Three's Company now two
September 12, 2003 3:51 AM   Subscribe

"Come and knock on my door..." Actor John Ritter dies of aortic dissection, an unexpected rupture of the aortic wall.
posted by mischief (44 comments total)
One of the great comedic actors that I know of. His portrayal of Jack Tripper was *perfect* -- just an all-around nice guy.

Who figured that he would die before Don Knotts?

posted by davidmsc at 3:56 AM on September 12, 2003

I really enjoyed Hooperman. Wish that had gone on longer...
posted by PenDevil at 4:01 AM on September 12, 2003

Buffy's scary robotic near-stepdad... his defining role.
posted by jpburns at 4:21 AM on September 12, 2003

he was also pretty good in the TV movie IT.
posted by titboy at 4:52 AM on September 12, 2003

I like his recent portrayal of JT's dad on NBC's Scrubs.

I always felt his crowning achievement was Hero At Large.
posted by thanotopsis at 4:54 AM on September 12, 2003

Ritter had an outstanding supporting role as a small-town gay man in Billy Bob Thornton's Sling Blade (1996). I thought it was an excellent performance and a departure from his usual comic role.

His Three's Company role was quintessential physical comedy. He was in the 80s what Jerry Lewis was in the 60s and Jim Carrey was in the 90s. He will be greatly missed.
posted by PrinceValium at 5:09 AM on September 12, 2003

I've never heard of him. So in the spirit of the braindead thread about Anna Lindh, I present the following:

Wait, they have televisions in America?
posted by salmacis at 5:22 AM on September 12, 2003

John Ritter had a lot of secrets. RIP.
posted by MegoSteve at 5:28 AM on September 12, 2003

An "Aortic Dissection"... Sounds quite random. Argh.
posted by thrakintosh at 5:40 AM on September 12, 2003

For best all-time Ritter moments, I'm partial to Skin Deep's glowing-condom fight scene.
posted by rcade at 5:43 AM on September 12, 2003

Far and away the greatest slapstick comedian of the last three generations. I'll miss him.
posted by Cerebus at 6:04 AM on September 12, 2003

Ah man...I just started watching that 8 rules's damn funny.
posted by Yossarian at 6:05 AM on September 12, 2003

I used to rush home after school to watch reruns of Three's Company. Ritter always made my day. Go in peace.

posted by ashbury at 6:07 AM on September 12, 2003

Man, Johnny Cash AND John Ritter... can I reboot this day somehow?
posted by cratchit at 6:20 AM on September 12, 2003

I'm sure most of y'all didn't watch Felicity, but his role on there as Ben Covington's dad showed a dramatic side I didn't know he had, and it gave me an even greater appreciation for him. I'll miss him too.
posted by lnicole at 6:26 AM on September 12, 2003

More splendid physical comedy: Noises Off.
posted by JanetLand at 6:29 AM on September 12, 2003

::: runs into the room, falls down :::

/homage to Jack Tripper
posted by dhoyt at 6:38 AM on September 12, 2003

Already said my piece/peace. Holy cow, lookit that resume!

*runs across room, flips over couch, lands in JanetLand's lap*

"I swear, it will be completely platonic!"
posted by ZachsMind at 6:47 AM on September 12, 2003

I could really go for a Three's Company marathon right about now.
posted by shoepal at 6:59 AM on September 12, 2003

No one's mentioned Panic. No one ever mentions Panic. Frikkin excellent movie, with great performances by William H. Macy, Donald Sutherland, Tracy Ullman, Barbara Bain, Neve Campbell, and Ritter. Rent it NOW.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:04 AM on September 12, 2003

I was never really a big fan, but I think he was damned near genius in Skin Deep.
posted by UncleFes at 7:08 AM on September 12, 2003

Yeah I checked NetFlix ShoePal and I guess Three's Company hasn't been released on dvd yet, but I could go for a 3C marathon too.

I actually started liking 8SR quite recently. Didn't give it a shot until recently cuz the premise sounded lame, but Ritter's surrounding talent on that show is better than I expected. Writing is.. slightly above average. It was funny, which is remarkable considering how few sitcoms these days ARE funny. Will 8SR survive this, you think? Or are Davidson and Cuoco waking up this morning to face the unemployment line?

That'd be a doublepunch to their ribs. Must suck to be them right now.
posted by ZachsMind at 7:17 AM on September 12, 2003

posted by thunder at 8:03 AM on September 12, 2003

I don't know why this news makes me want to cry. I just always loved that guy.
Man, Johnny Cash AND John Ritter... .. geezus f-ing Christ ... what good company.
posted by oh posey at 8:06 AM on September 12, 2003

So bizarre. I'm not much of a fan but still, weird weird weird. RIP.
posted by xmutex at 8:15 AM on September 12, 2003

To compound the sadness, he died on his daughter's 5th birthday ... he was supposed to take her to her first day in school today ... sigh.
posted by lola at 8:19 AM on September 12, 2003

My girlfriend and I were listening to NPR this morning, and they started playing "Ring of Fire". I immediately groaned "Oh no!", because it was obvious that Mr. Cash had passed on.

Then they announce that John Ritter had died as well - I was pretty sure I was still asleep and dreaming, because who would expect to hear that John Ritter was dead? Just watched Tadpole a few weeks ago; he was great in that.
posted by GriffX at 10:18 AM on September 12, 2003

Lola, that's horrible! Where did you hear that about his daughter? Friday would be a weird day to start school on, wouldn't it?

I knew he had a second family with young kids, that's so, so sad.
posted by GaelFC at 10:21 AM on September 12, 2003

Mefi trashes news of Lindh's savage attack, but mourns Ritter without a snark.

