graffiti (1972). As a young un-wed mother, Somers turned to modeling and acting to support herself and her young son, Bruce. As Chrissy Snow on Three's Company, this blonde bombshell created a character that was the perfect mix of sex appeal and sweetness (though feminists and religious critics often labeled her character a dim-witted bimbo). As the buxom goof, Somers became a show favorite, and in 1978 won a People's Choice Award for Favorite Actress in a New Television Series.
With her popularity on the rise, Somers demanded a significant pay increase at the beginning of the 1980-81 season - a demand that led producers to write Chrissy off the show. Not one to sit around licking her wounds, Somers headed to Las Vegas where she developed a successful career performing on the strip throughout the 1980s. Step-By-Step (1991-1996), a sitcom co-starring Patrick Duffy, marked Somers' return to TV, and she also appeared in Keeping Secrets (1991), an autobiographical, made-for-TV movie that chronicled her painful childhood in an abusive, alcoholic household. A vocal advocate for women's health and alternative therapies, in 2001 she put those beliefs into practice when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. In recent years, Somers has become an accomplished entrepreneur, selling health and wellness products (remember the ThighMaster?), and penning a series of best-selling books on diet, fitness, and healthy aging. She appeared briefly on Broadway in 2005 in the one-woman show The Blonde in the Thunderbird, which closed after only a few months.
Somers has been married to her manager and business partner, Alan Hamel, since 1977.
One might think her parents were hippies given her odd name, but in truth Chrissy's the daughter of an evangelical minister. And there you have the contradiction that is Chrissy Snow - she has the body of a sinner, but the sweet-natured demeanor of an innocent. It's easy to peg her as nothing more than a ditzy blonde, with her snorting laugh and faulty logic, but she's always paying attention to what's going on around her, and often surprises everyone (including herself) with keen - if not off-kilter - observations. It's not easy being the in-house babe, but Chrissy works hard to have people appreciate her for who she is, not simply how she looks.