John RitterJonathan Southworth Ritter (September 17, 1948 - September 11, 2003) was an American television and film actor.
Born in Burbank, California, to country singe/actor Tex Ritter and his wife, Dorothy Fay Ritter, he was educated at Hollywood High School, where he was Student Body President. He went on to the University of Southern California where he majored in psychology and minored in architecture.
After two years, he was persuaded to join a drama class given by leading drama coach and actress, Nina Foch. Ritter soon changed his major to Theater Arts, graduating in 1971 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in drama. Under Nina Foch, he studied acting with Stella Adler and the Harvey Lembeck Comedy Workshop.
Ritter went on to star in several stage performances before he was made a star by appearing in the hit TV series Three's Company in 1977, playing a swinging bachelor and culinary student, Jack Tripper, who lived with two female roommates. In 1978, he played Ringo Starr's manager on the television special Ringo.
After Three's Company he appeared in a number of films, notably Problem Child, academy award winning Sling Blade and Noises Off. He starred in many made-for-TV movies and made guest appearances on shows such as Ally McBeal and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He also provided the voice for Clifford in the animated children's show Clifford the Big Red Dog, a role for which he received two Emmy nominations.
On September 11, 2003 he collapsed during a taping of 8 Simple Rules and died suddenly of an aortic dissection in Burbank, California. He is survived by his wife, actress Amy Yasbeck, and their daughter, Stella, and three children, Carly, Tyler and Jason, from his first marriage to Nancy Morgan.
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