Loni Anderson auditioned for the part of Chrissy.
Although the role of Chrissy Snow would ultimately be given to Suzanne Somers, Loni Anderson auditioned for the part as well. But that didn't stop her from success--she would go on to play Jennifer Marlowe on the sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati, which landed her both Emmy and Golden Globe nominations.
There were three pilot episodes made for the show.
The third time is the charm when it comes to Three's Company. ABC rejected the first two pilots submitted by the show, but finally picked up the third. It aired on March 15, 1977.
Billy Crystal auditioned for the part of Jack.
Billy Crystal auditioned for the lead role that eventually went to John Ritter. But looking back, it didn't seem to hurt Crystal's rise to stardom at all!
The theme song was by the same composer who did Sesame Street.
Although Three's Company was a far cry from the educational entertainment of Sesame Street, composer Joe Raposo wrote the theme song for both shows--as well as The Electric Company.
Stanley Roper was based on a real person.
Mr. Roper is landlord to the three rommates, but he wasn't a complete work of fiction. Norman Fell, the actor who portrayed Roper, said the character was based on a guy he knew in Philadelphia who "just can't do things right...and yet he thought he was the cat's meow."
Jeffrey Tambor had roles as three different characters.
Late in the run of Three's Company, actor Jeffrey Tambor played three wildly different characters--a rich man, a psychiatrist, and a dentist. None of the characters ever seemed to notice that the three looked suspiciously similar.
Suzanne Somers left the show because she wanted John Ritter's salary.
When Suzanne Somers attempted to negotiate a better contract, things went south for her role on the show. Somers, who was already making $30,000 an episode, wanted the $150,000 per episode that John Ritter got. Negotiations broke down, her cast mates stopped speaking to her, and eventually her character Chrissy was written out of the show entirely.
Heather Locklear had an embarrassing audition.
After Suzanne Somers left the show, producers were looking for someone to replace her. And that person was definitely not Heather Locklear. In an interview, Locklear said that she was worried about sweating during the audition, so she had Kleenex under her arms. When she left the room, she heard laughter and realized the Kleenex had been slipping out of her shirt. Needless to say, she didn't get the role.
John Ritter’s son made an appearance on the show.
In the opening credits for the later seasons, you can see a child run up to Janet at the zoo. That child was John Ritter's son, Jason--who was trying to escape his mother's gaze at the time. The encounter made actress Joyce DeWitt laugh, so they decided to keep it in.
John Ritter accidentally flashed the camera in one episode.
Even in 2001, there were still fans watching reruns of Three's Company on Nick at Nite. One eagle-eyed viewer noticed that in one scene, John Ritter's short shorts didn't quite keep their "cargo" out of sight. There's still debate about exactly what gets seen in this shot, but Nick at Nite made edits just to be safe.
Stanley Roper got his own spin-off.
After season three, landlord Stanley Roper and his wife got their own spin-off, The Ropers. At first, actor Normal Fell didn't want to, but he was assured that if the show didn't make it more than one year, he could return to Three's Company. Unfortunately, the show didn't do well, but it did hang on for a year and a half, which meant that Roper would never return to the original.
Suzanne Somers was hired at the last minute.
Lots of actresses auditioned for the role of Chrissy Snow, but producers didn't see anyone they liked. By a stroke of luck, they happened to rewatch Suzanne Somers' audition tape the day before production began and decided to give her a shot.
The cast almost sang the theme song.
In what can only be described as the worst idea to come from Three's Company, producers decided that they wanted Ritter, DeWitt, and Somers to sing the theme song. Thankfully, they weren't up to the job, and actual singers Ray Charles (not the one you're thinking of) and Julia Miller were brought in instead.
John Larroquette had a memorable guest appearance on the show.
John Larroquette (who would go on to star in Night Court) got a role on Three's Company as a police officer in one episode. While his face wasn't supposed to be seen, Larroquette removed his police hat while filming so that people could see who he was.
