Ritter, who died in 2003, spoke with a reporter in his Three’s Company dressing room about his ambitions. As ever, he was charming and funny. He joked that he’d answer any question because his life was an “open wound.” But he seemed to bristle when asked if being a star was important to him.
“It’s not important,” he said. “Being thought of as a good actor is the only thing is. It’s really nice to be able to choose properties you know as opposed to, you know knocking on doors and doing auditions. I was always very poor at selling myself to a prospective director or producer. I mean, I was okay on the readings, but when I first started going out on interviews they’d say tell us a little bit about yourself John I’d say there’s not much to tell. They’d say ‘Thank you don’t slam the door on your way out.'”
That drive and desire showed through his work, as well. His Three’s Company co-star Suzanne Somers said Ritter’s comedic talent was on par with Dick Van Dyke. He said she learned a lot about acting from Ritter, calling him her “coach.”
“John Ritter could flip over a couch and it was choreographed like a dance,” Somers told Entertainment Tonight last year. “He didn’t count it out, but he did it the same way each time.”
Friends Say Ritter’s Comedy Extended Beyond TV
John Ritter’s attention to detail and want for excellent didn’t stop when he left the set. Henry Winkler, who played The Fonz on Happy Days, was a dear friend of Ritter’s, said the man was funny but not frivolous.
“He was always on a search, looking for an answer, not carefree like so many people think. His was not a soul that skipped through the world,” Winkler said. “He was duty-bound — a quality that made him an incredible dad and husband.”
Winkler said they met at an ABC gala event, and he was blown away by Ritter’s abilities and presence.
“I met John at ABC’s 25th anniversary party in 1978. When he walked into a room, his utter Johnness just filled it up, every corner, every crevice,” Winkler wrote. “It was a life force, a joy, an energy that made you think ‘My God, how does he maintain it?’ He was so gigantic, smart, and perceptive. And so funny. There was so much funny in him that it was almost like his body couldn’t contain it.”