‘Three’s Company’: Suzanne Somers Explained Why John Ritter Was ‘On Par’ with Dick Van Dyke

by Joe Rutland
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John Ritter had a way of performing physical comedy on “Three’s Company” that left a costar comparing him to another TV legend.

Suzanne Somers, who plays Chrissy Snow on the show, says Ritter is “the greatest physical comic of our era, on par with Dick Van Dyke.” Her comments come from an interview in 2020 with ET Online.

“John Ritter could flip over a couch and it was choreographed like a dance,” Somers said of her costar who died in 2003. “He didn’t count it out, but he did it the same way each time.”

Van Dyke, who established himself in film and, of course, on TV in his own “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” did a lot of physical comedy on his show. In the show’s opening, you can find Van Dyke tripping over a footstool onto his back. There were other pratfalls and facial expressions that were signature moves in Van Dyke’s repertoire.

Somers Calls ‘Three’s Company’ Costar ‘My Real Coach’

One could watch Ritter and see that he also had some signature mannerisms and physical moves of his own.

Somers said she learned a lot from Ritter, calling him “my real coach.”

“I would just sit there and watch, see his brilliance and he had his demons,” Somers said. “You know, when people are that nice they usually have demons.”

She called the chemistry between Snow and Ritter’s character Jack Tripper was “magical.”

Suzanne Somers Believes Ritter ‘Got Mad’ After She Left

“I think after I was fired, I think he irrationally got mad at me because he lost his sparring partner,” Somers said. She went on to say that she would be mad, too. “It wasn’t up to me, it was up to the egos of the producers, and had they been smart — I was on what, six years? It probably would have stayed on another six.”

But Somers and Ritter did have plenty of on-screen moments that “Three’s Company” fans continue to enjoy these days.

After Somers was fired, Jenilee Harrison took over her spot. The show also gained some strength from having comedy veteran Don Knotts play landlord Ralph Furley. Knotts’ character as well as the actor’s comic timing proved quite helpful in keeping “Three’s Company” on the air.

Yet that special quality Somers brought to the show was missing throughout the rest of its run. In later years, Somers has opened up to making peace publicly with her other costar Joyce DeWitt. She also admitted that she misses Ritter, too.

Take a look at John Ritter displaying his own physical comedy style.

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