Somers departure from the show hurt her friendship with Ritter and DeWitt.
After things went sour for Somers and she left the show, her co-stars didn't connect again for years. However, things started to go badly even before her departure. DeWitt and Ritter apparently wouldn't speak to Somers on set.
Suzanne Somers shows up in the credits wearing a wig.
In the original credits for the show, John Ritter rides past a beautiful brunette woman and subsequently crashes his bike. That woman was actually Suzanne Somers in a wig!
You can see boom mics and other equipment in multiple episodes.
Three's Company was a professional production, but that doesn't mean a few errors didn't slip through the cracks. In multiple episodes, you're likely to catch a glimpse of an errant boom mic or a disembodied crew member's hand making its way into the shot.
Jack Tripper got his own spin-off.
After the end of Three's Company, ABC attempted a spin off called Three's a Crowd. It involved Jack Tripper moving in with his new girlfriend. Like the other Three's Company spin off, this one didn't last long.
Pricilla Barnes got in trouble for her hair being “too blonde.”
After Somers' character Chrissy was written out of the show, she was replaced by Cindy...and after Cindy was written out of the show, she was replaced by Terri (portrayed by Priscilla Barnes). According to Barnes, she was scolded by the producers multiple times for dyeing her hair "too blonde."
The main cast didn’t meet until the night of the first taping.
Because Suzanne Somers was such a last-minute addition to the cast, the three stars of the show didn't actually meet or act with one another until the first night of taping!
Jack Tripper is the only character to appear in every episode.
The show may have had three stars, but John Ritter was clearly number one. His character, Jack, is the only one to appear in every episode of the show.
Don Knotts was nervous when he got hired by the show.
After the departure of the Ropers, classic actor Don Knotts was brought in to be the new landlord. Surprisingly, Knotts said that he was nervous at first because the show was already so popular and the cast so funny. Interestingly enough, many of the cast felt equally nervous about working with Knotts, since he was already such an established actor.
Suzanne Somers lied about her age.
John Ritter and Joyce DeWitt said that Somers told them she was 17 when she had her son, who was 11 at the time. That would have made her 28. However, when you consider her birthday and the start date of the show, at the very least, she was in her 30s when she said this.
The show didn’t get its name until the last minute.
The producers later revealed that the pilot episode was written before they had decided on a name for the show. three's Company might have been a last-minute idea, but it worked!
Joyce DeWitt was unhappy she wasn’t a part of the spin-off.
As producers were planning the spin-off, Three's a Crowd, they tried to keep it on the down low. However, Joyce DeWitt accidentally walked in on the auditions, and when she discovered she wasn't going to be a part of the show, tensions between her and the rest of the cast and crew began to rise.
Suzanne Somers was replaced twice.
After Somers left the show because of contract disputes, her character Chrissy was replaced by Chrissy's cousin, Cindy (played by Jenilee Harrison). After poor performance numbers, Cindy was also replaced, this time by Terri (played by Priscilla Barnes).
Chrissy’s full name is “Christmas Noelle Snow.”
For whatever reason, producers wanted Chrissy to have an absurdly Christmas-themed name. Her full name is "Christmas Noelle Snow."
The stars of the show didn’t talk to each other for almost 30 years afterward.
It would be almost 30 years before the stars of Three's Company would reconcile. Somers and DeWitt made up publicly on Somers' talk show, and apparently she and Ritter also reconciled shortly before his death.
Larry Dallas was just supposed to be a one-time guest character.
Character Larry Dallas (played by Richard Kline) was only supposed to be in one episode. But producers loved the chemistry between Kline and Ritter so much that Larry became a mainstay on Three's Company.
The characters rented their apartment for only $300 per month.
Despite the fact that they are renting a large, two-bedroom apartment in Santa Monica, the three roommates only pay $300 per month in rent. You'd never see that happen in real life these days!