‘Three’s Company’ Star John Ritter Once Appeared on an Episode of ‘M*A*S*H’

by Joe Rutland
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John Ritter is known for his comedic talents on “Three’s Company,” but he also played serious roles, too, in shows like “M*A*S*H.”

Ritter, who played Jack Tripper on “Three’s Company,” appeared in a second-season episode of the CBS sitcom based on Robert Altman’s film.

In “Deal Me Out,” he plays Pvt. Carter, a GI who is dealing with battle fatigue during the Korean War. This, though, would not be the only non-comedic role for Ritter in his career. He played Rev. Matthew Fordwick for four seasons on “The Waltons.”

Ritter left the CBS family drama when the funny, hip “Three’s Company” started in 1977. Sadly, he died on Sept. 11, 2003, at 54 years old.

Yet his range of acting abilities from drama to comedy helped him stay busy as an actor through his career. Ritter found a place for his comedy talents thanks to the ABC sitcom that also starred Suzanne Somers and Joyce DeWitt.

The show ran for eight seasons, then had two spinoffs called “The Ropers” and “Three’s A Crowd.” “The Ropers” starred Norman Fell and Audra Lindley as the landlords who used to oversee where Jack, Chrissy, and Janet lived. That show ran for two seasons on ABC.

“Three’s A Crowd,” also on ABC, ran for one season with Ritter reprising his role of Jack Tripper.

‘Three’s Company’ Star Was Tagged As Heir Apparent To Dick Van Dyke

If you’ve ever watched Ritter work on “Three’s Company,” then you can’t help but notice how much physical comedy is involved.

He would do pratfalls. Ritter also would be able to make faces toward the camera that provided laughs galore. Some even looked at him as the heir apparent to another TV legend, Dick Van Dyke.

In a 2017 interview from the Archive of American Television, “Three’s Company” producer George Sunga details how truly remarkable John Ritter was for a specific reason.

“He was the heir to Dick Van Dyke,” Sunga said. He points toward Ritter’s physical comedy as evidence.

Sunga said he was the “heir to any other physical comedian to ever come along. I didn’t know how good he was in comedy until he just started! Everybody was captivated.”

He also said Ritter’s success was due to one thing.

“It wasn’t luck,” Sunga said. “He really studied [acting] and worked on it. So it wasn’t by accident.”

Classic TV fans, both young and old alike, can see Ritter in his comedy world through “Three’s Company.” Yet don’t sleep on his dramatic work, too.

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