List of Three's Company characters
The following is a list of major characters in the television series Three's Company.
- 1 Jack Tripper
- 2 Janet Wood
- 3 Chrissy Snow
- 4 Cindy Snow
- 5 Terri Alden
- 6 Stanley Roper
- 7 Helen Roper
- 8 Ralph Furley
- 9 Larry Dallas
- 10 Lana Shields
- 11 References
Jack Tripper was played by the late John Ritter. The character is based upon the character Robin Tripp of Man About the House and Robin's Nest. Jack appeared on both Three's Company and Three's a Crowd.
Jack E. Tripper is a San Diego native who served in the United States Navy, in which he was a member of the boxing team. He was discovered in Janet Wood and Chrissy Snow's shower in Santa Monica on the morning after a party they threw, explaining, "I came with a friend who knew one of the gate-crashers." He previously lived at the YMCA and needed a place to stay, and the girls needed a new roommate to replace Eleanor, who had moved out. Janet reasoned with the landlord, Stanley Roper, who lived downstairs, and he agreed that Jack could stay because Janet told Mr. Roper that Jack was gay, without Jack's knowledge. Jack was, however, actually straight (the comedy stemming from having to "play gay" provided much of the story for the sitcom). He has an older brother named Lee who once came to visit the apartment (episode: "Lee ain't heavy, his my brother") and Jack displayed his feelings of inferiority when compared to Lee (Jack felt perpetually in his shadow when they were children). Jack & Lee's father, Jack Tripper Sr. (played by comedian Dick Shawn) appeared in the episode "Like father, like son". In the Season 7 episode "Extra, Extra", Jack's mother was played by actress Georgann Johnson.
Jack is known for being a klutz. Much of the character's humor is derived from slapstick comedy. He is extremely clumsy and accident-prone, and is well known for his comic pratfalls. Jack is something of a ladies' man, but is also kind-hearted, loyal and protective of the girls. Despite having been a boxer in the navy, he often cowered and allowed other men to bully him. Jack has his own bedroom while the two girls share a second bedroom. Jack has a poster of The Beatles, as they appeared late in their career, hanging on the wall above his bed.
Jack attended a local technical college on the G.I. Bill for a degree in culinary arts and held down odd jobs in his spare time. After completion of his schooling, he found full-time work as a chef working for a popular restaurateur named Frank Angelino (Jordan Charney). Later, with Angelino's help and financial support, he eventually opened his own restaurant, Jack's Bistro.
After Three's Company
When one of his roommates (Janet Wood) gets married to Phillip Dawson in the Three's Company series finale, Jack proposes to flight attendant Vicky Bradford. Even though she loves him, Vicky turns him down since she doesn't want to get married and wants them to live together instead. Jack refuses at first but then changes his mind and they move into the apartment above his bistro. Three's Company then ends and the spin-off series Three's a Crowd begins, with Vicky and Jack living above the bistro and Vicky's father having purchased the restaurant from Mr. Angelino.
Janet Wood was played by Joyce DeWitt.
Janet and her roommate Chrissy Snow (and later roommates Cindy Snow and Terri Alden) shared an apartment in Santa Monica, California, and needed a third roommate to pay the rent after their old roommate, Eleanor, just had her baby and just got married and then decided to move out. Janet and Chrissy found Jack Tripper sleeping in their shower after Eleanor's going-away party. Upon getting to know Jack, who was at the time staying at the local YMCA while in between residences, Janet and Chrissy asked him to be their new roommate. Their old-fashioned and curmudgeonly landlord, Stanley Roper, was not fond of the idea of a young man sharing an apartment with two young attractive women. However, Janet convinced Roper that Jack was gay to alleviate the landlord's concern about the living arrangement. Jack was allowed to move in under this guise.
Janet worked in and ultimately managed the Arcade Flower Shop. She is very fond of plants, which are seen throughout her apartment.
Janet is from Speedway, Indiana. She has a sister named Jenny and a brother whose name was never mentioned. She graduated from college, but her major was never revealed. She is the daughter of Ruth and Roland Wood. In the episode "Chrissy Come Home", Janet states that her father is of Italian descent. She speaks Italian, although not fluently (episode "Loan Shark"). (Like the character, DeWitt is from Speedway, Indiana and has a father of Italian descent.)
