John was famous for playing the role of Jack Tripper in the hit ABC sitcom Three's Company, for which he won an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series and a Golden Globe for Best TV Actor in a Comedy/Musical in 1984.
Before his death, John taped three full episodes of his show 8 Simple Rules For Dating My Teenage Daughter, which was in its second season.
John formed his own production company in 1984 named Adam Productions.
John appeared in several stage plays in England, Scotland and Germany between 1968 and 1969.
A sudden onset of nausea and chest pain, misdiagnosed as a heart attack, ended with the death of actor John Ritter on Sept. 11, 2003 (Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, California). Heart disease was the culprit: The 54-year-old sitcom star had actually suffered an aortic dissection, a tear in the wall of the largest blood vessel in the body, the aorta.
John studied acting with Stella Adler at the Harvey Lembeck Comedy Workshop.
John attended the University of Southern California with a major in Psychology and a minor in Architecture.
Growing up, John was a member of the Boy Scouts of America, and was active in both Cub Scouting and Boy Scouting.
While enrolled at Hollywood High School, John was elected student body president. He graduated in 1966.
John was a member of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity.
John's performance as Jack Tripper in the comedy series, Three's Company (1977-1984), ranked #80 on Bravo's The 100 Greatest TV Characters, a five-part countdown televison special that aired in 2004.
John was the only castmember to appear in every episode of Three's Company.
Years before John and Amy Yasbeck got married, they starred together in part 1 and 2 of Problem Child. They also appeared in an episode of The Cosby Show, ten years prior to their marriage. Coincidentally, they played a husband and wife expecting their first child.
John's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is located next to his father's. Upon his death, his star was heavily decorated by fans.
John was the first guest ever to appear on The Wayne Brady Show. Upon his death, the episode was rebroadcast in his honor.
Prior to his untimely death (September 11, 2003), John taped a week's worth of episodes of The Hollywood Squares. When the game show installments aired in late September and early October, they were preceded by the program's then executive producer and Ritter's close friend, Henry Winkler, who offered a dedication to John.
During the Three's Company episode titled "Dying to Meet You" (Season 5, Episode 20), John's character, Jack Tripper, is forced to fake his death to avoid being hurt by a girl's jealous boyfriend. Tripper's roommate, Janet Wood (Joyce DeWitt), explains that Jack died because he was so afraid of the boyfriend, that "his heart couldn't take it." Cindy Snow (Jenilee Harris), another roommate, then adds, "God forgot to wind it." Ironically, John would later suffer from an aortic dissection, causing his untimely death.
John's father, legendary country singer and actor Tex Ritter, never lived to see John's big break as Jack Tripper in Three's Company. However, he did get to see his son's recurring role in The Waltons, Tex's favorite show.
When John died, his role as "Paul Hennesey" on 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter was written out by having the character collapse due to a heart attack while shopping for groceries, reflecting John's actual cause of death.
John's brother, Tom Ritter, suffers from cerebral palsy. It is because of this that John has contributed much to the cause, and in fact, co-hosted the United Cerebral Palsy national telethon for over 15 years.
John's untimely death would make Bad Santa (2003) his final film, that of which was dedicated to his memory in post-production.
John is buried at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills, 6300 Forest Lawn Drive, Los Angeles, California (actually borders Glendale and Griffith Park). Lot 1622 Court of Liberty near Stan Laurel's gravesite.
Nearly a year after his untimely death, John Ritter as his character, Paul Hennessy, on the hit series 8 Simple Rules... for Dating My Teenage Daughter (2002), was ranked #48 on TV Guide's list of the 50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time (20 June 2004 issue).
John fathered four children: actor Jason Ritter (born February 17, 1980), Carly Ritter (born March 1, 1982), Tyler Ritter (born 1984) and Stella Ritter (born September 11, 1998). He was married to actress Nancy Morgan, mother of Jason, Carly and Tyler, from October 16, 1977 until they divorced in September 1996. John and his second wife and mother of Stella, actress Amy Yasbeck, were wed in September 1999 and were together until his death on September 11th 2003.
John died in Providence St. Joseph Medical Center, Burbank, California, the same hospital he was born in.
One of John's last public appearances was at Disney's Prime Time Weekend at Disney's California Adventure Park, four days before his death.
John was rehearsing lines with actor Henry Winkler when he collapsed and died soon afterwards.
In 1967, college student John was one of three bachelors hidden from view during the questioning period in an episode of The Dating Game. When the bachelorette asked him, "If we were to be married, what sort of unusual wedding could you dream up?", John's date-winning answer was: "We would drain out Lake Michigan and have Butterscotch Ripple dropped from airplanes on our heads."
John stood 6' 1" (1.85 m).
John died on September 11, 2003, the same day as his daughter, Stella's fifth birthday. It was also a day before his wife's birthday and six days before his fifty-fifth birthday and a week before their fourth wedding anniversary.
John Ritter: I knew when I grew up, I always wanted to be a liar, and if you're in television, you're lying because you're just pretending to be yourself, much like I'm doing now.
John Ritter: Me a tv star? I've got to be the luckiest guy in the world!
John Ritter: If I found a cure for a huge disease, while I was hobbling up on stage to accept the Nobel Prize, they'd be playing the theme song from Three's Company.