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Sitcom funnyman John Ritter dies

Molly Shore

Emmy Award-winning actor John Ritter, the star of the ABC comedy “8

Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter,” died Thursday night at

Providence St. Joseph Medical Center after collapsing on the set of


the popular sitcom. He was 54.

Ritter became ill Thursday while working on the series and

underwent surgery for a tear in his aorta, a rare medical condition

that went undetected, his publicist said.


He died from a “dissection of the aorta,” which results from an

unrecognized flaw in a main artery from the heart, said his

publicists, Wolf-Kasteler & Associates Public Relations.

Ritter, the youngest son of singing cowboy Tex Ritter, was best

known for his portrayal of Jack Tripper in the 1970s situation comedy

“Three’s Company,” which won him Emmy, Golden Globe and People’s

Choice awards.

“All of us at ABC, Touchstone Pictures and The Walt Disney Co. are


shocked and heartbroken at the terrible news of John’s passing,” the

network released in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with

his wife and children at this very difficult time.”

For more than 30 years, he starred in TV, movies and on stage. His

latest film, “Bad Santa,” opposite Billy Bob Thornton, is scheduled

for release Nov. 26.

A Los Angeles native, Ritter graduated from Hollywood High School,

where he was student body president, and attended USC, where he


earned a bachelor’s degree in drama. Ritter lived in Los Angeles.

Ritter is survived by his wife, Amy Yasbeck, whom he married in

1999. They have a daughter, Stella, 5. Ritter also has three

children, Carly, Tyler and Jason, from a previous marriage.