Jonathan Southworth Ritter (September 17, 1948 – September 11, 2003) was an American actor. The son of the late singing cowboy star Tex Ritter and the father of actors Jason Ritter and Tyler Ritter, he was best known for his role as Jack Tripper on the ABC sitcom Three's Company (1977–84), for which he received a Primetime Emmy Award and a Golden Globe Award in 1984. He briefly reprised the role on the spin-off Three's a Crowd, which aired for one season.
Ritter appeared in over 100 films and television series combined and performed on Broadway, with notable roles in It (1990), Problem Child (1990), Problem Child 2 (1991), and Bad Santa in 2003 (his final live action film which was dedicated to his memory). In 2002, Don Knotts called Ritter the "greatest physical comedian on the planet". His final roles include voicing the title character on the PBS children's program Clifford the Big Red Dog (2000–03), for which he received four Daytime Emmy Award nominations, and as Paul Hennessy on the ABC sitcom 8 Simple Rules (2002–03). Ritter experienced discomfort during a rehearsal for the latter on the afternoon of September 11, 2003 and died later that evening of an aortic dissection at the age of 54. His final film was Stanley's Dinosaur Round-Up (2006), an animated direct-to-DVD film based on the television series, which was released posthumously.
On September 11, 2003, Ritter fell ill while rehearsing for 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter. He began sweating profusely and vomiting, and complained of having chest pains. He was taken across the street to the Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center, by coincidence the same hospital where he was born. Physicians misdiagnosed Ritter and treated him for a heart attack; however, his condition worsened. Physicians then diagnosed Ritter with an aortic dissection. Ritter died during surgery to repair the dissection, six days before his 55th birthday.
A private funeral was held on September 15 in Los Angeles, after which Ritter was interred at Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hills Cemetery in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles.
In 2008, Yasbeck filed a $67 million wrongful-death lawsuit against radiologist Matthew Lotysch and cardiologist Joseph Lee. Yasbeck accused Lee, who treated Ritter on the day of his death, of misdiagnosing his condition as a heart attack, and Lotysch, who had given him a full-body scan two years earlier, of failing at that time to detect an enlargement of Ritter's aorta. In 2008, at the Los Angeles County Superior Court, the jury concluded that the doctors who treated Ritter the day he died were not negligent and were not responsible for his death. According to court records, Ritter's family received more than $14 million in settlements, including $9.4 million from Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, where he died.