John Ritter Celebrity Watchlist

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Born into a showbiz family, this son of singer-actor-cowboy Tex RitterĀ tackled a myriad of TV guest spots and a recurring part as a reverend on The Waltons before landing his seminal role as the hilarious and horny Jack Tripper on Three's Company. After ei… (more)

Birth Name: Johnathan Southworth Ritter

Birth Place: Burbank, California, United States

Birthday: September 17, 1948, Virgo

Profession: Actor, Producer

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Biography

Born into a showbiz family, this son of singer-actor-cowboy Tex Ritter tackled a myriad of TV guest spots and a recurring part as a reverend on The Waltons before landing his seminal role as the hilarious and horny Jack Tripper on Three's Company. After eight seasons (and nominations for an Emmy and a Golden Globe) the versatile actor moved on to TV dramas (Unnatural Causes, The Dreamer of Oz) and the big screen (two Problem Child movies, opposite his future wife Amy Yasbeck), while also continuing to stretch his comedic muscles in sitcoms. In the '90s, Ritter showcased his versatility with a number of supporting parts in indie films and two decidedly different romantic turns on TV---one funny on Ally McBeal, the other deadly on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In 2002, his family-oriented sitcom 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter became a surprise hit and Ritter was again a prime-time star. But the next year tragedy struck without warning: On September 11, 2003, a few days before his 55th birthday and a week before his fourth wedding anniversary, he collapsed on the 8 Simple Rules set and was rushed to the hospital, where he died of an undetected heart condition. Ritter was mourned by both those who knew him and by generations of fans who connected with the likeable actor's on-screen performances.

Fast Facts

  • Was student body president at Hollywood High School.
  • Appeared for five seasons as a minister on the CBS family drama The Waltons.
  • Executive-produced the Richard Lewis-Jamie Lee Curtis sitcom Anything but Love; also appeared as a rival of Lewis's character.
  • Played a homicidal suitor in a 1997 episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
  • Provided the voice of the larger-than-life pooch on the animated children's series Clifford the Big Red Dog and in the film Clifford's Really Big Movie; earned multiple Daytime Emmy nominations for Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program.
  • Made his Broadway debut in 2000 in Neil Simon's The Dinner Party with fellow '70s sitcom star Henry Winkler.

Awards

  • 1984, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy: Winner
  • 1999, Emmy — Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series: Nominee
  • 1988, People's Choice Awards — Favorite Male Performer in a New TV Program: Winner
  • 1981, Emmy — Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series: Nominee
  • 2004, Emmy — Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series: Nominee
  • 1978, Emmy — Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series: Nominee
  • 1988, Emmy — Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series: Nominee
  • 1984, Emmy — Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series: Winner
  • 1996, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture: Nominee
  • 1980, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy: Nominee
  • 1979, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy: Nominee
  • 1987, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actor in a Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television: Nominee
  • 1988, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy: Nominee

Relationships

  • Tex Ritter — Father
  • Amy Yasbeck — Wife
  • Dorothy Fay — Mother
  • Nancy Morgan — Ex-wife
  • Carly Constance Ritter — Daughter
  • Stella Dorothy Ritter — Daughter
  • Tom Ritter — Brother
  • Tyler Ritter — Son
  • Jason Ritter — Son

College

  • University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, United States (BFA in Theater, 1971)