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Actress Brett Somers Dies at 83

Actress Brett Somers Dies at 83
Brett Somers
Brett Somers, an actress and comedienne best known for her years as a panelist on The Match Game, died on September 15, according to a notice on her personal web site. She was 83 and lived in Westport, Connecticut.

Born Audrey Sommers in New Brunswick, Canada, Brett Somers grew up near Portland, Maine. She moved to New York at age 18 to pursue a career in acting and eventually became a U.S. citizen. Somers began her career in the theater and made early television appearances in theatrical programs such as Philco Playhouse, Kraft Theater Playhouse 90 and Robert Montgomery Presents. Her Broadway debut, in the play Maybe Tuesday, lasted for five performances in 1958; elsewhere, she appeared onstage in Happy Ending, Seven Year Itch and The Country Girl opposite her spouse, Jack Klugman.

Somers and Klugman married in 1953 and had two sons, Adam and David; the actress also had a daughter, Leslie, from a previous marriage. She played the recurring role of Klugman's ex-wife, Blanche, in the TV version of The Odd Couple before the couple separated in 1974; they never divorced.

In the 1970s, Somers became well known as a regular on TV's The Match Game, in which she traded barbs with her close friend and fellow panelist Charles Nelson Reilly. When Klugman appeared on the first week of the show in 1973, he suggested that producers sign his wife as a regular. She was an immediate hit and remained on the panel for the rest of its nine-year run. In 2003, she shared anecdotes about her career and personal life in "An Evening with Brett Somers," a popular one-woman cabaret show that played at Danny's Skylight Room.

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