John Ritter was a TV Legend, and having him pass away so suddenly was a shock for all of his fans. He was a talented actor and a beloved personality and he is still missed to this day.
He first became ill while he was in rehearsal for the show 8 Simple Rules For Dating My Teenage Daughter, but the doctors misdiagnosed him. They had said he was having a heart attack and began to treat that, but when he didn’t get better they diagnosed him with an aortic dissection. He passed away while in surgery, only six days before he turned 55.
Even though his life ended in tragedy, it wasn’t the only thing you should remember about John Ritter. Here are 8 interesting facts that will remind you how awesome of a person he was.
His comedic skills were so strong that he forced Lucille Ball to stop filming
While recording an episode of Life with Lucy, Ritter made the comedy icon Lucille Ball laugh so hard she had to yell cut and take a break because she couldn’t keep it together.
His father didn’t want him to be an actor, but he proved him wrong
John Ritter’s father was also an actor, but he didn’t want his son to try and follow in his footsteps. He was however thrilled with how his son’s career turned out. He was especially excited when John Ritter was cast on The Waltons because that happened to be his favorite show.
He was very close friends with Henry Winkler
Winkler and Ritter met at an ABC network event and hit it off instantly. Winkler said that “His brain was like a supersonic jet. You kept thinking to yourself, God, I wish I’d thought of that. Wow, how did he think of that that quickly? What you never tried to do was match his funny. I never tried to one-up him. Because it was impossible. He topped pretty much everybody. He’d tell the same joke, too. He could tell it three or four or five times a day, and it was as funny the first time as it was the last time he told it that day. Now that is a talent.”
Ritter beat out over 50 actors for the show ‘Three’s Company’
It was originally based on a British show called Man About The House but after the pilot was rejected they improvised some changes. They added the characters Janet and Chrissy which made it a lot better. But the producers had a few more changes to make so it would be the best the show it could be. Chrissy was originally played by Suze Lanier-Bramlett, but producers felt they needed someone different so Suzanne Somers was brought in. The show premiered in 1976 and was a complete hit.
There are even more interesting facts about John Ritter…
He was Clifford the Big Red Dog
He provided the voiced for the lovable, giant dog for the TV show Clifford the Big Red Dog from 2000-2003.
The Thoracic Aortic Disease (TAD) Coalition created a specific rule set based on the actor’s experience
TAD teamed up with Ritter’s wife, Amy Yasbeck, to create the “Ritter Rules”. Yasbeck had started the John Ritter Foundation, and by teaming up with TAD they were able to create helpful tips to the public to be able to identify early warning signs of conditions like the one that caused Ritter’s aortic dissection.
He stared in several projects with his wife Ann Yasbek
They first met when Ritter was married to his first wife. They have actually played husband and wife in two separate sitcoms before they got married. In 1991 they played a husband and wife on The Cosby Show, and then in 1996 (after his divorce), he played Yasbecks estranged husband on her show Wings.
While he is known for TV, he actually had a successful theater career as well
He was on Broadway in a production called The Dinner Party. He was in 364 shows, and actually won the Theater World Award for his part. His final stage appearance was in 2003 in a production of All About Eve.