The Late John Ritter Would Have Turned 73 Today

Sep 17, 2021 by apost team

The late John Ritter — celebrated for his role in the sitcom “Three’s Company” — would have turned 73 today. The television and film star passed away 18 years ago at the age of 54 when he fell ill while filming the ABC sitcom “8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter.” While on set in Burbank on Sept. 11, 2003, John complained of chest pains, faintness and sudden nausea, according to the Los Angeles Times. In the evening, the 54-year-old actor went to the hospital, where he was treated in the emergency room. The tests the doctors performed revealed abnormalities, which led a cardiologist to conclude that John had suffered a heart attack. During treatment, the actor passed away due to an aortic dissection, a life-threatening tear in the artery that carries blood to the heart. John tragically died on his daughter’s 5th birthday and six days before he turned 55.

John is survived by his children, which include Stella, Jason, Carly and Tyler, and his wife Amy Yasbeck, who all continue to remember the talented actor and loving father.

Today, on what would have been John’s birthday, we will look back on his career, celebrate his achievements and explore what his family is up to. Although his career was cut short, John will be remembered as the star of one of television’s highest-rated television shows: “Three’s Company.” What’s more, film and television lovers will forever feel his impact, as he appeared in dozens of roles across his career, which spanned from 1967 to 2006 when his final role in “Stanley's Dinosaur Round-Up” was posthumously released.

"8 Simple Rules" co-star Kaley Cuoco recently remembered John in an ABC special in August 2021 while holding back tears, proving that his friends, fans and family still miss him dearly.

John Ritter (1978), (Tom Wargacki/WireImage/Getty images)

Jonathan Ritter was born on Sept. 17, 1948, in Burbank, California. Part of a showbiz family, his father was the singing cowboy, Tex Ritter, while his mother, Dorothy Fay, was an actress. Originally John didn't have plans to follow his family into the entertainment industry, instead opting to study psychology at the University of Southern California. However, he soon changed his career path, switching his major to Theater Arts at the USC School of Dramatic Arts.

Always a funny man, Ritter once said:

"I knew when I grew up, I always wanted to be a liar, and if you're in television, you're lying because you're just pretending to be yourself much like I'm doing now."

After graduating, the would-be actor and comedian appeared in a number of television shows before he rose to fame in the sitcom “Three's Company,” starring as Jack Tripper, a role for which he won a Primetime Emmy Award and a Golden Globe Award. The role made Ritter a household name, giving him a leg up on a long Hollywood career ahead of him. He starred in over 100 films and television series, with his work leaving a long-lasting mark on Hollywood.

Some of his most iconic roles were in “It,” “Problem Child,” “Problem Child 2” and “Bad Santa” in 2003 — the latter of which ended up being one of his last films. He also appeared in a number of television shows, including “Felicity,” “Ally McBeal,” “Scrubs” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” He even lent his voice to the character of “Clifford the Big Red Dog,” for which he received numerous Emmy nominations. John Ritter worked a lot in Hollywood and was appreciated for it, and this wasn't lost on him.

Amy Yasbeck, John Ritter (2003), (Robert Mora/Getty Images)

He once said:

"Basically, what I'm doing is what I want to do. I feel very lucky. And very satisfied."

As a sign of his achievements, he was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on September 28, 1983.

However, sadly John Ritter passed away from aortic dissection in 2003 while rehearsing for the show “8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter,” just six days before his 55th birthday.

When news of his death broke, celebrities in Hollywood were quick to mourn, expressing how much of a talented and special person they'd lost.

"I turned on ‘Good Morning America’ and there was Diane Sawyer saying, ‘It's always sad when we lose someone so young.’ And she said John Ritter and my heart just fell to my feet,” said Suzanne Somers, his co-star from Three's Company.

Another of Ritter's co-stars, Zach Braff, star of the comedy series “Scrubs,” told of how he got producers to cast Ritter as his dad on the show. As reported by Extra, he stated:

"He has always been a comic hero of mine. When I heard that my father was going to be in an episode, I had gone to Bill Lawrence who created the show and said you have to get John Ritter to play my dad."

While John left this world too soon, his son Jason Ritter is continuing on his legacy. Also an actor, Jason bears a striking similarity to his late father and is just as goofy and good-natured, often working in the comedic genre. In fact, John Ritter has two sons who work in Hollywood as actors, carrying on his name. His other son is named Tyler Ritter and has appeared in “Modern Family, “Grey's Anatomy,” and “The McCarthys.

John Ritter (1978), (Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection/Getty Images)

Rest in peace, John. How do you remember John Ritter? Do you have a favorite role of his? Let us know — and be sure to pass this story on to others.

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