John Ritter

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Real Name: Jonathan Southworth Ritter
Birth Place: Burbank, California, USA
Birth Date: September 17, 1948
Occupation: Actor, Producer, Soundtrack

John Ritter Biography

The son of a legendary country singer/actor Tex Ritter and his wife Dorothy Fay, who was also an actress, John Ritter started out his life as Jonathan Southworth Ritter, born in Burbank, California, on September 17, 1948. After his father married Dorothy Fay Southworth in 1941, the couple had their first child, Tom Ritter, who had been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, and became a lawyer, but John was destined to follow in his parents footsteps. He was enrolled at Hollywood High School, where he was a student body president, and became the most popular student ever.After graduation from high school, he later attended the University of Southern California, where he majored in Psychology and minored in Architecture. Also in 1966, before attending college, his first appearance on TV was as a contestant on "The Dating Game" (1965), on which he won a vacation to Lake Havasu, Arizona. After making his very first cameo appearance and a couple of years of attending school, he was induced to join an acting class taught by Nina Foch. He changed his major to Theater Arts, graduating in 1971 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Drama. He also studied acting with Stella Adler at the Harvey Lembeck Comedy Workshop. Between 1968 and 1969, he appeared in a series of stage plays in England, Scotland, Holland and in Germany. His father was entertaining troops in Germany at the same time that his son was performing at an air base there.His acting debut was on an episode of "Hawaii Five-O" (1968), playing various roles. On "Dan August" (1970), he played a campus revolutionary, in a film which also starred Burt Reynolds and Norman Fell, who later starred with him on "Three's Company" (1976). Then, he appeared as "Reverend Matthew Fordwick" on "The Waltons" (1971). His guest-starring spot was so popular, that he was interested in having a recurring role on the show. But, he continued making more guest appearances on "Medical Center" (1969), "M*A*S*H" (1972), "The Bob Newhart Show" (1972), "The Streets of San Francisco" (1972), "Kojak" (1973), and, once again, as a preacher on "Rhoda" (1974), "Mary Tyler Moore" (1970), among many others. While working on "The Waltons" (1971), he received word that his legendary father had passed away, just a day after New Year's Day in 1974. The following year, in late 1975, ABC picked up the rights for a new series based on a British sitcom, "Man About the House" (1973) and Ritter beat out 50 people, including a young Billy Crystal, to get a major role. The first pilot was trashed, and in order for it to be improved, Joyce DeWitt, an unknown actress, played the role of "Janet Wood", along with Suze Lanier-Bramlett as the dumb blonde, "Chrissy Snow". Unlike the first pilot, it did better but the producers still needed a change and Suzanne Somers came to the show, at the very last minute to play "Chrissy". The series, "Three's Company" (1976), was born. When it debuted as a mid-season replacement, it became a ratings hit, like many other sitcoms of the 70s, and it focused mainly on his character, "Jack Tripper", an admirable chef who lived in an apartment with two attractive ladies, while pretending to be gay.Before playing "Jack Tripper" on the small screen, he also made his box office debut in the movie Nickelodeon (1976). Two years later, he worked with his close friend, Jenny Sullivan, in Breakfast in Bed (1977), and the following year, played "Pres. Chet Roosevelt" in the movie Americathon (1979). Also in 1977, he and his brother emceed the Annual United Cerebral Palsy Telethon (a neurological condition particularly close to their hearts because of Tom's triumph over it) and racked up millions of dollars for the cause in the 15+ years he ran the telethon. He also became more popular with movies such as Hero at Large (1980) and They All Laughed (1981). In 1980, when "Three's Company" (1976) was sold into syndication, the show became a ratings phenomenon, during its last 2 years. At the height of Ritter's popularity, he won a Golden Globe in 1983 for Best Performance by an Actor, after being nominated twice for Best TV Actor in a Musical-Comedy Series and, one year later, he won an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor In a Comedy Series, after being nominated twice. By its eighth season, the show began to drop in the ratings and was canceled in 1984. After the cancellation, he starred in its spin-off, called "Three's a Crowd" (1984), starring Mary Cadorette, but it lasted for only one season.His first animated movie was that of a man turning into a dragon, whose job was to defeat "Ommendon" in The Flight of Dragons (1982), on which he played "Peter Dickinson". The following year, he came back to series television as "Detective Harry Hooperman" in the comedy/drama, "Hooperman" (1987), for which he was nominated for both an Emmy and a Golden Globe in 1988, for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, and won a People's Choice Award for his role. During and after his role on "Hooperman" (1987), he continued doing more box-office films, from 1987-1992, such as Skin Deep (1989), in which he played a womanizing, alcoholic writer whose life seemed to be falling apart at the seams. Also, in this movie, he was pleased to see his mentor, acting coach Nina Foch, and the two worked closely together. In the movies, Problem Child (1990), and Problem Child 2 (1991), he played the surrogate father of a rebellious little boy who wrought havoc on the family. He also worked on Noises Off... (1992), and Stay Tuned (1992), before returning to another TV series called "Hearts Afire" (1992). On this sitcom, he played "John Hartman", who was an aide to a senator whose life was also complicated by his girlfriend's father, and Billy Bob Thornton played "Billy Bob Davis". Like his first series, "Three's Company" (1976), the show had well-written scripts, but failed to reach a massive audience, which led to its cancellation in 1995. While he was working on "Hearts Afire" (1992), he played "Ward Nelson" on North (1994). Then, he had the opportunity to work with former "Hearts Afire" (1992) actor Billy Bob Thornton, in the movie, Sling Blade (1996), in which Ritter played the gay manager of a department store and Thornton was "Karl Childers", a institutionalized man who was hospitalized since the childhood murder of his mother and her lover. Thornton had written and directed the movie. He provided the voice of "Clifford" in the PBS animated series "Clifford the Big Red Dog" (2000). He was nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award, 3 times in a row, making it seven Emmy nominations in his 35-year career. In 1999, he was also nominated for an Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series, playing the role of "George Madison" on an episode of "Ally McBeal" (1997). Soon after wards, he landed his last television role in "8 Simple Rules" (2002), based on the popular book. On this sitcom, he played "Paul Hennessey", a loving, yet rational dad, who laid down the ground rules for his three children, and dealt with such topics as curfews, sex, drugs, getting arrested, etc. The show was a ratings winner in its first season and won a People's Choice Award for Best New Comedy and also won for Favorite Comedy Series by the Family Awards! While working on "8 Simple Rules", he also starred in his second-to-last film, Manhood (2003). That same year, he felt ill while rehearsing on set, and was taken across the street to Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, California, where he was mistakenly treated for a heart attack. He died from an undiagnosed aortic dissection which means, in layman's terms, a tear in the wall of the aorta which is the artery that takes blood from the heart to the rest of the body. He underwent surgery and died on September 11, 2003, just six days shy of his 55th birthday. In the years that he worked, John Ritter was a brilliant comedian and a passionate actor, who wanted to make everybody laugh. Shortly before his death, his eldest son, Jason Ritter, was cast in the role of "Kevin", a young man who was a high school sport star but is now paralyzed for life in the highly-rated drama "Joan of Arcadia" (2003).

