Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures

John Ritter Honored Father at 1982 Western Walk.


John Ritter made a special appearance in Santa Clarita on Aug. 28, 1982, to attend ceremonies for his late father, western singer-actor Tex Ritter, who was enshrined in Downtown Newhall's Walk of Western Stars.

At the time, John Ritter was in his fifth season as Jack Tripper in the popular sitcom, "Three's Company" (1977-84). He was joined for the Newhall plaque unveiling by his then-wife, Nancy, and their son Tom, as well as John's mother, Dorothy Fay.

Tex Ritter starred in several "B" Westerns filmed in the Santa Clarita Valley in the 1930s and 40s. He led the effort to build the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. In the 1940s he made No. 1 several times on Billboard's country music charts, and he performed the Oscar-winning song, "Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darlin'" in the Gary Cooper classic, "High Noon" (1952).

Born Jan. 12, 1905, in Texas — the state that lent him a nickname — Woodward Maurice "Tex" Ritter died Jan. 2, 1974, from a heart attack.

The younger of his two sons, Jonathan Southworth Ritter, died Thursday from heart complications.

At the 1982 plaque unveiling, Jo Anne Darcy was the publicity chair for the committee that started the Western Walk of Stars one year before.

Darcy, who would serve as mayor of Santa Clarita a decade later, said Friday that she remembers it was a hot, windy August day, and John Ritter spoke eloquently.

"He didn't crack jokes so much," she said.

Ritter stayed late into the evening to sign autographs and meet with fans.


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TEX RITTER

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John Ritter, 1982

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Tex Ritter Plaque, 1982

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John Ritter Story

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