Brett Somers, 83; Actress Was ‘Match Game’ Regular
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Brett Somers, 83, an actress and comedian who amused game show fans with her quips on the “Match Game” in the 1970s, died Sept. 15 at her home in Westport, Conn. She had stomach and colon cancer.
Hosted by Gene Rayburn, “Match Game” was the top game show during much of the 1970s. Contestants would try to match answers to nonsense questions with a panel of celebrities; much of the humor came from the racy quips and putdowns.
Shows from the 1973-79 run, featuring regulars such as Ms. Somers, Richard Dawson and Charles Nelson Reilly, are still seen on cable TV’s GSN (formerly Game Show Network.)
Ms. Somers married actor Jack Klugman, the future star of the television shows “Quincy, M.E.” and “The Odd Couple,” in 1953.
The two separated in 1974 but never divorced.
They made many television appearances as a couple. Ms. Somers appeared on several episodes of “The Odd Couple,” playing the ex-wife of Klugman’s character.
In summer 2003, she appeared in a one-woman cabaret show, “An Evening With Brett Somers,” which she wrote and co-produced.
Ms. Somers continued to perform after her cancer was diagnosed.
She was born Audrey Johnston in New Brunswick, Canada, and grew up in Portland, Maine.
She ran away from home at 17 and headed for New York, where she settled in Greenwich Village.
She changed her first name to Brett after the lead female character in the Ernest Hemingway novel “The Sun Also Rises.” Somers was her mother’s maiden name.
In addition to her husband, survivors include three children.