Having three roommates seemed crazy when Three’s Company premiered in 1976, but now that we’re splitting rent between five or so people at a time the show serves as a nostalgic reminder for everything lost. Joyce DeWitt is a part of that nostalgia, playing the role of Janet in the hit sitcom. While she’s not in the main spotlight as much anymore, she’s still keeping busy almost fifty years later.
Born in April of 1949 and coming from humble beginnings in Speedway, Indiana (guess what the big attraction there is. Guess.) the actress grew up in and around the same area for most of her young life.
In school she would embrace drama, acting in stage productions whenever possible before going off to college for a degree in fine arts from Ball State University before going for the Master’s program at UCLA.
Joyce Dewitt would move into acting with her debut in an episode of Baretta before nabbing a second episode with a more substantial role later in the season. She had a quick start from there, with a whirlwind schedule between shows like The Tony Randall Show, Love Boat, and… Supertrain? They can’t all be hits.
That was all it took though, as Joyce would land the role of Janet on Three’s Company not long after in 1976, appearing in the second unaired pilot (the first was not good. At all.) she would go on to appear in 171 of the shows 172 episodes. So close to a perfect run, but she also got to play the same character in the short-lived spinoff show The Ropers.
The sitcom wouldn’t outlive the drama that transpired on set though, with a very famous falling out between nearly every cast member and Suzanne Somers when the actress demanded more pay and partial ownership of the show during the fifth season.
This led to discord on set, with her character Chrissy barely appearing because she wouldn’t often show up to set. Joyce in particular was said to have a hatchet the size of a battle axe that the two didn’t bury until a reunion in 2012.
Joyce DeWitt would only appear in one episode of the forgotten show Finder of Lost Loves after Three’s Company ended before taking an extended break from her career to travel.
After seven years she finally began wading back into the acting waters, appearing in stage productions in 1991 and picking up more as she went. Finally, she would return to the screen in 1995 with the movie Spring Fling before making more television rounds with shows including Cybil and Living Single.
While her television and movie career came and went in spurts, with the actress never taking on lead roles but mostly just guest spots in various dramas or sitcoms.
She would however, stick to the stage and perform in stage productions across the country, Nostalgia would put her into a new focus when Nick at Nite began airing in the late-90s, with Three’s Company as one of the big draws that the programming block would rerun on the otherwise kid-centered channel. These were the times before Nick at Nite became ruled by the iron fist of George Lopez.
Her film work throughout the 2000s was scarce, with Joyce only occasionally appearing in indie productions which, aside from 2010s Failing Better Now, were not super well received.
The actress wasn’t doing the roles for the quality of the film though, instead using it as a means of getting by in between her drama productions and touring sometimes internationally for stage roles.
2003 would see her get a chance to co-produce a film about her time on Three’s Company though, a mad-for-television “unauthorized story”. While she would produce the film, it would also coincide with the death of John Ritter that same year which made it come off as just a little bit of a money-grab.
The past decade has seen her less and less in film and stage, though at this point she deserves a nice retirement. That’s not to say she doesn’t pop up from time to time though, still making appearances in indie movies that, again, are really not something anyone should experience. She also starred in a Waffle House musical in 2020, which as a Southeasterner is the highest honor one of us can achieve.
She doesn’t keep in the public eye much other than her occasional roles, keeping her life extremely private. The actress isn’t married and has no children. While she does have anInstagram, it hasn’t been updated since 2016 and she doesn’t seem to have any other form of social media presence since.
At this point though at least she managed to get a place of her own without having to deal with two other roommates. Gotta take the little wins wherever you can these days.