Janet is often depicted as the intelligent, "reliable" roommate as a counterpart to the more ditzy blondes Chrissy, Cindy and Terri, with early episodes focusing on her self-consciousness over being less endowed than her female roommates, or at being perceived as less spontaneous and sometimes acting and coping like Jack Tripper before Going out on a date.
In the episode leading to the series finale of Three's Company, she meets Philip Dawson at a reading of a will. In the series finale, she gets married to him in her apartment with Jack and Terri present. After Janet returns from her honeymoon, all three roommates (Terri, Jack, and Janet) leave the apartment to go their separate ways—Terri heads to Hawaii (but with no mention of the reason) and Jack moves in with Vicky Bradford above his bistro. One of Janet, Jack and Terri's friends, Larry Dallas, moves into a hotel suite (as mentioned in Three's a Crowd, Three's Company's spin-off) and the series ends.
Christmas Noelle "Chrissy" Snow was portrayed by Suzanne Somers.
In the original unaired pilot to Three's Company, Samantha, the character that would become Chrissy, was portrayed by Susanne Zenor. Zenor was not picked for the second filming, so actress Susan Lanier took over the role of Chrissy. Somers ultimately won the role.
Chrissy was born in Fresno, the eldest child of Reverend Luther Snow (Peter Mark Richman) and his wife (Priscilla Morrill). In one episode, she explains that she was named "Christmas" because her father was a big fan of Bing Crosby. In another episode, she states that her name is Christmas due to having been born in December. However, in "Roper's Niece", Janet states that Chrissy's birth was "not until January". Yet, in another episode, (Season 4, Ep 9: Chrissy's Hospitality) Chrissy falls and hits her head. She ends up in the hospital and explains to the nurse that her father named her Christmas because "she was the best present he ever got".
She was born into a very religious family and always loved her family traditions, such as Christmas with all her relatives. Every Sunday the Snow family would go to church to hear her father preach. She always loved her family and friends, and upon moving to Santa Monica, she assured them that she would return to Fresno.
In her early twenties, Chrissy moved to Los Angeles, settling in Santa Monica where she got a job as a typist. She found an apartment, owned and operated by Stanley and Helen Roper, which she would share with two other women, Janet Wood and Eleanor Garvey.
In the pilot, a pregnant Eleanor got married in a reception in the apartment, but went into labor just as she was cutting the cake. After Eleanor had her baby and moved away, Janet and Chrissy were left to hunt for a new roommate. In their bathtub, they found a man who was passed out and who upon waking claimed that he was a friend of one of the party crashers. They decided to select the man, Jack Tripper, as their new roommate instead of other, less desirable candidates, such as a pompous, nasal voiced woman, Patricia, nicknamed "Pattikins".
Concept and creation
Chrissy's personality was an exaggerated characterization of the "dumb blonde" stereotype, as evidenced by her repeated confusion and misunderstandings, malapropisms and girlish behavior. Chrissy is depicted as being quick to laugh at her own jokes, and quick to cry in an exaggerated, loud fashion. Chrissy's behavior was reflected somewhat by her cousin, and eventual replacement, Cindy Snow, although Cindy was more klutzy and less dim.
Chrissy is modeled as an ingenue, a preacher's daughter who seeks her fortune in the big city. As the naif, she frequently and unknowingly makes suggestive double entendres and is often oblivious to the attention she receives from ill-intentioned men. Her roommate Janet remarked that Chrissy totally fell apart at the littlest hint of "sweet talk." In another instance, Chrissy was picked up by a police officer who assumed she was a prostitute, despite her innocent and good intentions.
Somers had emerged as a breakout character in the show. In 1978, she appeared on 50 magazine covers. There were also best-selling Chrissy Snow posters and ABC even launched a doll which portrayed Somers as Chrissy. Somers was promoted as a rival to Farrah Fawcett by her manager, Jay Bernstein, who also managed Fawcett and other actresses like Cheryl Ladd. After marrying Alan Hamel, Somers made him her manager. Somers was eventually axed from the series in the fifth season after a bitter and highly publicized salary dispute with the producers. On the series, it was written in that Chrissy went back to Fresno to care for her ill mother. For a short while (and to finish off Somers' contract), Chrissy continued to appear on the show for brief sequences wherein she would call Janet or Jack from Fresno and speak to them over the telephone. Soon after, her cousin Cindy moved into the apartment with Jack and Janet for the remainder of the season. Upon the arrival of Terri Alden in season six, references to Chrissy vanished, only referred to once later on, when the roommates were being interviewed, as "the other girl" Janet was living with when she met Jack. From what it is implied Chrissy simply moved back home to Fresno and never kept in contact with her old roommates again.
