Ritchie was born Aug. 9, 1938, and grew up on a farm in Grafton, N.D. His family moved to Washington state when he was 7. He moved to California as a teenager and later took acting classes.
He had minor acting roles in the 1960s and '70s on TV series, including "The Wild, Wild West," "Batman" and "Thunder," and bit parts in films before winning the role of Clint Buchanan. Ritchie's first appearance on "One Life to Live" as the transplanted Texan who was editor of the Banner newspaper in fictional Llanview, Pa., came in autumn 1979. He soon became a popular figure on the show, opposite his on-screen wife, Viki, played by Erika Slezak.
Ritchie was a mainstay of the daytime drama until December 1998, when he retired, only to return to the show the next spring for several weeks. He returned for brief stints in 2003 and 2004.
In 1993, Ritchie suffered a serious accident while driving a tractor at his ranch. After he hit a tree stump and was pitched off into the pasture, the tractor ran him over before he could get out of the way. "It took forever," Ritchie told People magazine later that year. "I heard and felt bones breaking like toothpicks."
After months of recuperating from a broken collarbone, shoulder blade and ribs, in addition to a collapsed lung, he returned to the show, whose writers had written a story line to explain his absence.