Photo of John Ritter John Ritter

The son of singing cowboy Tex Ritter and actress Dorothy Fay, John Ritter was born Sept. 17, 1948, in Burbank, Calif. He attended the University of Southern California, changing his major to theater after taking a class with acting coach Nina Foch.

Ritter's father, who discouraged John's acting career, lived to see him land a recurring role on "The Waltons," Tex's favorite program. Ritter appeared on numerous TV shows before winning the role (in 1972) that launched his career: Jack Tripper, the ladies' man pretending to be gay, in the sitcom "Three's Company" (opposite Suzanne Somers and Joyce DeWitt). The show, which ran eight years, earned Ritter an Emmy and enduring fame.

After the series' demise, Ritter continued to appear on television and in films such as Noises Off (1992) and Sling Blade (1996). Ritter died on Sept. 11, 2003; his last movie was Bad Santa (with Billy Bob Thornton).

John Ritter in The Wizard of Oz

The Wizard of Oz

1939 G

There's no place like home for young Dorothy (Judy Garland), who's been swept away from her farm in Kansas to a wonderland of munchkins, flying monkeys and different-colored horses. She must follow the Yellow Brick Road to the all-knowing Wizard of Oz to find her way home. Along the way, she meets the Scarecrow (Ray Bolger), the Tin Man (Jack Haley) and the Cowardly Lion (Bert Lahr), who help her fend off the Wicked Witch of the West (Margaret Hamilton).

  • John Ritter in Bad Santa Bad Santa
  • John Ritter in Sling Blade Sling Blade
  • John Ritter in Clifford's Really Big Movie Clifford's Really Big Movie
  • John Ritter in The Other The Other
  • John Ritter in Noises Off! Noises Off!
  • John Ritter in Three's Company Three's Company
  • John Ritter in They All Laughed They All Laughed
  • John Ritter in Letting Go Letting Go
  • John Ritter in Bride of Chucky Bride of Chucky
  • John Ritter in Kojak Kojak
  • John Ritter in Nickelodeon Nickelodeon
  • John Ritter in Tripfall Tripfall
  • John Ritter in Panic Panic
  • John Ritter in Tadpole Tadpole
  • John Ritter in Man of the Year Man of the Year
  • John Ritter in Hero at Large Hero at Large
  • John Ritter in Wholly Moses Wholly Moses
  • John Ritter in Sunset Limousine Sunset Limousine
  • John Ritter in Problem Child / Problem Child 2 Problem Child / Problem Child 2
  • John Ritter in Hearts Afire Hearts Afire
  • John Ritter in Sink or Swim Sink or Swim
  • John Ritter in The History of Toys and Games The History of Toys and Games
  • John Ritter in Clifford: Clifford Tries His Best Clifford: Clifford Tries His Best
  • John Ritter in Clifford: Everyone Loves Clifford Clifford: Everyone Loves Clifford
  • John Ritter in 8 Simple Rules 8 Simple Rules
  • John Ritter in Clifford: King Clifford / Be My Valentine Clifford: King Clifford / Be My Valentine
  • John Ritter in Clifford: Team Clifford Clifford: Team Clifford
  • John Ritter in Clifford: Big Fun in the Sun Clifford: Big Fun in the Sun
  • John Ritter in Manhood Manhood
  • John Ritter in Nuncrackers Nuncrackers
  • John Ritter in John Ritter Comedy Special John Ritter Comedy Special
  • John Ritter in Playtime with Clifford Playtime with Clifford
  • John Ritter in Growing Up with Clifford Growing Up with Clifford