Near the end of the original series, Hamel later unsuccessfully tried to convince the producers to have Somers return for the series finale, with Chrissy becoming Jack's love interest.
Cindy Snow was portrayed by Jenilee Harrison during the show's fifth and sixth seasons (1980–82). The cousin of the character Chrissy Snow, Cindy was phased out to make way for Chrissy's permanent replacement Terri Alden. Ironically, Priscilla Barnes, who later played Terri, had auditioned for the role of Cindy, but was turned away.
Cindy hails from Fresno, the daughter of Mr. Snow (Alan Manson), niece of Reverend Luther Snow and first cousin of Christmas "Chrissy" Snow. Raised on a farm, she grew to have a great love of animals, and enjoyed helping her father and mother out on the farm. Though Cindy is a very pretty girl, she claims she always "played second fiddle to Chrissy, because she was so beautiful." She was raised to enjoy the Snows' many wonderful traditions, such as going to church on Sundays to hear Reverend Snow preach, and being together for lavish, old-fashioned Christmas celebrations.
One day when Cindy was a young woman, Mrs. Snow found her daughter's diary and read it from start to finish - and subsequently fell asleep! She said it was the most boring thing she had ever read and told Cindy it was a good idea if she did more with her life and got out of Fresno. When her cousin Chrissy returned from Santa Monica to care for her mother, Cindy took the opportunity to move out and into Chrissy's apartment.
Cindy debuted on the show in 1980 after producers needed a replacement for Chrissy after Suzanne Somers was fired during their salary dispute.
At first, Jack Tripper and Janet Wood, Chrissy's roommates, worried about what it would be like to live with the klutzy farm girl, but they soon become close friends. When Chrissy declines to return (and Somers' contract ran out), Cindy's temporary stay became permanent. She is set up at Chrissy's old office job, working for Mr. Charles Hadley.
Although she shares some of her cousin Chrissy's dim-witted and naive attitude, Cindy's trademark was that she was highly clumsy and accident prone, often bumping into things or spilling things (with Jack more often than not bearing the brunt).
In the sixth season premiere, Jack Bares ALL (AKA Oh Nurse!), Cindy announced that she was moving out of the apartment to attend UCLA. Her replacement would be Terri Alden, a nurse. Producers of the show were seeking a permanent third roommate and were not confident with Jenilee Harrison in that role. Cindy, did however, continue to make appearances on the show during the sixth season, and was retained as a supporting character (and given cast billing credit). She has many pivotal appearances through mid-season, and becomes the trio's part-time housekeeper (Episode "Maid to Order"), but still hung out with the old roommates.
Her last appearance is in the April 1982 episode Janet Wigs Out, near the end of season six. Cindy and Janet have a falling out when Janet buys a blonde wig and develops a condescending attitude towards her friends. When Janet wants to keep her wig a secret from her date, Cindy tries to prevent herself from revealing the truth.
Terri Alden was played by Priscilla Barnes.
Terri was born in Longmeadow, Massachusetts. and works as a registered nurse and is portrayed as far less "ditzy" than her predecessors. She is written into the story as being Janet and Jack's new roommate.
Although Jack originally disliked Terri, owing to a disastrous first meeting at the hospital when she administered a Tetanus injection for a stubbed finger into his behind, he forgave her and warmed up to her eventually. It was Terri, in fact, who convinced Jack to move in with Victoria Bradford, thus paving the way for the successor series Three's a Crowd.
In response to complaints about the characterization of blondes on the show, the writers portrayed Terri as a "smart blonde", and a "woman with brains", electing to steer away from the ditziness of Chrissy Snow and the clumsiness of Cindy Snow, Terri's blonde roommate predecessors. A dedicated professional at work, Terri is more relaxed when out of uniform.
Stanley Roper was portrayed by Norman Fell.
