Suzanne Somers is the third of four children born to Frank and Marion Mahoney. Her father worked loading beer onto boxcars, and her mother was a homemaker. She grew up living in constant fear of being hurt or even killed at the hands of her verbally and physically abusive alcoholic father. She was diagnosed with dyslexia when she was young, and was a poor student. She excelled, however, in the arts and was active in her school’s theater program. She won a music scholarship to college, but became pregnant after six months. She married the baby’s father, “Bruce Somers”, and her only child, Bruce Somers, was born in November 1965. She was unhappy in her marriage and began an affair with her former drama teacher. Her husband found out about it and the marriage ended after just two years, in 1967. A single mom, she turned to modeling in San Francisco to support herself and her son. She also distanced herself from her family because her older brother and sister by then were also alcoholics. In 1968, she won a job as a prize model on a game show hosted by her future husband, Alan Hamel, who was married at the time. The two began dating, and she became pregnant while Hamel was still married. They came to the conclusion that Suzanne should have an abortion, from which she suffered severe bleeding for several days. In 1971, her son Bruce was severely injured when he was hit by a car, and the therapist counseling him only charged the struggling Suzanne $1 per week. Suzanne herself also underwent therapy to overcome the problems of her dysfunctional childhood. In the early 1970s, she landed minor roles in film and TV, and finally won a role on the series Three’s Company (1976), where she modeled her character after Dick Clark’s wife. She married Hamel in 1977. She was fired from the series after she asked for a raise at the beginning of the fifth season. She then headed to Las Vegas, where she performed extensively in the mid-1980s. In 1986, she began writing her autobiography, “Keeping Secrets”, which was later made into a TV movie. In 1991, Suzanne landed the role of “Carol Foster”, opposite Patrick Duffy, on the TV series Step by Step (1991). Since the end of that show, she has begun co-hosting the series Candid Camera (1992).
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