‘Three’s Company’: The Major Image Change Joyce DeWitt Made Without Telling Show

by Joe Rutland
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Joyce DeWitt played common-sense-minded Janet Wood on “Three’s Company.” She could also do something not-so-common, too, and she did one time.

George Sunga, one of the producers of the ABC hit comedy, talked about DeWitt during an interview for the Archive of American Television.

“One time, she cut her hair over summer break,” Sunga said. “Nobody knew she was going to do that. It was a shock, so she can be tunnel vision in this case.”

In the same interview, he said DeWitt was “well-studied, a very professional lady.”

“Remembers everything,” he said. “Considerate, kind to the cast, kind to the crew, and very involved. She always had something to say, especially with our three guys. If it’s something to do with her character, can we do this, can we change that, can we let her grow up a bit, can we change her hair?”

DeWitt picked up the part for “Three’s Company” upon being cast in the show’s second pilot episode. Obviously, she played opposite John Ritter, who played Jack Tripper, and Suzanne Somers, who played Chrissy Snow. DeWitt was a part of the show from 1977-84.

She left acting for a number of years, though. But she did return to it, mostly doing stage work. DeWitt is 72 years old and was born in Wheeling, W.Va.

‘Three’s Company’ Star Felt Ritter Betrayed Her With New Show

Now after “Three’s Company” ended, John Ritter went on to star in a spinoff called “Three’s A Crowd.” One person missing from that show was DeWitt. She was not happy about it at all. In fact, DeWitt never received an offer for the show.

She explains in an interview with Closer Weekly what was going on inside her. Historian Chris Mann offers some perspective about the acrimonious relationship between DeWitt and Ritter.

TV Guide had done a cover story titled, ‘John Ritter: He’s Looking For a Different Trip Now,’” Mann said. “So, I think the writing was sort of on the wall that Three’s Company would be winding down, but for whatever reason, John followed the producers’ advice not to disclose to Joyce that they had planned to spin off his character at the end of Season 8.”

Mann said it’s clear that DeWitt was being purposefully left out of the cast.

“So there was deception there that she took personally,” Mann said. “John was in a very tricky situation, and maybe there was a better way to handle it, but there were certainly differences on the set then.”

John Ritter died on Sept. 11, 2003. In 2012, DeWitt and Somers met one another for the first time in 31 years and talked about their memories of Ritter on “Three’s Company.”

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