It doesn’t matter how much time goes by, it’s never easy mourning the loss of a loved one. Sure, it might become less devastating but it still hurts. That’s the case for Kaley Cuoco, who makes sure to remember her one-time TV dad, John Ritter, every year. It’s hard to believe it’s been 15 years since the actor passed away, but leave it to Cuoco–who played his eldest daughter, Bridget, on 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter–to honour him on the anniversary of his tragic death.
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It was during rehearsals for the show’s second season in 2003 when Ritter suffered from chest pains and eventually passed away from an aortic dissection. His death was written into the show with his character, Paul, suffering from the same ailment. The show changed its title to 8 Simple Rules but it was cancelled the following year; it just wasn’t the same.
Cuoco recently opened up about the first time she met Ritter and it was pretty much what one would expect from the comedic genius.
“We had a table read. I had just turned 16 and I wanted to look the part — I played kind of this sexy 16-year-old. So, I wore this, like, spaghetti-strap shirt with, like, a bra strap showing,” the actress recalled in Behind Closed Doors: John Ritter on the REELZ channel. “I’m sitting at the table read and John walks in, he looks at me and he’s like, ‘You’re playing my daughter. Put a sweater on.’ Then he barrels over in this laughter.”
She continued, “He took a sweater off a random person in the room — this whole physical act he did — he pulls it off and puts it on me. And he goes, ‘Dress like that from now on.'”
Needless to say, Ritter had her at “You’re playing my daughter.” Because who wouldn’t be charmed by that?
“It was amazing,” Cuoco remembered. “That was my introduction to him. I was in love from that moment on.”
Of course, we all loved him long before that, particularly from Three’s Company, where he played the iconic Jack Tripper, who got into all kinds of trouble with his roommates Janet, Chrissy and Terri (we like to forget the Cindy days), best pal Larry, and landlords Mr. Furley and the Ropers. Thanks for the laughs, John, and thanks for the memories. Ritter may be gone but he’ll never be forgotten.