Did you tune in every week? We did! Cue memorable theme song. We watched to see who was going to come to the door of Three’s Company and stir up the lives of the cast. It was a classic hit that swept the nation, season after season. The cast shot to fame with the great success of the hit series. Actors like John Ritter, Suzanne Somers, and Joyce DeWitt became household names. Where are these stars now? What are they doing today?
Chrissy Snow is a Showstopper
Stunner Suzanne Somers played Chrissy Snow. Chrissy was the ultimate ditzy blonde (and a bit of a klutz) but everyone adored her. The three flatmates meet up at a party where Chrissy spikes the punch. They became best friends straight away. Thanks to Chrissy they meet. Cheers, Chrissy! She famously got the Three’s Company trio to meet.
In fact, Suzanne was nearly not chosen to play the part. Days before filming started they were still auditioning for the part. The producers were undecided about who would play Chrissy! They passed over Loni Anderson but when they saw Somers’ audition tape they just knew they had found Chrissy. It was the day before the show started!
Drama drama drama! When Somers found out that John was coining it big and making $150 000 per episode compared to her $30 000 Somers complained to management. It was a standoff. They did not budge. Chrissy was finished. She came in before the cast arrived to pre-record phone calls. (She was visiting relatives and only her voice was on the show.) John and Joyce stopped talking to Somers and the feud lasted 30 years.
Suzanne Somers Makes It Big
Leaving the show didn’t stop Somers star rising. She became world famous acting in movies and TV and was the Thighmaster queen. Did you watch Step-By-Step? Somers was the apple of America’s eye as the Mom. She also played the part of a sheriff in an 80’s sitcom She’s The Sheriff. Suzanne has gone on to develop health products, books and is an international celebrity. She has helped raised cancer awareness and beaten breast cancer twice.
Janet Wood was the Peacemaker
Janet’s parents were Italian and she came from Indiana. Janet was a little insecure having to live up to her glam roommate Chrissy but she was the responsible and reliable one. Did you know that it was Janet who convinced Mr. Roper that Jack was gay? If she hadn’t done that he wouldn’t have been able to live there. Janet was the opposite of Chrissy and not a ditzy. Janet worked as a florist and always tells Jack off if he in hot water.
Joyce DeWitt and Janet Are the Same
Well, Joyce’s Mom was of Italian descent and she also came from Indiana. DeWitt went on to star in an off-Broadway show Miss Abigail’s Guide to Dating, Mating, and Marriage and acted in Renaissance Man (2016). Joyce also does a lot of charity work and works towards hunger relief programs and helping the homeless. In 2003 she contributed to Behind the Camera: The Unauthorized Story of Three’s Company.
They Found Him in a Bathtub
Jack Tripper was the star of the show and John Ritter the most famous member of the three. The audience was always in on the joke when the landlord was trying to test Jack and he had to pretend to be gay. It meant many funny laughs out aloud moments because he was also a bit klutzy and everyone loved him. It was light comic relief that contrasted perfectly with any of the more serious moments of the show.
John Ritter is a Famous TV Dad
John Ritter was very successful and starred in many shows after Three’s Company ended. In fact, there was a spin-off Three’s A Crowd, too. He was also in Hearts Afire, and played Paul Hennessy in 8 Simple Rules For Dating My Teenage Daughter. Always the amazing Dad, he played a protective teen’s father very well. Sadly Ritter passed away in 2003 while he was working on the show. The cast of Three’s Company was shocked and saddened to hear the tragic news. The show had been such a big part of their lives. They were like family and, like any family, there was drama too…
The Blue and Pink Scripts
In fact, there was so much tension between Somers and her coworkers that the producers made color-coded scripts. Blue showed when Chrissy was going to be in a scene, and pink, if she was not. It meant that Knotts, Ritter, and DeWitt could prepare for scenes with her.
Larry Dallas: The Ladies Man
Richard Kline played the part of Jack’s best friend and was their upstairs neighbor. Mr. Playboy, he was a sweet talker and always trying to pick up women. Originally he was only supposed to appear in one episode, but he was such a hit he starred in many. In fact, he also appeared in the spin-off shows. He was a used salesman whose risqué banter added to the humor on the show, even using Jack’s name to pick up woman, he was a fan favorite.