John Ritter Movies / TV-Shows

Gilbert (2017)
Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy (2010)
Clifford's Really Big Movie (2004)
Bad Santa (2003)
Manhood (2003)
Tadpole (2002)
8 Simple Rules (2002)
Man of the Year (2002)
Scrubs (2001)
Tripfall (2000)
Terror Tract (2000)
Panic (2000)
TV Funhouse (2000)
Lethal Vows (1999)
It Came from the Sky (1999)
The Early Show (1999)
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999)
Batman Beyond (1999)
Bride of Chucky (1998)
Felicity (1998)
Shadow of Doubt (1998)
Montana (1998)
I Woke Up Early the Day I Died (1998)
Chance of a Lifetime (1998)
Loss of Faith (1998)
Ally McBeal (1997)
King of the Hill (1997)
Nowhere (1997)
A Gun, a Car, a Blonde (1997)
The View (1997)
Hacks (1997)
Veronica's Closet (1997)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997)
Dead Man's Gun (1997)
Sling Blade (1996)
Unforgivable (1996)
The Daily Show (1996)
Mercenary (1996)
For Hope (1996)
The Colony (1995)
Gramps (1995)
NewsRadio (1995)
MADtv (1995)
Touched by an Angel (1994)
North (1994)
Chicago Hope (1994)
Heartbeat (1993)
Late Night with Conan O'Brien (1993)
Sista utvägen (1993)
Noises Off... (1992)
The Larry Sanders Show (1992)
Stay Tuned (1992)
Problem Child 2 (1991)
Cape Fear (1991)
Maury (1991)
Problem Child (1990)
The Dreamer of Oz (1990)
It (1990)
Wings (1990)
Skin Deep (1989)
Real Men (1987)
The Last Fling (1987)
Hooperman (1987)
Biography (1987)
A Smoky Mountain Christmas (1986)
American Masters (1985)
Muppet Babies (1984)
The Cosby Show (1984)
Three's a Crowd (1984)
Live with Kelly and Ryan (1983)
The Flight of Dragons (1982)
In Love with an Older Woman (1982)
Nature (1982)
They All Laughed (1981)
Wholly Moses! (1980)
Hero at Large (1980)
The Waltons: A Decade of the Waltons (1980)
Americathon (1979)
The Ropers (1979)
The Love Boat (1977)
Nickelodeon (1976)
Three's Company (1976)
Family Feud (1976)
The Night That Panicked America (1975)
Starsky and Hutch (1975)
Saturday Night Live (1975)
The Prisoner of Second Avenue (1975)
Rhoda (1974)
The Stone Killer (1973)
Kojak (1973)
The Other (1972)
Evil Roy Slade (1972)
M*A*S*H (1972)
The Waltons (1972)
The Streets of San Francisco (1972)
The Bob Newhart Show (1972)
The Barefoot Executive (1971)
Great Performances (1971)
The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970)
Hawaii Five-O (1968)
Mannix (1967)
The Magical World of Disney (1954)

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