During a 2019 interview, Three’s Company actor Richard Kline remembered the late classic TV star John Ritter as an “all-around good guy” who was loved by all who met him.
In the legendary sitcom, Kline played Larry Dallas to Ritter’s Jack Tripper. The two had a meaningful friendship both on and off the screen. And Kline has nothing but fond memories of his time with the actor.
“[He was a] friend, comedy genius, all-around good guy, great father… there are just too many things that come to mind,” Kline told Closer Weekly. “Baseball fan, Beatles fan — huge Beatles fan. As a matter of fact, at his funeral, the cabaret singer Amanda McBroom sang The Beatles song In My Life. Not a dry seat in the house.”
Ritter passed away in 2003 after falling ill on the set of 8 Simples Rules. It was later revealed that the 54-year-old suffered an aortic dissection, or tear in the inner layer of the aorta.
Three’s Company followed the lives of roommates Jack, Janet, and Chrissy during a time when men and women cohabitating without the vows of marriage was a faux pas. So to get away with the arrangements, the girls told a lie that created eight seasons of misadventures from 1976 until 1984.
The series also starred Joyce DeWitt, Suzanne Sommers, and Don Knotts. But according to Kline, Ritter always stole the limelight.
“The show was called Three’s Company, but it might as well have been called The John Ritter Show,” he admitted. “Because I mean, he drove the physical comedy. He was the star of the show no matter how many blondes came and went. Through the years, people who have worked on that show – that I may have run into or read in print – said what a friendly set it was. And the reason it was a friendly set is that there was no egomaniac at the top. John was very gracious to everyone on the show, and that really burnished his reputation.”
‘Thee’s Company’ Co-Stars John Ritter and Richard Kline Reconnected Shortly Before Ritter’s Death
During filming, nothing stood in the way of the castmates’ friendships, not even the contract negotiations that ultimately left Sommers without a job. But when the series ended, all of the actors did end up naturally going their own ways. Though, Kline said that he and Ritter “reconnected” shortly before Ritter’s death.
The last few times that the duo spent time together was in late 2002. Ritter and Kline went to a Dodgers game. And then shortly after, Ritter also watched Kline in a showdown in the Pacific Palisades. But despite going some years without seeing each other, Kline said they were “pretty much set pals.”
And over the years, fame never changed John Ritter. Even up until his passing, he was always, “the same John.”
“He was just the all-American boy,” Kline continued. “The guy you would want, if you were a mother, to marry your daughter. The guy you would want on your softball team. And the guy you’d want to go with if you were into hunting and fishing.”