A native of Los Angeles, John Ritter is the youngest son of Western film star and country music legend Tex Ritter. He graduated from Hollywood High School, where he was Student Body President, and from the University of Southern California with a BFA degree in Drama.
John came to national prominence as the star of television's long-running hit comedy series "Three's Company," which earned him Emmy, Golden Globe and People's Choice awards for his role as Jack Tripper. He returned to series television in "Hooperman," receiving Emmy and Golden Globe nominations and winning a People's Choice Award. He then starred in the comedy series "Hearts Afire," which ran from 1992 through 1995.
John has starred in more than 25 television movies, including "Unnatural Causes," which earned him an Emmy nomination for Best Actor, "Stephen King's It," "The Dreamer of Oz," "The Only Way Out," "Unforgivable" and "A Child's Wish" -- featuring a special appearance by President Clinton.
He has guest starred on many popular television series and earned an Emmy nomination for his appearance on "Ally McBeal." He can presently be heard every day as the voice of "Clifford, the Big Red Dog" on the popular PBS animated series, a role which has earned him two Emmy nominations.
John's motion picture credits include Peter Bogdanovich's "They All Laughed" and "Noises Off," Blake Edwards' "Skin Deep," "Problem Child," "Sling Blade" and "Panic." He most recently co-starred with Sigourney Weaver in "Tadpole."
He has appeared in more than 50 plays all over the country and recently completed a nine-month starring role in the Broadway premiere of Neil Simon's "The Dinner Party," which won a Theatre World Award and the 2001 Outer Critics Circle Award. John returned to the Los Angeles stage in March, starring in "J for J" in a six-week run at the Court Theatre.
While filming an episode of 8 Simple Rules, Ritter became seriously ill. He was taken to a hospital across the street from the set but later died, less than a week before his 55th birthday.
He died from an aortic dissection caused by a previously undiagnosed congenital heart defect.
HOMETOWN: Los Angeles, CA
BIRTHDATE: September 17