John Ritter

Los Angeles, California


Los Angeles, California


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LOS ANGELES (AP) – John Ritter, whose portrayal of the bumbling but lovable Jack Tripper helped make the madcap comedy series "Three's Company" a smash hit in the 1970s, has died of a heart problem, his publicist said Friday. He was 54.

Ritter fell ill Thursday on the set of his ABC sitcom "8 Simple Rules ... For Dating My Teenage Daughter," said Susan Wilcox, his assistant of 22 years.

The cause of death was a dissection of the aorta, the result of an unrecognized flaw in his heart, said his publicist, Lisa Kasteler.

Ritter died at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center shortly after 10 p.m. Thursday.

Ritter, a Southern California native who lived in Beverly Hills, came to prominence for his role in "Three's Company" and had appeared in more than 25 television movies and a number of films.

Ritter, who would have turned 55 on Wednesday, made a successful return to sitcom acting with "8 Simple Rules" last year, and the ABC show was scheduled to begin its second season on Sept. 23.

At the Burbank hospital where he died, Ritter was accompanied by producers and co-workers, his wife, Amy Yasbeck, and 23-year-old son Jason, Wilcox said. He is survived by three other children, Carly, Tyler and Stella.

"It's just stunning, unbelievable," said Wilcox. "Everybody loved John Ritter. Everybody loved working with him. ... Whatever set he was working on, he made it a very fun place."

ABC released a statement saying: "All of us at ABC, Touchstone Television and The Walt Disney Company are shocked and heartbroken at the terrible news of John's passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife and children at this very difficult time."

Ritter was the youngest son of Western film star and country musician Tex Ritter. He graduated from Hollywood High School and earned a degree in drama from the University of Southern California.

Ritter appeared in more than 50 plays nationwide and won critical acclaim for his recent nine-month role in the Broadway premiere of Neil Simon's "The Dinner Party." He received an Emmy and other awards for his "Three's Company" role and was honored by the Los Angeles Music Center in June with a lifetime achievement award.
Copyright © 2003 The Associated Press

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Always adored John Ritter as an actor with my favorite show of all time being Three's Company. Happy Heavenly birthday to him today! Clearly, he was an amazing person who continues to be painfully missed by all who knew him, loved him, and appreciated his many talents! Thoughts, prayers, and continued condolences to all of his family, friends, and fans!

Thoughts and prayers to Mr John Ritter's loved ones. Everything he starred in is golden. One of the greatest actors of all time. John is an angel in heaven. We love you. Three's Company is watched everyday and his many other great works. A kind gentleman always.

John...You would be brought to tears if you knew just how many people throughout the country (and even the world) have written to express their condolences, memories, love, and, respect for you and your incredible talent! I am so very grateful I met you through your dear friend and college buddy, Rob Shipp, and want everyone to know how gracious and kind you were throughout all the rehearsals and all the productions of the play "A Place To Stay" by Richard Culliton which you...

As one of John Ritters biggest fans from Canada I wanted to send my prayers to the family on what would have been John Ritters 68th birthday on September 17th I remember a wonderful actor and comedien John Ritter I loved watching John on the Waltons Threes Company and Eight Simple Rules one of the funniest actors in Hollywood what a legend he was one of if not the best and his memory will live on in all his fans Rest in peace John and God Bless

June 29, 2016

I often think of you, John, as I am a big fan. Your work on Three's Company will forever bring a smile to my face, and when the show is on or I put in a DVD, I laugh like it's the first time I'm seeing it, and am very reminiscent of my childhood. You were a household name. Your role as Jack touched the hearts of many because of his funny antics and sweetness. He was truly an endearing character that we all looked forward to seeing in our living rooms. With your...

John you left us too soon, your talent as an actor and comedian is immeasurable. I still have memories of you on the tv sit-com THREE'S COMPANY my favorite show because of your talent JOHN. Many Blessings to family and friends...RIP

Thank you for sharing a part of your life with us.

You were the best. I loved watching anything you did. The world needs more people like you. And now we also lost Robin Williams, our world is a much sader place without you and two were geart together. You wil be missed.