Posts Tagged ‘Tex Ritter’

John_RitterThere was a popular sitcom in the US on ABC-TV called Three’s Company, which aired from 1977 to 1984. From the IMBD description: “Janet [Joyce DeWitt] and Chrissy [Suzanne Somers] get Jack [John Ritter] as a roommate for their Santa Monica apartment. Jack can cook (he’s studying to be a chef) and, when called to do so, pretends he’s gay to legitimize the arrangement.”

I found the premise more than annoying, and I seldom watched the program, certainly not intentionally. But when I came across it, I agreed with what the late Don Knotts, a co-star on the show, said in 2002, that John Ritter was the “greatest physical comedian on the planet.”

I’d seen him guest star on a variety of shows, most notably The Waltons, MASH, and Dan August before his breakthrough role.

I did watch, on purpose, 8 Simple Rules… for Dating My Teenage Daughter, starting in 2002, with John Ritter as Paul, Katey Sagal as his wife Cate, and Kaley Cuoco, later of The Big Bang Theory, as teenager Bridget. It was a pleasant enough diversion.

Then John Ritter, born September 17, 1948, died from an aortic dissection on September 11, 2003. It was/is a shock when a seemingly healthy guy not quite 55 dies suddenly. They wrote “Paul’s” death into the series, and it was one of the most painful things I’d ever watched on TV. The show continued for another year and a half, bringing in other characters played by James Garner and David Spade, and the producers created a decent, but very different show.

John Ritter’s parents were legendary country singer/actor Tex Ritter and actress Dorothy Fay. As a child, I used to listen to Tex on the radio late at night on WWVA, Wheeling, WV.

He had three children with his first wife, actress Nancy Morgan: Jason (b 1980), Carly (b 1982), and Tyler (b 1985) Jason I recognize from playing a teacher named Mark on the TV show Parenthood, but mostly from being the voice of Dipper on the animated series Gravity Falls.

He had one child with his second wife, actress Amy Yasbeck: Stella (b 1998). John Ritter died on Stella’s fifth birthday, and one day before the death of country music legend Johnny Cash. Coincidentally, Tex Ritter had written several songs for Johnny during the 1950s and 1960s.

For ABC Wednesday

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