In Three's Company, Stanley Roper owns and manages the apartment building in Santa Monica that is home to Jack Tripper, Janet Wood and Chrissy Snow. He has a love-hate relationship with his wife, Helen. Although they care deeply for each other, Helen and Stanley regularly bicker and engage in one-upmanship, with Helen usually the intellectual victor. A significant amount of their tension is due to Helen's regular desire for romance with Stanley, while Stanley is either clueless or uninterested. During the character's time on the series, he was known for breaking the fourth wall by smiling and snickering at the camera after telling a one liner joke, often at his wife's expense. He usually uses the term "Not tonight Helen, I got a headache."
Stanley is generally friendly towards the roommates but can be very angry if the rent is late. He is also not above exploiting his tenants' fear of raised rents to get chores and favors done. He is told that Jack is homosexual to bypass any objections he might have to a man living with two women. He does not appear to hate Jack or homosexuals in general, but he does see Jack's supposed homosexuality as a source of amusement and makes several jokes at his expense.
Stanley is extremely cheap (from episode "Stanley's Hotline" in which the roommates call him 'the cheapest man alive' and very much penny wise, pound foolish). He drives a run down 1958 Chevrolet Bel Air, which he attempted to sell to the roommates, but reneged when he learned he could get a lot more money for it from another buyer (who thought it was the classic and far more valuable 1957 model). After the intended buyer learned it was actually a 1958 model, he offered to tow it away if Roper paid him $25.
After Roper sold the building to Bart Furley, Bart's brother Ralph took over as landlord.
For The Ropers, Stanley and Helen move to Cheviot Hills, California and live next door to snobby real estate agent, Jeffrey P. Brookes III (who eventually sells them their house).
Stanley intensely dislikes Jeffrey and the feeling is mutual. When Stanley and Helen were investigating buying the house, Jeffrey's son David came in and explained to Stanley that if his father didn't like Stanley and Helen, he would never let them move in. When Jeffrey arrived for the showing, Stanley begins telling an invented story that this house was perfect for his "drums" and "wild parties". Very quickly, Stanley and Helen are thrown out of the building by Jeffrey, but with much prompting from Helen, soon came back to get another look at it. Jeffrey puts a phony "sold" sign in front of the house to deter them. Stanley conceals his joy, but for Helen's sake he feigns sadness, saying "I would buy it this in an instant if it wasn't sold!" Seeing through Stanley's ploy, Jeffrey tells them that the house isn't sold and Stanley is stuck buying it.
The character was based on the UK character Mildred Roper on the series Man About the House and its spin-off George & Mildred (which are what Three's Company and The Ropers were based on) which was played by Yootha Joyce.
Helen is always looking for sex with her eternally uninterested husband, Stanley, and he almost never delivers, which frustrates her.
Helen enjoys a friendship with the three tenants who live above her; Jack Tripper, Janet Wood, and Chrissy Snow, to whom she refers as "the kids". Helen, unlike her husband, knows that Jack is not gay, but plays along with the charade. Contrary to her tightfisted and very suspicious husband, Helen does not mind that Jack lives with Janet and Chrissy, and is very understanding of their situation. She frequently tries to defuse tense situations between her husband and the three tenants.
Eventually, she and Stanley move to Cheviot Hills, California, an affluent suburb of Los Angeles, where her natural snobbishness asserts itself, often aided and abetted by her sister, Ethel Armbruster, who clearly despises Stanley.
Despite her attempts at adopting the behavior of her more affluent neighbors, she still retains her kindness. She befriends Anne Brookes, the wife of Jeffrey Brookes III, a real estate agent who lives next door, and enjoys the company of their son, David.
Later appearances on Three's Company
Helen and Stanley came back to Jack Tripper, Janet Wood, and Cindy Snow's apartment in a special guest appearance. Helen was frustrated with Stanley, for he forgot their anniversary (again?). She went downstairs to Ralph Furley's apartment to get some sleep (Mr. Furley was out of town at the time). Mr. Furley returned early, and went to bed, unaware that he was not alone. Soon Mr. Roper came in and said, "Helen, if this (a relationship/affair with Furley) is what you want, so be it." Helen was upset and still angry at this. "Aren't you gonna fight for me?" she replies. Later Stanley came back and started fighting for Helen against Mr. Furley, which made Helen happy. Soon, the two went to sleep in Mr. Furley's bed, which could have been the answer to Helen's wishes.
Ralph Furley was played by Don Knotts.
