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Jason Ritter Credits Dad John Ritter for First Job in Hollywood, Thanks to Nepotism

Photo Credit: Annamaria DiSanto / WireImage / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Annamaria DiSanto / WireImage / Getty Images

Jason Ritter is the son of the late great sitcom icon John Ritter. John died in 2003 at the age of 54 after suffering an aortic dissection. Joining the hosts of The Jess Cagle Show, Jason explained how his father helped him out in the earliest stages of his career in Hollywood. The younger Ritter was happy to admit that he was a “full-on” nepo baby.

John Ritter got him some early gigs

John Ritter carrying son Jason Ritter on his hip.
John Ritter with his son Jason when he was just a young child. (Photo Credit: Ron Galella / Ron Galella Collection / Getty Images)

When Jason was just a young boy, about six years old, his father pulled some strings to get him the role of the Little Acorn in the 1991 cartoon movie, The Real Story of O’ Christmas Tree. “I will say, without any hesitation, this was like a full-on nepotism hire. I will admit that,” he joked. “He [John] for sure got me the job.”

John was working on the cartoon film as well, voicing Piney, the uncle of his son’s character. Jason credits his voice acting as the Little Acorn as his first acting job, but he did appear alongside his father in the 1990 television movie The Dreamer of Oz as well.

Jason got to listen to his 6-year-old voice

John and Jason Ritter smiling for a photo, John has his hand on his son's shoulder and chest.
Actor John Ritter with son, Jason Ritter, posing after winning an award for “8 Simple Rules For Dating My Daughter” in the Best Comedy category of the “5th Annual Family Television Awards” at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on August 14, 2003, in Los Angeles. (Photo Credit: Carlo Allegri / Getty Images)

Prior to his father’s passing in 2003, Jason got ahold of a video that included his voice recording for the cartoon and listened to his six-year-old self again. “I went, ‘Oh, they must have sped up my voice to make it that high,'” Jason explained while laughing. To his surprise and amusement, this was not the case. “Both my mom and dad were like, ‘No, it [his voice] was pretty high.'”

Later in the interview, Jason explained how accompanying his father on set and getting to see John at work was “always a special experience” for him. He recalled one of the first times he had done so, at around eight years old. “I remember the first time I went, I don’t even know what he was shooting, but it was a night shoot … So like the idea of staying up all night was so exciting and so crazy to me.”

He has a successful career of his own

Headshot of Jason Ritter.
Jason Ritter attends the 2023 Film Independent Spirit Awards on March 04, 2023, in Santa Monica, California. (Photo Credit: Frazer Harrison / Getty Images)

While Jason admits he’s a nepotism baby, his father was also blessed with a family member in the industry. John’s father and Jason’s grandfather, Tex Ritter, was an actor as well as a country singer. Jason’s career path seemed like a no-brainer, and he ultimately paved a successful path for himself in Hollywood.

More from us: 8 John Ritter Facts That Won’t Help You Date His Teenage Daughter

He explained how despite his father helping him when he was younger, he has tried “to stay away from that” and earned his keep as his acting career started to pick up. Jason’s films include Swimfan (2002) and Freddy vs. Jason (2003). He’s also pursued a career in television, starring in shows including A Million Little Things and Parenthood.

Samantha Franco

Samantha Franco is a Freelance Content Writer who received her Bachelor of Arts degree in history from the University of Guelph, and her Master of Arts degree in history from the University of Western Ontario. Her research focused on Victorian, medical, and epidemiological history with a focus on childhood diseases. Stepping away from her academic career, Samantha previously worked as a Heritage Researcher and now writes content for multiple sites covering an array of historical topics.

In her spare time, Samantha enjoys reading, knitting, and hanging out with her dog, Chowder!