John Ritter was a familiar face on the small screen for 30 years. And now, nearly two decades after the actor’s death, fans can still catch him in reruns of the classic comedy Three’s Company. In addition to the sitcom, Ritter had guest roles on a number of other TV shows and was starring on 8 Simple Rules… for Dating My Teenage Daughter when he died. He also was also featured in films like Problem Child and Bad Santa.
Here’s how much Ritter was worth at the time of his death.
John Ritter’s early life and career
Ritter was born on Sept. 17, 1948, in Burbank, California to actors Tex Ritter and Dorothy Fay.
After graduating from Hollywood High School, he attended the University of Southern California. He was initially studying psychology but decided to follow in his parents’ footsteps and go into acting. So he changed his major to theater arts.
Ritter’s first TV gig was on Dan August starring Burt Reynolds. In 1971, he made his film debut in The Barefoot Executive. Ritter then had guest appearances on several shows including Hawaii Five-O and M*A*S*H. He also had a reoccurring role on The Waltons from 1972-1976 before landing the lead as Jack Tripper on Three’s Company.
According to Ritter’s castmate Suzanne Somers, he made $150,000 per episode. Somers said that she was fired after she asked for her pay to be bumped up from $30,000 an episode to what he was getting.
“The show’s response was, ‘Who do you think you are?’ ” Somers recalled to People. “They said, ‘John Ritter is the star.’”
Ritter had four children and was married to a fellow actor
Ritter married his first wife, Nancy Morgan, in 1977. The couple had three children–a daughter, Carly, and two sons, Jason and Tyler, who are both actors as well. Jason appeared in the intro of Three’s Company in season 6 when he was a toddler. The footage was used in the intro until the show concluded after its eighth season.
Ritter and Morgan divorced in 1996.
In 1998, Ritter and his Problem Child co-star, Amy Yasbeck welcomed one child, Stella, together. They tied the knot a year later.
Ritter’s death and net worth
Ritter was rehearsing on the set of 8 Simple Rules on Sept. 11, 2003, when he fell ill. The actor began sweating, vomiting, and complained of chest pains. He was taken to nearby Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center. It was initially thought that the actor suffered a heart attack and he was treated for that. But when his condition worsened doctors discovered that he had an aortic dissection. Ritter was pronounced dead later that evening. He was 54.
Yasbeck filed wrongful death lawsuits against the physicians who treated her husband. One case was settled out of court for $9.4 million. In 2008, a jury ruled that the doctors were not responsible for the TV star’s death.
Ritter had an estimated net worth of $20 million when he died, according to Celebrity Net Worth.