Friends & Family Say Goodbye to John Ritter

10-15-03 Keavin
On Tuesday night around 1000 people gathered at the El Capitan Theatre in Los Angeles to pay tribute and say goodbye to John Ritter, the 54 year-old actor who died on September 11th from an undetected heart problem. 

The world fell in love with Ritter in the 70�s when he played Jack Tripper on the hit sitcom �Three�s Company�. He star seemed to dim after the show was cancelled after a successful run, but last year another sitcom thrust him back into the limelight with his fatherly portrayal of Paul Hennessy in the hit ABC sitcom "8 Simple Rules ... For Dating My Teenage Daughter."

He was on set filming an episode for the show when he fell ill. 

Tuesday night some of Ritter�s friends, family and fans gathered together to remember him and also to say goodbye. His widow, actress Amy Yasbeck said of her late husband, "Sorry, John but tonight we are here to love you out loud."

His brother, Tom Ritter, described John as "a pied piper of fun, filled with joy and love."

Ritter�s �8 Simple Rules�� co-star Katey Sagal also paid tribute along with Billy Bob Thornton and actor-director Peter Bogdanovich who was a guest star in the last episode of the sitcom Ritter taped. He said of Ritter, "What John seemed to be, he was."

He described the late actor as "loving, funny, warmhearted, kind, generous, mischievous as a young kid, unpretentious."

A tribute film, compiled by Ritter�s friend Jack Bender, was also shown during the ceremony. Bender put together various clips of Ritter including some home movie footage that showcased the actor�s fun loving spirit. 

The evening was capped off when The Trojan marching band performed in honor of Ritter, who was an alumnus of USC.