To call Suzanne Somers a superwoman would be stretching it. But she has undoubtedly maintained a vivid, uniquely American pop presence over her decades-long entertainment career, from her days playing Chrissy (Christmas) Snow on Three’s Company to writing numerous self help tomes to starring in The Blonde in the Thunderbird, a new play that puts her wide-ranging life in perspective (it premieres July 16 at the Brooks Atkinson Theater).
Why a one-woman show on Broadway? My life has been like one knockdown after another. I just keep getting up again and trying something new. I laugh at myself, and I let you laugh at the stupidity of my choices.
Why’s it called Blonde in the Thunderbird? Getting that one-line part in American Graffiti, $136.72, was a pivotal point that began a turnaround in my life.
You’ll deal with everything from an abusive alcoholic father to breast cancer. Everything. My therapist told me I had the lowest self-esteem of anyone she had ever met. I’m not like that now, so I can laugh at it. But I told these big lies to my husband about who I was. When you tie the violence of my childhood with the love story, it makes for pretty interesting drama and comedy.
Will folks expecting song and dance be turned off by your deeper messages of what it all means? Oh, no. You laugh most of the time. There’s a lot of singing, and my goofy kind of dancing. Chrissy Snow is alive in this show.
Is the ThighMaster in the show? Yes! I’m sitting on my bed right now and I’m looking at it. I probably should be using it, huh?
Do you miss playing Chrissy from Three’s Company? What I miss is that when they fired me for asking for equal pay, I was starting to be at the top of my form. I got the soul of her, the way she walked, the way she held her body, her moral code. It was like Jack and Janet were the parents, and Chrissy was the child. They worried about her, nurtured her, protected her. On a strange level on the show, I lived out the childhood I didn’t have.
Do you regret that you fell out with John Ritter for so many years? It breaks my heart. He was an incredible friend and teacher. To have let that go for so long without resolution is not my nature.
Your Web site is this mini-Walmart meets Martha Stewart meets George Foreman with maple vanilla grilling sauce and Trilliant bracelets. I’d like to take this all retail and open stores. But they always say if you wanna make God laugh, tell him your plans.
What’s Trilliant? I designed this bracelet for the Home Shopping Network. I gave one to (the actress) Line Renaud. She went to dine with Jacques Chirac and he couldn’t stop talking about the bracelet. I said, I hope you didn’t tell him it’s cubic zirconium.
That’s a rough gig, the HSN? Adlibbing for 25 hours straight is hard work, but I’m never bored. It’s like we all get together for a big pajama party. You can buy my pajamas, the bed I’m in, the canopy, the pillows, and anything I’m wearing.
Why do you seem so damn happy? I did the work. I didn’t let it get me down. I didn’t become a victim.
I saw somewhere that you and your husband watch adult movies. My head is so full of noise sometimes. I’ve got seven businesses, a new book, a new show. I have to yell at them to be quiet. So you switch the channels around and find something that takes your mind off the noise. Then you look at each other and say, “Hello there!”