Ralph Furley is the landlord of a Santa Monica apartment building that is now owned by his brother, Bart, who acquired it from Stanley Roper. It is the home to Jack Tripper, Larry Dallas, Janet Wood and Chrissy Snow (later to Cindy Snow and Terri Alden). Furley fancies himself a "ladies' man" and a "macho man", despite the fact he has not had a date in years.
Furley is very subservient and seems to fear his brother, Bart.
Like Stanley Roper before him, Furley is also tricked into believing that Jack is gay in order for him to continue living with Janet and Chrissy. Also, like Roper, Furley liked to occasionally crack gay jokes about Jack at his expense.
Although Furley's brother, Bart, is frequently mentioned by him, he is only seen in one episode played by Hamilton Camp. Furley defends his decisions as landlord by stating his brother, Bart, would (or would not) also approve of the decision, as owner. Many of the characteristics and mannerisms of Ralph Furley are comparable to Knotts' other well-known character, Barney Fife.
Larry Dallas was portrayed by Richard Kline.
The character is based on Larry Simmonds from the British sitcom Man About the House. He lives upstairs from Jack Tripper, Janet Wood, and Chrissy Snow. He is Jack's best friend. He is a womanizer and often lies about his job to impress girls, from being "Playboy's best photographer" to being a doctor, etc., though his actual vocation is a used car salesman. In one episode when being questioned by his landlord Mr. Roper, Larry claimed to have served four years in the United States Marine Corps. Larry is of Greek descent, though this fact and his original last name are mentioned only in the episode where Jack opens "Jack's Bistro", in which he explains that he shortened it to "Dallas" because he "could never spell" Dalliapoulos.
Larry has the distinction of being the only other character besides Jack Tripper to appear on Three's Company and both of its spin-offs, The Ropers and Three's a Crowd. When appearing on Three's a Crowd near the end of its single season, he states that he had moved to Bakersfield due to downturns in the used car business.
Lana Shields was played by Ann Wedgeworth.
Lana Shields is a bosomy, amorous, and three times divorced older woman who had an unrequited crush on Jack Tripper. She is constantly flirting with Jack and tries to seduce him every time she's around him while Jack, on the other hand, tries his best to avoid Lana at all costs, especially around the new landlord Ralph Furley, who, like Mr. Roper before him, is deceived into believing that Jack is gay in order for Jack to continue living with Janet and Chrissy. Unlike Jack, though, Furley is attracted to Lana and regularly tries to "put the moves on her", but she dislikes him (he never comes to realize this).
Lana's first appearance is in the episode "Love Thy Neighbor" (season 4, episode 2), in which Jack takes a job as an escort, which is how he first meets Lana, in order to make some quick cash. But he soon learns that Lana wants to do much more with him than just have a casual dinner out on the town.
In the very next episode "The New Landlord" (which introduces Mr. Furley) the roommates accidentally sell all of Furley's furniture to a junk dealer, not realizing it belongs to their new landlord (who has not met anyone in the building yet). Furley is angry and gives them an eviction notice, but upon meeting Lana, he immediately falls "in love". Furley and the roommates made a deal: Furley gets a date with Lana, and they won't have to move.
Even though she doesn't like Furley, Lana does seduce him on several occasions to get what she wants. For example, in one episode she convinces Furley to accept Jack, Janet, Chrissy's rent money a few days late. In season four's eighth episode, "A-Camping We Will Go", Lana tricks Furley into going on a camping trip so she can be near Jack, who was talked into going by his best friend Larry Dallas, for the weekend.
However, not long after this now legendary episode, Lana disappears from the show. Her final appearance is in the episode "A Black Letter Day" (season 4, episode 13). In this episode, Lana reads a newspaper advice column about a man living with two female roommates and the man is having an affair with one of them and she assumes the column is about Jack, Janet and Chrissy.
According to the book Come and Knock on Our Door: A Hers and Hers and His Guide to Three's Company, the addition of Lana to the cast caused tension between John Ritter and the show's writers. Ritter believed it would be out of character for the sex-crazed Jack to inexplicably turn down the advances of a sexually voracious, attractive older woman. The writers reasoned that because Lana was older than Jack, he would be turned off. Ritter didn't believe that the middle-aged Lana, only meant to be in her forties (whereas Jack was in his late twenties/early thirties), would repel Jack.
Ann Wedgeworth, in the same book, claimed that she asked to be released from her contract because of Lana's dwindling role in the show.