Ask not for whom the meta-bell tolls...
posted by Fupped Duck at 10:46 AM on September 12, 2003

Johnny Cash...

John Ritter...

maybe John Ashcroft will be next.

posted by car_bomb at 11:13 AM on September 12, 2003

Anybody hear from Johnny 5? Is he still alive?
posted by Stan Chin at 11:36 AM on September 12, 2003

dhoyt, your tribute was perfect!

[Public Service Announcement...with guitar! [/tribute-to-Strummer-within-a-tribute]]:

Aortic dissections (and aortic aneurysms) can happen for a number of reasons, from chest trauma (as in a car wreck) to the effects of certain genetically-determined connective tissue diseases.

One such disease is Marfan Syndrome (which I'm suspected of having -- was tentatively diagnosed in my late 20s), which causes a weakening in fibrillin, resulting primarily in skeletal and cardiac problems (including an elevated risk of aortic dissection). Though Ritter didn't appear to have the outward Marfan "look" (we tend to be tall, thin, and "gangly"), I just wanted to mention it here in case any fellow MeFites (or friends/family) may have a lot of the symptoms -- it's a disease that can often go undiagnosed until it's too late (Olympic volleyball champ Flo Hyman and Rent playwright Jonathan Larson both died of it without knowing they had the condition; Abe Lincoln is thought to have had it as well -- and look what happened to him!).

A related connective tissue disorder is Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. I believe it affects collagen rather than fibrillin, and also carries cardiac risks.

[/Public Service Announcement]
posted by scody at 11:42 AM on September 12, 2003

He made the 70s funny (for me).

Too soon.
posted by justgary at 12:00 PM on September 12, 2003

what justgary said...

It's good that we'll always have reruns of him.
posted by amberglow at 12:09 PM on September 12, 2003

Jack is off to the big regal beagle in the sky. Thanks for the laughs John.
posted by mad at 12:09 PM on September 12, 2003

I couldn't stand anything this guy ever did but I don't hold that against him as zillions liked his schtick and he did seem like he was a nice fella. And 54 is too young for anyone to check out. He probably made a great next door neighbor.
posted by HTuttle at 1:09 PM on September 12, 2003

Where did you hear that about his daughter? Friday would be a weird day to start school on, wouldn't it?

Steve Edwards mentioned this on the program, Good Morning America, this morning. Apparently, he and Ritter had been close friends for many years.
posted by lola at 2:45 PM on September 12, 2003

MegoSteve linked above to the Conan O'Brain Celebrity Secrets page. If you went there and didn't understand why -- they removed John Ritter's celebrity secrets.

I don't see why. There is nothing that is suddenly in bad taste due to his death. It's a decent comic bit.

So, as a public service, here they are:


"I once had a heated argument with Don Knotts. He looked me dead in the eye and said that I wasn't fit to shine Andy Griffith's shoes. I stayed up all night thinking about that and I said to myself, 'My God he's right.' The next day, I quit my job as Andy Griffith's shoe shiner."

"Three's Company was originally called Three Companies about a trio of pharmaceutical companies. It was ten times funnier."

"Most people don't know that I am an accomplished dramatic actor. I have a play on Broadway now with Henry Winkler called Dinner Party. But I've performed in several Shakespeare productions including Hamlet, except in this version, Hamlet lives in an apartment with two women, and has to pretend he's gay so that the landlord won't evict him."

"Apparently there's this new scandal about how you can see my scrotum hanging out of my blue boxer shorts for a split second on episode 161 of Three's Company. Someone asked me if maybe I did that on purpose. You bet I did."

"The show CHiPs taped right next door to us. I remember going over to the set to see my friend Paul Linke who played Officer Grossman, and I was walking behind the sound stage and I saw Erik Estrada kissing Don Knotts. Two days later Don showed up to the set in tears. He told everyone his dog was sick but I knew it was because he had broken up with Erik."

"Once during a taping there was an actor who kept blowing his lines. It happened again and again. Finally Norman Fell came out- he wasn't even in that scene. But Norman came out and you know what he did? He killed the guy with a hammer."
posted by ?! at 4:58 PM on September 12, 2003

my childhood was spent watching reruns of three's company...a sad day...
posted by jann at 5:03 PM on September 12, 2003

posted by airgirl at 6:26 PM on September 12, 2003

He also played the local minister on the early episodes of The Waltons. (A woman I knew was shocked he would play a minister then engage in the risque humour of Three's Co. She always wondered which reflected the real J.R.)
posted by philfromhavelock at 8:33 PM on September 12, 2003

I just read his secrets on the Conan page just fine. The link worked.
posted by dgaicun at 8:47 PM on September 12, 2003

Phil, I read an article about him once that said that Ritter took his three children to a movie once and was so horrified by the risque content of it that he made them leave in the middle. He said that was the first time he ever really understood why parents used to scream at him for doing Three's Company.

I was saddened to hear of his death. John Ritter was a talented man, and from all reports, a good one as well - the respect shown in this thread attests to that.

I keep thinking of a role he played in Bride of Chucky - he was a teenaged girl's piggish uncle and guardian. True to B-horror movie conventions he was killed off in a horrible way as the asshole characters always are. But the the thing was, I definitely got the feeling he was enjoying playing a creep. I bet he was a happy kind of guy who loved what he did - that always came through in all his roles.
posted by orange swan at 8:54 PM on September 12, 2003

dqaicun: You're correct. I have no idea why they weren't working last night. I was trying to show someone at their place. We tried two different browsers. Ah well.
posted by ?! at 9:59 AM on September 13, 2003

« Older Border Breach?   |   12 year old Aboriginal girl described as being Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments