Joyce DeWitt can now star in One’s Company

R.I.P. Suzanne Somers, the thigh mistress, who has now finally achieved complete parity with John Ritter.


Did you know that she appeared on The Dating Game in 1974? Three’s Company didn’t start until 1977, but by the time she appeared on that game show she had already appeared as “Blonde in T-Bird” in American Graffiti, and had appeared uncredited as the topless pool girl in Magnum Force, as seen below.

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Film Nudity

Suzanne appeared topless in Magnum Force (1973), which was lensed several years before she became a household name in Three’s Company.


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Posed shots

  • In 1972, she had posed for a poster that was used to sell water skis, a fact of which the company is duly proud. That highly respected company is still in business, and recently crowed that “they knew her first.”

    Suzanne was unknown at the time, so the topless image attracted little notice, but High Society magazine found it and published it in 1978, after she had become famous.

  • Suzanne had done some test shots for Playboy in 1970. They did not select her for the publication at the time, but they ended up publishing the photos in 1980, after she had become famous.

    Suzanne got in hot water when they came out, because she had claimed on the Tonight Show that she had never posed nude except for the one modest topless shot that had recently appeared in High Society. She admitted posing for a Playboy photographer, but claimed that her session had consisted solely of swimsuit modeling. Nobody has been able to figure out why she chose to fib about that while the photographer was still alive and able to contradict her. Playboy ran the photos, and her statement was exposed as a blatant lie.

    She dug her hole even deeper when she tried to spin the situation. She tried to divert attention from the fact that she had falsely denied the existence of the nude photos by changing the subject and saying that Playboy had published the photos without her permission. Once again, her deception was easily fact-checked. Playboy had paid her $3,000 for the session, and always got signed releases for every model, so they not only had her permission, but actually had explicit permission in writing!

  • Despite her lawsuit against Playboy over the 1980 issue, Suzanne was back in Playboy in 1984, this time in a (tame) spread that she controlled.

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And then there was Thighmaster

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8 thoughts on “Joyce DeWitt can now star in One’s Company

  1. Very good as Chrissy Snow, until her ego got out of control & she demanded the same pay as Ritter. It remains one of the dumbest celeb decisions I’ve ever heard of – the show was #1 when she got herself fired. The result for her acting career was that she ended up, for a time, as Peter Funt’s co-host on Candid Camera. That’s about as bad as it gets.

    But she deserves a ton of credit for keeping herself in the public consciousness non-stop, and making tons of money off a cheesy fitness product. Victoria Principal similarly became a businesswoman after she quit Dallas, and has been mega rich for decades. Compare them to Joyce DeWitt, who steadfastly remained loyal to the show but at this point has about $2 to her name and probably no credits except occasional 3’s Company reunions.

    1. It would probably be a mistake to think that people go to Hollywood to be in some kind of acclaimed show instead of making money. Do you want a job that pays you little, but is for a “respected” company or would you rather have a much higher paying job in a company no one knows about?

      She clearly always made business decisions and ended up very rich. Her move with that show may not have worked out very well, but she made up for it by amassing a small fortune shortly thereafter. Those in Hollywood that actively work to promote and advance their business do a lot better than those that sit around waiting for Hollywood to offer them a role in an Oscar-worthy film. Miss Somers was one of the more intelligent people in Hollywood.

      1. I don’t think I ever saw her again after she left Three’s Company, except in her posed pics and ThighMaster commercials. I know she starred in She’s The Sheriff and Step by Step, but I never watched those.

        According to some published reports, she made 300 million dollars on ThighMaster, so you can’t fault her business savvy if that number is even close to accurate.

        1. That’s 150 million per thigh!
          But instead of “got herself fired,” can’t we say “stood up for pay equality, and was punished for it?” According to Wikipedia, Somers (and, presumably, DeWitt) were being paid about a fifth of what John Ritter was making.

          1. It’s even more lop-sided if you count – Who’s here for zany sitcom hijinks? vs Who’s here for T&A?

          2. The courts didn’t side with her, to say the least. The network had offered a raise of $5,000 per episode, from $30k to $35K, which would have amounted to an annual raise of $110,000, from $660,000 to $770,000.

            Instead, the court awarded her $30,000, and that was only because she hadn’t been paid for one episode, so basically she got nothing – that award just restored her to her old base pay of $660,000 over the course of the season. When she finished paying off the lawyers, she must have lost a small fortune. None of the appeals did any better, so she continued to pay lawyers throughout the appeals process, and got no additional compensation.

            There were two main reasons why her “equal pay” spin was all wet:

            First, she didn’t ask for equal pay for her and DeWitt. It was just for her. It wasn’t a feminist thing or an equal pay for women thing. It was a Suzanne Somers cash grab.

            Second, she didn’t negotiate in good faith. During the negotiations she was doing what she did throughout her career – lying about everything, as she did to Carson about the nude pics, as she did to the press about Playboy not having her consent. In this case, her lies consisted of calling in sick with all manner of fake ailments. Finally the producers just got sick of that and wrote around her. It is really a surprise that she was considered toxic in the broadcast industry for years after this debacle?

            The bottom line was that she thought she was worth more than she was getting paid, while the network said that she wasn’t worth that and they weren’t going to pay that. Since she wasn’t willing to work for the salary offered for her job, they let her go and hired somebody else who would work for the wage being offered. If she had been right about her worth, the network would have been doing a favor by letting her go, thus freeing her to earn what she deserved. I don’t know whether it worked out that way because I don’t know what she was making in her Vegas act.

            To be fair, she probably was worth as much or more than Ritter. I’m guessing that Nature Mom is right in that more people watched this for Suzanne being funny-dumb and jiggling than for John Ritter falling down a lot and doing his cut-rate Chevy Chase impression. Somers had become a TV superstar and appeared on magazine covers everywhere. I think the network was just afraid of setting a negotiation precedent that would open the floodgates.

            The network execs were right about those floodgates, of course. Not too many years later, the main cast members of Friends, who had started at $22,500 per episode (less than Somers made when she quit) were getting paid a million per episode. Somers, Ritter and DeWitt might have been able to pull off a similar coup if they had worked together.

            To a great extent, the wild inflation of salaries post-Somers is what created the modern world of reality shows, which always remain affordable. Networks love shows where nobody is a pain-in-the-ass star or a bigger-pain-in-the-ass writer and the participants are all happy to take the meager scraps offered by the producers.

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