American actor John Ritter, typically the engaging, rather boyish, sometimes goofy comic lead, made his film acting debut in 1970 and came into prominence on TV's popular and amusing if rather unsubtly prurient Three's Company. He used the series, which ran from 1977 to 1984, to carve out an identity that led him to many other roles. Ritter would later enjoy greater critical acclaim, if less popular response, in Hooperman (1987-1989), a comedy-drama which dared to eschew the prompting of a laugh track (Previously, John had displayed his versatility with a strong dramatic performance in the TV-movie, Unnatural Causes, 1986), and Hearts Afire (1992-1995). Extremely deft at physical comedy, Ritter went on to appear in a number of light comedy features such as Real Men (1987) and Problem Child (1990), with modest success through the 1980s and 90s. He has also served as executive producer of two TV series. John, whose father was the singing cowboy Tex Ritter, and his mother, Dorothy Fay Southworth, an actress who became the official greeter at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennesee, was twice married: first to actress Nancy Morgan (1977-1996), with whom he had three children, the oldest son being actor Jason Ritter, and then he and actress Amy Yasbeck (Wings) were wed in 1999. Ritter died of an aortic dissection on September 11, 2003 after becoming ill on the set of 8 Simple Rules... for Dating My Teenage Daughter.