‘Three’s Company’: One Actor’s Father Was a Pioneering Legend of Country Music, Founder of CMA

by Katie Maloney
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Can you guess which Three’s Company star was raised by a country music star?

If you guessed John Ritter, you’re right! Three’s Company star John Ritter was the son of Woodward Maurice “Tex” Ritter. Tex was a country music legend from the 1930s-60s. He’s even a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame. Ritter started singing at a young age but caught the show business bug in 1928 after singing for a radio station in Houston, Texas. After his performance, he decided to move to New York City to pursue a music career. He landed a job in the men’s chorus for the Broadway show The New Moon. For the next four years, he starred in Broadway shows and eventually landed a starring role in New York City’s first broadcast Western, The Lone Star Rangers. During the program, Tex sang songs of the Old West. In 1936, Tex moved to Los Angeles and went on to appear in 85 movies. Additionally, Tex even helped found the Country Music Association (CMA) and was elected its president in 1963.

https://youtu.be/aMMe8dB5S6Q
Texas Ritter performs his song “High Noon.”

Three’s Company Star John Ritter’s Dad Didn’t Want Him to Be an Actor

Tex Ritter spent many years struggling to make ends meet before hitting it big as a country music star. Naturally, he wanted a more ease-filled life for his children. So, when John Ritter took an interest in acting, Tex wasn’t too happy. John’s brother had already found success as a lawyer. And Tex hoped that John would do the same. But, in 1968 John abruptly switched his college major from psychology to theater and never looked back. During an interview in 1985, John Ritter opened up about his father’s opinion of show business.

The interviewer said, “Your dad said to you, the wise man that he was, ‘Don’t be an actor.'”

Ritter started laughing and replied, “He just didn’t want me to starve. He lived on chili for two years in New York. And went through snowy winters in New York trying to make it. And he didn’t want that for his son. He wanted me to be something substantial like a brain surgeon. But I just couldn’t do it, I was too nervous.”

And it’s a good thing John stayed on his acting path. After his debut recurring role on The Waltons, John soared to fame. John Ritter went on to appear in over 100 films and television series combined including Three’s Company, 8 Simple Rules, and Ally McBeal. He also won a Golden Globe Award and a Primetime Emmy and was nominated for many more. In conclusion, we’re grateful that John Ritter was an actor and not a brain surgeon.

John Ritter talks about his father Tex Ritter.
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