John Ritter – RIP 1948 – 11 Sept 2003.

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Something strange has happened to me. I’ve become a fan of someone 10 years after he passed away. I’m a stargazer. I love my celebrities. But this one’s different. In the past I’ve always become a fan of a person in their lifetime.

I’m talking about JOHN RITTER.

I always LIKED John Ritter. But to be honest, I didn’t know that much about him, I’d seen him in Problem Child and I remembered that he’d been in Three’s Company. And I was sad when I heard he died, specially since we were just beginning to get into 8 Simple Rules. But while I was old enough to remember Three’s Company being shown on TV, I wasn’t old enough to have got any of the jokes.

Fast forward to last month when I began watching episodes of it and I instantly irrevocably became a fan of both the show and of John. I think the reason I went looking for stuff to laugh at was that I’d forgotten to laugh, forgotten to live with a bit of humour – financial constraints, health issues, living in a stressful city… it all added up to a not very fun-filled me. I needed something to giggle at, and I found it. I’ve watched episodes of Three’s Company every night since, and I’ve had a belly laugh in EVERY single episode. (I hope the neighbours have ear muffs 🙂 )

Thank you John Ritter for the lesson, I don’t intend to forget to laugh ever again! 

Jack Tripper’s dance number is one of the funniest clips I’ve ever seen. Makes me wish he’d done more of this – Charlie Chaplin could have been in trouble!

  Chrissy’s dumb blondeness, Janet’s
 own brand of unique comedy, the 70s / early 80s, Mr Roper who is more asexual than homophobic and who is hysterically funny in his escapades from trying to escape the frustrated Mrs Roper all the while teasing Jack, to the very red blooded and kind hearted Mr Furley – – all played as incredibly funny foils and backdrops to the inimitable Jack Tripper.  I would say that Three’s Company was a moment in time when an incredibly talented cast happened to find themselves together in the same time and same place. I’m not sure how often that kind of miracle happens. Don Knotts who played Mr Furley is widely quoted as having said that John Ritter was the finest physical comedian on the planet. I think that’s probably true and is high praise coming from someone as talented as Don Knotts himself, who has also sadly passed on and is worthy of a blog post all of his own. One of the questions I’ve asked myself is whether Three’s Company did the gay movement any favours. And I go back to the fact that it was probably a completely taboo subject back in those days, and now, here was a TV series that presented with a heterosexual man completely prepared to pretend to be gay, another (Larry) who didn’t mind being mistaken for being gay, and two landlords who didn’t mind having a gay man in their building. So I think Three’s Company facilitated the acceptance of homosexuality.

Back to John Ritter: I think the poignant thing to me is realising that if someone has the power to make you a fan 10 years after he has passed away, there was definitely something special about him. That is some gift to leave the world – to have people laughing at your antics 30 years after you recorded them, to be touching souls years after you have passed on. My lesson of now is to live life with a bit of humour, and my inspiration is to leave a gift to the world that it may enjoy years after I’ve passed. John Ritter seems to have been well loved by everyone who came into contact with him, and mourned until this day.  In an interview he did in the late 70s, he was asked how he would like to be remembered, and he said: Just as a guy who was interested in the golden thread that intertwines all of us together. You know, that golden thread that goes through me and you, and the cameraman, and all the people out there and back through Nancy (his wife Nancy Morgan). That`s what an artist can do, that someone – anyone – could do, if they`re willing to pluck that. And either it makes you laugh or it makes you cry, it`s that golden thread of humanity, and I`d like to be remembered as maybe a guy who plucked a few of those.And it’s this that makes me say: John Ritter, you plucked the golden thread of humanity.  People laugh at all you’ve done, and they sure as hell cried on the day you died, and many days since. Thank you for the laughter and the memories, both from 30 years ago and from today.

RIP John Ritter. Because I only recently became a real fan, I feel I am grieving your death now!!! You died too young, but it was a life well lived with goals achieved, and will live on in our hearts and minds forever, and I venture to suggest, you will continue to reach new generations.

Aortic Dissection

John Ritter died suddenly and sadly on September 2003, 10 years ago from an aortic dissection, which had been previously undetected. It’s a little known and very dangerous, but treatable, condition. Check out The John Ritter Foundation for Aortic Health to learn more about this condition and to give your support.

Related Article: Amy Yasbeck chats to us about The John Ritter Foundation for Aortic Health