Richard Kline Takes on Broadway
Richard Kline was a classically trained singer and made his Broadway debut in 1990 starring in City of Angels (musical). He also worked in Hollywood after the show and was on Step By Step, The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Gilmore Girls. He started off acting in theater and also directed TV shows. He was in Death of a Salesman and Love’s Labor’s Lost. (Lincoln Center Repertory Company.)
Ralph Furley is The Perfect Replacement
Comedic genius Don Knotts was the perfect replacement for Fell, playing Ralph Furley. Furley was a more gullible character than Roper and thought he was a great catch too. The audience loved him and the way that he fell for the escapades of Jack, Janet and Chrissy kept the laughs rolling in. Everyone might wish their landlord was like Ralph. The four characters become great friends and get over the original lie that Jack was gay.
A “Don Knotts” type Character
Don was the exact type of actor they wanted to play the part of Ralph. The producers were huge fans and got lucky. They reached out to Don who contacted them straight away. The wheels were quickly set in motion. They didn’t need a ‘ Don-like” character they had the real thing.
Legendary Don Knotts
Spanning a 50-year career the genius talents of Don Knotts can be seen shows like Johnny Bravo, Matlock, and the Andy Griffith Show. His last appearance ways in Air Buddies in 2006, the same year that he passed away. From his start in the 1950’s on Search For Tomorrow to his later work, Don’s creative energy, unique facial expressions, and comedy genius will always be remembered in Hollywood.
Don Knotts Sides With Suzanne Somers
Don had had the same experience as Suzanne when he filmed the Andy Griffith Show. Don was a good guy on screen and off, and could relate to the stunning beauty. He was a good friend to her and very loyal to Somers. When the cast was filming a scene he would tell John and Joyce, “Excuse me, I’m going to talk to Susan.” He had experienced how lonely it could be.
From Sesame Street to Three’s Company
Joe Raposo is a talented songwriter who wrote the theme songs for Sesame Street and The Electric Company. Can you hear the jingle? I can! Here’s a fun fact – originally the cast was supposed to sing the vocals but they were not good enough! Instead, the vocal talents of Ray Charles (Not the same one!) and Julia Rinker made the theme song unforgettable. Can you hear it? Sing along now!
Stanley Roper was a Real Man
Norman Fell was inspired by a real person he had met. Fell used this man to shape his character, Stanley Roper. Norman remarked that this man “…thought he was the cat’s meow. He thought he was attractive, liked his clothes. He thought people were looking at him because of how well=preserved he looked. He thought he was all things he’s not.” Meow! What silly man he was!
Keeping the Laughs Coming
Stanley Roper was the landlord and married to Helen. The character was always bugging the trio to pay the rent on time and very worried about how their apartment looked. He was also famous for being mean with money and called “the cheapest man alive” by Jack, Janet, and Chrissy. When he wasn’t with them he was being nagged by his wife, Helen, for a little candlelight and romance. Oblivious to her attention, he was distracted by his lovely tenants.
Did Norman Fell Fall from Fame?
Norman Fell was a huge part of the success of Three’s Company and brought his own witty sense of humor to the screen. He was replaced with Don Knotts after a few seasons. Norman went on to work in other classic series on television. Did you watch Matlock? Magnum P.I.? You would have seen Norman in these shows as well as Catch 22, The Boys, and The Naked Truth. Sadly Norman Fell passed away in 1998 only a year before his retirement.
Jeffrey Tambor Played Three Parts
Jeffrey Tambor played the part of millionaire playboy Winston Cromwell III, then changed and played Dr. Tom Miller before finally being dentist Phillip Green. Green was dumped by Terri. Tambor was the face of Sabra and Oscar Bluth in Arrested Development.
John Ritter Goes Nuts
John Ritter was unstoppable and always funny. In fact when a female fan pointed out that John had accidentally exposed himself in one episode (One of his testicles had fallen out of his shorts) John was in good form, saying “…sometimes you feel like a nut, and sometimes you don’t.” Nickelodeon was quick to cut the scene but Ritter actually asked them to keep both episodes in syndication.
Norman Fell is Reluctant to Leave
The Ropers was a spin-off series to Three’s Company and was Fell’s big break. Or, would it be? Fell was reluctant to leave and his TV wife Audrey Lindley suggested a stipulation that could work. Fell could come back if the series lasted less than a year. As luck would have it the producers and audiences loved Don Knotts too much and Norman could not return.
