Henry Winkler by Kevin Terrell/WireImage.com
Henry Winkler, longtime friend and colleague of John Ritter, testified on Wednesday at the late actor's wrongful-death trial. Winkler told the jurors that he had just spoken with Ritter shortly before he was rushed to the hospital. The
reported Winkler's last encounter with Ritter: "'We were reminiscing,' Winkler said. 'He was sweating [and said], 'I really need to get some water.' I said, 'I really need to memorize my lines.' And he went one way and I went the other. And that was the last time I saw him."
It was clear that Winkler's testimony was trying to strike an emotional chord with the jurors, as he explained Ritter's love for his work and his family. When Winkler was asked about what he thought Ritter's kids would miss most about their dad, he said, "His passion for life. His excitement for being on the Earth. Any conversation we had wrapped around his children, the pride and the love."
The lawsuit for $67 million is against a radiologist who had given Ritter a body scan earlier, and against the cardiologist who treated the star for a heart attack instead of an aortic dissection. Ritter's family already settled with Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank for about $14 million. Of course, defense attorneys told jurors that the doctors weren't responsible for Ritter's untimely death and that the body scan (two years earlier) showed his aorta was a normal size with no signs of impending dissection.
At the time of his death, Ritter was starring in the TV show
8 Simple Rules... For Dating My Teenage Daughter
. He died Sept. 11, 2003 (his daughter's fifth birthday), and was only 54. -