While he may be most known for his role in “Three’s Company” alongside Joyce DeWitt and Suzanne Somers, John Ritter continued his career outside of sitcoms.
During his long career, Ritter had appeared in over 100 films and TV series. He had also been on Broadway in productions over the years as well. He appeared in “It,” “Problem Child,” “Problem Child 2,” ” Sling Blade,” and “Bad Santa.”
Beyond ‘Three’s Company’
His last three roles ever were as Paul Hennessy on “8 Simple Rules,” as a voice in “Seven Little Monsters,” and as the infamous PBS children’s program “Clifford the Big Red Dog.”
John Ritter had played the iconic red dog in the TV short series from 2000 to 2003. He then voiced the dog in the movie, “Clifford’s Really Big Movie.” He appeared briefly as a voice in “King of the Hill” in 2004 as well as in “Stanley’s Dinosaur Round-Up” in 2006.
A few of his roles had aired after his death. Ritter passed away in 2003. He was on the set of his new sitcom when he suddenly started to feel sick. He had been rushed to hospital and, due to his symptoms, was treated for a heart attack.
It turns out that he had an aortic dissection, which unless treated early on, is usually a fatal condition. The “Three’s Company” actor was only 54 when he passed away.
Clifford and Ritter’s Impact
His role as Clifford continues to be influential today. The show had aired in 110 different countries at the time. There is a new Clifford film that is scheduled to come out soon as well. It will star Darby Camp and John Cleese. There is also an Amazon Prime Video show that has Adam Sanders voicing the dog.
“I watched some of the old episodes to get a sense of how John Ritter portrayed him as very optimistic and very youthful, full of compassion,” said Sanders, according to AP News.
Even as a voice actor, his presence was incredibly recognizable. ‘Three’s Company” continues to make people laugh in re-runs as well.
Ritter is remembered for his acts of comedic genius. However, his tragic death also helped spread awareness for aortic dissections. According to Looper, his widow, Amy Yasbeck, started a foundation called the John Ritter Foundation. It helps to support the research of thoracic aortic diseases. The foundation distributes what is known as “Ritter Rules.” These are essentially warning signs or symptoms of the condition.