Jason Ritter makes his Debut
John Ritter’s son Jason was in the opening credits of Three’s Company during season 6 to 8. He was thrilled to see his Dad on set and they decided to keep Jason around. It made DeWitt and the cast happy. Jason is an actor and has been on hit TV series. Have you seen Joan of Arcadia, or The Event? Jason is also in Parenthood. Like father, like son.
Third Time Lucky
Originally Jack’s character was an aspiring actor. This version of the script was written by a M*A*S*H writer and produced by Larry Gelbart. It was a flop. All In The Family writer and Don Nichols, Michael Ross and Bernard West (producers) had a go next. Still a disaster. In 1997, March 15, the pilot of Three’s Company, as we know it, aired.
A Homage to Tex
John Ritter was a family man and proud son. He would quote lines his famous father had said, in the script, like “Well, you know you have to learn to trot before you can gallop….who said that?” It was a little inside joke that the audience loved and honored his father, Tex Ritter.
Who is the hot beach babe that John sees in the opening credits of the show? The leggy brunette is so distracting that Jack falls off his bike after veering off the road. Well, the sexy beach mystery girl is actually Suzanne Somers but in a brunette wig! Stunning as a blonde and brunette, Somers has a secret second role.
They’ll Never Notice
After attempting to land the role of Chrissy and being passed over, actress Suzie Lanier-Bramlett landed the closing credits in the sitcom tossing bread at the seagulls. Producers figured it wasn’t necessary to spend money to re-shoot the scene, so they just kept it.
Enter Terri Alden
After Somers’ rather public exit from the show, producers decided to replace her with another blonde in an attempt to keep up the show’s chemistry. Priscilla Barnes seemed to be the perfect solution, as she was young, blonde, and attractive, just like her predecessor. Priscilla was brought on to play Terri Alden, a nurse at a local hospital who moves into the apartment during the sixth season of the show. Unlike the blonde before her though, the writers decided to make Terri a “smart blonde” and “woman with brains”. Not everything was smooth sailing on the show for Priscilla though, as we’ll see later.
That’s Not the Last You’ll See of Larry Dallas
Initially, the character of Larry Dallas was supposed to only be a one-time appearance, but after seeing the onscreen chemistry between Ritter and Kline, producers decided to keep him on and eventually make him part of the core cast.
Laughed out of the room
When Somers left Heather Locklear auditioned for the part. In fact, she was pretty nervous. It was a huge role. She was running late and sweating profusely so did what any girl in a tight spot may do. She stuffed Kleenex into her armpits to keep her silk blouse from being ruined. During her audition, the Kleenex’s kept appearing. Her audition was met with a stunned silence followed by howls of laughter when she left the room.
Miserable Miss Barnes
Actress Priscilla Barnes was professional on screen but behind the scenes, there was a lot of drama. There was so much tension between the cast members that she wasn’t happy at all on the show. From the first day of filming, she felt that she wasn’t a good fit. Barnes told E! True Hollywood that it was “the three worst years of my life.” Cut. Yowzer.
Priscilla after Three’s Company
After leaving “Three’s Company” Priscilla continued acting. Have you seen License to Kill? Priscilla also starred in The Devil’s Rejects and in Disaster Wars: Earthquake vs. Tsunami. Three’s Company may have been a disaster for Priscilla personally but professionally it was a great experience. Recently she appeared on ‘Jane the Virgin’ as Magda.
The Ropers on syndication
The Ropers was one of the spin-off series to Three’s Company. It lasted for less than a year but also went into syndication. Only two episodes are featured in syndication. They are the pilot episode and one starring Ritter, DeWitt, and Somers.
Like many shows, there are adaptions of shows in other countries. Three’s Company was based on a British sitcom Man about the House. The shows are not the same at all but the format is similar – in the British show, two girls and a man share a flat together.
Keeping the Spin-Off Alive
It’s always so sad to see your favorite show end. What will you watch now? The characters become a part of your life. The producers cleverly waited until the finale night to air the premiere. It was a genius move and superb idea. However, it was not enough to keep the fans loyal and the spin-off show would die off.
Joyce DeWitt loves Pantyhose
Joyce Dewitt was a little obsessed, even refusing to be filmed without her beloved pantyhose. She was such a fan that she was approached by the hosiery brand L’eggs to endorse their product. Joyce firmly believed in putting her best foot forward every day. No panty lines for Ms. D.
Don Knotts Was Intimidated
Knotts was an experienced actor and had come from the Andy Griffith Show where they used one camera. On Three’s Company, they were using three. His nerves were rattled and the approach was all new. It was a modern and different approach compared to a single camera to look to. When he first appeared he received a 10-minute standing ovation. We’re sure he felt much calmer after that. Bravo Don!
