John Ritter, has appeared in more than 25 television movies and a number of feature films. He was a well loved actor whose versatility is clearly demonstrated from the comedy of Three's Company, the drama of Sling Blade and the cartoon Clifford the Big Red Dog.
But even with his prolific television, stage and movie appearances he was probably still best known for his portrayal of Jack Tripper on the TV hit show "Three's Company".
The youngest son of Tex Ritter and actress Dorothy Fay, he graduated from Hollywood High School and earned a degree in drama from the University of Southern California.
His first TV appearances came in the early 70s with roles in Hawaii Five-0, M*A*S*H, Kojak and The Waltons, on which he played Rev. Matthew Fordwick.
In 1975, Ritter won the male lead in a sitcom CBS developed from the British TV series Man About the House. Three's Company which aired from 1977 to 1984 was the No. 1 comedy in the 1979-80 season, and regularly part of the top 10.
He received an Emmy, Golden Globe 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.
Ritter later starred in the TV series "Hooperman" and the early 1990s political comedy "Hearts Afire." He received multiple Emmy nominations for his PBS role as the voice of "Clifford the Big Red Dog" on the animated series. He also made many guest appearances including spots on Ally McBeal and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Ritter also had a busy stage career, appearing in more than 50 plays nationwide and won critical acclaim for his recent nine-month run in "The Dinner Party."
He won a new legion of fans with independent film projects, appearing in Billy Bob Thornton's 1996 film "Sling Blade," Montana (1998), Panic (2000) and "Tadpole" in 2002 as well as this year’s "Manhood."
His TV movie appearances included "Unnatural Causes," Stephen King's "It" and "Chance of a Lifetime."
His latest work included the sitcom "8 Simple Rules" which debuted last season to critical and rating success. He also completed work on a new movie with Billy Bob Thornton; Bad Santa is scheduled to open Nov. 26.