Suzanne Somers, now the queen of infomercials and other TV sales pitches, first came to national attention as the T-Bird-driving fantasy blond Richard Dreyfuss falls in love with but never speaks to in "American Graffiti."
She went on to co-star in the hugely popular sitcom "Three's Company" in 1977 until she was dropped during the show's fifth season after a widely publicized salary dispute. Somers did more series--"She's the Sheriff" and "Step by Step"--TV movies and Vegas, but in the 1990s her career became less about acting and more involved with selling her signature products, including exercise apparatus, jewelry, sugarless chocolates and diet books. Not surprisingly, she now has an e-commerce site (http://www.suzannesomers.com).
Earlier this year, Somers, who is married to former TV pitchman Alan Hamel, disclosed that she had breast cancer. Although she had surgery and radiation therapy, she declined to follow medical advice that she also have chemotherapy, electing instead to undergo homeopathic treatments.
DESKTOP: It has a Mitsubishi screen and a Keytronics keyboard. I don't know what kind it is--I just sit in front of it and work all the time. I have the same one in L.A. and Palm Springs so that they can be hooked together. [Her office said the networked computer system was custom-designed by Total Technologies].
I can check in any time on our Web site. I found if I go to a Web site that I like and there have been no changes, I'll stop going after awhile. My site changes every day. I also do two live chats on it a month.
At my site you can get the ThighMaster, the ButtMaster, my books, the chocolate truffles, and that's just the beginning.
Q. Do you use the computer for e-mail?
Every day, mostly for business. I don't have a lot of time to send social e-mail--I run the jewelry and apparel divisions of my company and that's where the time goes. I send a lot of e-mail to Taiwan and China because that's where most of the jewelry is made and to India for the clothing.
I also e-mail the writer Leslie Bricusse in the south of France--he's written a musical, "Sunday Dallas," I hope to do.
Q. What else do you use the desktop for?
Writing my books. I've written eight, the first five by longhand. It was carpal tunnel that forced me onto a computer. My son--he was about 28 at the time--is a computer nerd and he taught me. Whenever I would get frustrated he would say to me, "Mom, you have to remember there's a little guy in there and you can't let the [expletive] win."
LAPTOP: A Sony Vaio, which I love except that the battery does not last long enough, so I carry six batteries. Flying is not down time anymore.
Sometimes I do my best writing in a plane or a car. There is something about the lack of distraction and the movement. My husband drove me all around the south of France and I never saw it.
Q. You wrote a book while he was driving through the French countryside?
It was sick. But I had a deadline. They don't care if you see France, they don't care if they see your underpants. They just want that book on time.
HANDHELD: I want to get one. I'm a great list maker and I think it's great for that. It's my next purchase.
BOOKMARKED SITES: Amazon for buying books, Drugstore.com for toiletries. I look on the Internet as a store, not just because I have a site. I don't have time to go to the store, so it's a great place for me to shop.
If I'm just going on the Internet for fun I might go to Martha Stewart and see what she is doing that day. I'm not thrilled when she is stenciling the floor, but show me a good souffle recipe and I get turned on.
Sometimes I go to the chat room on my site and then three hours later I'll look in again and some of the same women are there. As a working woman, I don't have time for that.
Q. Do you sometimes drop in on their conversations?
Sometimes. Maybe someone will say something about me and I'll go on and say, "Why would you say that about Suzanne? She is so nice."
Q. On your site you write about your choice of an alternative treatment for your cancer.
Yes. What I tell people is that I am not against conventional treatments--I had conventional treatments for the cancer. I just made a choice to go with something else for part of my therapy. It was a personal choice. I don't advocate it for anyone else.
Q. If the alternative therapy you've chosen doesn't work out, will you go back to Western methods?
HOME THEATER: We are building a room to put in a home theater. Right now we have a large-screen TV, surround sound and TiVo. We just got the TiVo and I am still figuring out how to make it work.
--As told to DAVID COLKER