Brett Somers, a regular on "Match Game" during its classic 1973-1979 run and frequent verbal sparing partner of the late, great Charles Nelson Reilly, passed away yesterday at her home in Westport, Connecticut at the age of 83.
She was born Audrey Johnston in New Brunswick, and grew up in Portland, Maine. At age 17 she settled in Greenwich Village and changed her named to "Brett" after the lead female character in Hemingway's "The Sun Also Rises." Somers was her mother's maiden name.
She was married for a time to actor Jack Klugman, who was responsible for getting her onto the game show. Klugman suggested she be brought on when he appeared during the show's first broadcasts and she soon became a regular part of the panel.
I'm not the biggest fan of panel game shows but I try not to miss Match Game reruns on The Game Show Network--I've always enjoyed Gene Rayburn's exasperated, insulting tone towards the (dim) contestants and the antics of the classic panel--lead by Somers and Nelson Reilly (who died this past May), of course--especially during the "afternoon" tapings when the witty tongues would be well-lubricated with alcohol.
Here's her obit from CNN.