McBroom bids adieu to old friend, Ritter
By Jesse Phelps
His many fans reacted with shock
and surprise at the recent death of talented comedian John Ritter,
most famous for his long-running portrayal of Jack Tripper on
the hit 1970s situation comedy "Three's Company."
Ritter died suddenly on Sept. 11, 2003 from an aortic aneurysm.
After an illustrious career that included extensive film and
television work, including a hilarious turn in the underrated
Blake Edwards comedy "Skin Deep" in 1989 and a supporting
role in the Oscar-nominated "Sling Blade" in 1996,
Ritter made his comeback to primetime last year with "8
Simple Rules For Dating My Teenage Daughter." His last episodes
are currently airing on Tuesday nights on ABC.
Ojai's Amanda McBroom has been a close friend of the Ritter family
for many years and sang the Beatles' "In My Life" at
a small, private funeral service in Los Angeles. She called the
death "totally unexpected."
McBroom, who has also done extensive television work, said that
she met Ritter just as both of their careers were about to skyrocket.
"John Ritter and I did a 'Hawaii 5-0' together back in 1976,"
said McBroom. "He played my little brother. Over a period
of years he and his wife and my husband and I became very close
"When we met, I was playing him a song I had just written
called 'The Rose' in my dressing room and he was telling me about
a job he had just gotten on a show called 'Three's Company.'
It was like we were in the same place."
McBroom remembers Ritter as an immensely talented comedian and
as, perhaps, an under-appreciated dramatic actor. "He was
wonderfully talented actor who had a great gift for comedy,"
she said. "He was wonderful dramatic actor, but comedy is
where his heart was. He was one of the funniest people who ever
lived and certainly one of the kindest."
McBroom said Ritter could be counted on for his generosity. "He
was great guy. He was kind, he was friendly to everybody and
he gave of himself hugely," she said.
She said she chose the song not just for its topical significance
but because "The Beatles were his favorite group in the
Ritter would have celebrated his 55th birthday just a week after
Meanwhile, for McBroom, the show must go on.
She said she is currently performing a series of concerts in
Hollywood and about to go to Virginia to do a concert in October.
Next June, at the Rubicon Theatre in Ventura, she'll unveil a
one-woman musical called Lady McBeth Sings the Blues.
"Shakespeare's female characters are all over it,"
she says, of the show that she wrote and will perform alone.
"There will be some blues, a bunch of everything in it."
And in November, she'll be part of a concert in Las Vegas to
benefit children of special operations officers who served in
Iraq. The Gala Benefit For The Children Of Heroes will take
place on Monday, Nov. 24, 2003 at the Ibiza USA in Desert Passage
at The Aladdin Hotel & Casino.
The Ojai Valley News
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