The Graduate’s Famous Landlord
Playing a landlord was in Fell’s blood. He played Dustin Hoffman’s landlord in the Hollywood classic film The Graduate. It was easy work to play the new role of the landlord on Three’s Company; he was a natural and born to play the part.
Somers Phone Call Mayhem
Somers had to record her voice for her phone calls before her fellow crew members arrived on set. In fact, the phone calls were cut completely out of the show when it went to syndication. Can you spell t*e*n*s*i*o*n….we can. No surprise then that she left.
Who was the only character that appeared in every episode?
We know the answer! Do you? Hint: he is the star of the show. That’s right Jack was the only character that appeared in every single episode. Jack was never ‘away’ or calling via a phone, he was there and never missed a day. What a star and leading comedic talent! Mr. Rutter was loved by all.
The $100 Beach Shot
If you remember Chrissy was only cast the day before filming started. There was a rush to shoot and producers paid $100 to a Venice shop owner to film the scene. Cue, opening credits. Jack is riding his bike down the Venice boardwalk, as the catchy jingle starts to play, “Come and Knock on Our Door.” Anytime Jack. We’ll come around.
The Hacienda Palms was Real
Did you know that the Hacienda Palms is a real building complex in Santa Monica, California? If you pop by you won’t meet the Ropers but it is the home of the show. The producers obtained permission to film and made the Hacienda Palms instantly recognizable. If you like, you can visit them and take a trip down memory lane.
John Boy and The Walton’s
John Ritter played the part of Reverend Fordwich on the hit series. During the filming of the second episode, you can hear Jack say, “Goodnight John Boy.” It’s a famous line from The Walton’s series, and a little wink wink nudge, to John’s role on the show. You’ll have to watch again and appreciate the inside joke.
A Contagious Smile
There is something really wonderful about an actor that shows emotion in raw and pure way. Actor Norman Fell was a gifted actor who audiences felt a deep connection with. He showed true joy and humor, delivering his lines, laced with sarcasm and wit, directly to the camera. It was powerful stuff.
Billy Crystal Wants Some Company
When Billy Met the Ropers. Well, not exactly, but Billy Crystal originally auditioned for the part of Jack. We’re grateful he wasn’t chosen, a talented comedian that he is, because we love John Ritter as Jack. Could you imagine anyone else in that iconic role? We can’t.
The Clothing Audition
The producers had already asked Don Knotts to play the part of Furley but he was still asked to audition for the role. Actors are used to stepping into some else’s shoes and with Furley, Donn literally dressed the part. He wore a crazy outfit like Furley would wear, and although they weren’t his cup of tea at all, he was amazing and totally in character. Well done Don.
A Recycled Audience
Before Three’s Company became a hit, like any other show, their budget was very tight. Actually, it stayed pretty tight in some areas. The “audience” is actually stock footage, and shots were recycled on every episode. It saved a lot of money.
The Rush to DVD
When John Ritter passed away in 2003, there were Three’s Company marathons played on TV. The studio rushed to make a Three’s Company DVD Collection. John was a famous American actor and the star of the show. People would want to buy and keep the iconic series.
Loni Anderson Takes a Shot
The part of Chrissy was something that many actresses dreamed about getting. Loni Anderson also auditioned for the role. Blonde and beautiful, she missed out to the stunning Suzanne Somers. Loni may have rocked her audition but Suzanne had that something extra they were looking for.
Somers Wanted Equality
Somers left the sitcom after demanding equal pay. Pay inequality exists in Hollywood and the public have become much more aware of the different salaries actors are paid. Ritter was the star of the sho and earned a great deal more than Chrissy’s role but it was a huge difference and Somers would not stand for it. She did take a stand, but, it meant leaving the show.
Replacing Chrissy was never going to be easy. Priscilla was told by the producers that she should darken hair, and that she should not appear “too blonde.” They didn’t want her to step into Chrissy’s shoes, and her hair was too similar.
The World May Never Know
You should never ask a lady her age and Suzanne Somers is a lady. She claims to have had her son when she was 17 years old, and to be 28 in 1974-5. Somers was born in 1946. We’re not sure if she lied about her age. Let’s leave it as a mystery number, you’re only as old as you feel, and Somers is young at heart. What could the story be?