‘Three’s Company’ Star John Ritter to Be Honored by Jimmy Kimmel, Suzanne Somers and More for Aug. 25 TV Special

by Megan Molseed
(Photo by Tom Wargacki/WireImage)

Part of his charm has always been the awkward goofiness that he brings to the screen; a sort of uncanny ability to charm audiences with his boyish good looks and unparalleled knack for slapstick. John Ritter hit the television scene in the 1970s and shot to fame seemingly overnight.

Ritter’s ability to translate humor on the screen through his own unique delivery is something for which he will be forever remembered. His life and legacy will be honored tonight on a new episode of the ABC series “Superstar” and, as the upcoming ABC special states, John Ritter was most certainly a “Superstar.”

John Ritter, the charming star of the popular 1970s sitcom series “Three’s Company,” as well as many other movies and shows including the early 2000’s sitcom “8 Simple Rules…For Dating My Teenage Daughter,” is the subject of tonight’s “Superstar” special.

Honoring Those Who Shaped American Culture

The ABC series features an in-depth look at the lives of some of America’s most memorable stars. ABC defines the show as featuring “the mavericks who shaped American culture.” So far, the series has chronicled the lives of Whitney Houston and Kobe Bryant. Robin Williams’s story is set to air in future episodes.

The August 25 “Superstar” episode will honor John Ritter and his legacy through a series of interviews with those who knew him well, past interviews, and home movies.

Some of those interviewed in the upcoming ABC episode include Ritter’s son and fellow actor, Jason Ritter; as well as Suzanne Summers, and Kaley Cuoco.

The episode will also feature interviews with those who knew him best such as his first wife, Nancy, Bryan Cranston, Jimmy Kimmel, Henry Winkler, and Raven Symoné.

The series will chronicle Ritter’s rise to fame in the 1970s to his final roles before the star’s tragic death. The Wednesday evening episode will also feature Ritter’s legacy and how sitcom superstar found his way to the career-making role of Jack Tripper on the classic ABC television hit, “Three’s Company.”

The special will include clips of an interview between famous broadcast journalist Barbara Walters and John Ritter. The special will also feature some home movies of the actor and his private home life.

Tonight’s episode of “Superstar” will also explore the iconic actor’s tragic and sudden death at just 54 years old.

John Ritter’s Return to Sitcom Comedy

At the time of his death, Ritter was starring in the ABC television show “8 Simple Rules…for Dating My Teenage Daughter.” The sitcom series starred Ritter and Katey Sagal as parents to three teenage children daughters Bridget (Kaley Cuoco), Kerry (Amy Davidson), and their son, Rory (Martin Spanjers). The series premiered in September 2002. Almost exactly one year prior to Ritter’s untimely death.

The series centers around John Ritter’s character, Paul taking charge of the home after his wife Cate (Sagal) takes a full-time position as a nurse. Of course, Paul has some strict rules regarding his daughter’s and dating. Eight to be exact!

The series took a tragic turn on September 11, 2003 when John Ritter began to feel ill. The actor began sweating, vomiting, as well as complaining of pains in his chest. Eventually, John Ritter was taken to a local hospital where he was initially treated for a heart attack. However, the treatments didn’t help the actor and his condition continued to deteriorate. Later that evening, Ritter was diagnosed with an aortic dissection and underwent surgery. Sadly, the surgery wasn’t successful and John Ritter passed away later that night.