Biography of New Fall TV Actor: Jason Ritter of The Class

CBS, known in past years as the network for older people is pulling out a new comedy with a fresh-faced cast. The Class, set to air on Monday night at 8:00pm, is a comedy about bunch of twenty-somethings from the same third grade class who come together years later. Airing on the same night as CBS’ How I Met Your Mother, now beginning its sophomore year, the night is shaping up to be a funny one.

Leading the cast of The Class is actor Jason Ritter. Ritter, now stranger to television, or to CBS, had his last regular gig on the small screen in Joan of Arcadia playing Kevin Girardi, brother to the title character. On Joan of Arcadia Ritter got a chance to show off both his dramatic and comedic skills by playing a victim of drunken driving accident who lost the use of his legs. Ritter’s portrayal of Kevin was often funny, giving the show some levity.

If you haven’t ever seen an episode of Joan of Arcadia but still think Jason Ritter looks familiar it may be because he is the son of the late John Ritter (Three’s Company, 8 Simple Rules). Born February 17, 1980 in California to John Ritter and actress Nancy Morgan, Jason’s lineage goes back even further. Jason’s paternal grandfather was Tex Ritter and his paternal grandmother was Dorothy Fay. Both were actors who appeared in many B Western movies in the 1930s and 1940s.

Ritter didn’t count on his father’s connections to get him an acting gig. After high school Ritter studied at New York University and London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. The next move for Ritter was founding the Irreputable Theater Company in New York City.

MTV came calling next. Appearing on the third season of the cable network’s Undressed, Ritter played the character of Allan. With some television work behind him, Ritter appeared in a bunch of films like Swimfan, Freddy vs. Jason, and Raise Your Voice. Along the way he worked opposite some of Hollywood’s younger stars including Hilary Duff, Erika Christensen, and Zooey Deschanel.

2003 was a huge year career-wise for the actor. That’s when he got the call for Joan of Arcadia. Though the show lasted only two seasons the dramatic series was well recieved by critics and audiences. It didn’t help that it was slotted into the schedule on Friday nights.

Once Joan was cancelled concentrated more on acting in films. With a supporting role in 2005’s Happy Endings, Ritter shared screen time with Tom Arnold and Maggie Gyllenhaal in the ensemble drama. He followed Happy Endings up with roles in Our Very Own, Placebo, and The Wicker Man.

Though the film roles keep coming, Ritter is poised to return to television this fall. The Class’ debut date is currently scheduled for September 18th at 8:00 p.m. on CBS.

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