The late, great John Ritter would have turned 72 years old today, and fans across the world are remembering the legendary performer with tribute posts on social media. From Three's Company to 8 Simple Rules and everything in between, Ritter was among Hollywood's most beloved actors. Sadly, the veteran actor passed away suddenly at just 54 years old due to an aortic dissection in 2003, but it's clear from a quick look online that Ritter is still very loved and missed by his many, many fans.
"Happy birthday, John Ritter. I'm stopping at the Regal Beagle on the way home to honor your memory," one fan quips.
"Happy Birthday to John Ritter (1948-2003)! Best known to Three's Company fans as the lovable Jack Tripper, he was a gift to the world. We love and miss you, John," a Three's Company fan account tweeted.
"Wow, John Ritter would have been 72 today," another fan writes with an emotional Twitter post. "Taken from us far too soon. So many good memories of sitting around the tv with my family and watching his genius, comedic performances."
The 17th anniversary of Ritter's death also just passed us by days ago, and some of his 8 Simple Rules co-stars acknowledged the occasion online. Katey Sagal, who co-starred with Ritter as his wife, simply tweeted an image of the show's cast. On Instagram, Kaley Cuoco - who played Ritter's daughter on 8 Simple Rules - also posted an old photo of the two of them together, remembering happier times.
"Can't believe you have been gone 17 years... thank you for continuing to make me laugh every single day," Cuoco writes in the caption.
"So good. Every day," added actress Amy Davidson, who played Cuoco's sister and another of Ritter's daughters, in the comments section.
It's impossible not to love Ritter if you've seen any of his performances. On the small screen, he is of course very well remembered for starring as Jack Tripper on the classic sitcom Three's Company, which also starred Joyce DeWitt, Suzanne Somers, Jenilee Harrison, and Priscilla Barnes. He'd follow this up with an Emmy-nominated performance on Hooperman. Ritter would return to starring in a major television role when he was cast in 8 Simple Rules in 2002, appearing on the series until his death the following year. Ritter has also appeared on many other popular shows, such as The Waltons, Scrubs, Law & Order: SVU, and as the voice of the titular pooch in the animated series Clifford the Big Red Dog.
Ritter has many memorable movie performances as well. He played the very tolerant father in the classic comedy Problem Child along with its sequel, Problem Child 2. He would also star in the cult classic Stay Tuned, which is currently getting re-imagined for the small screen by AMC Studios. Some of his other many movie roles include parts in Sling Blade, Bride of Chucky, Tadpole, and Manhood. His final live-action role came in the 2003 dark comedy Bad Santa, which was released posthumously.
What each of Ritter's many roles have in common is that the hilarious and talented actor excelled with every single one of them. It's really no mystery as to why he remains so popular nearly two decades after his death, but it's hard not to think about all of the other performances we've missed out on with Ritter leaving us so soon. RIP, John Ritter!