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He attended the University of Southern California and majored in psychology with plans to have a career in politics.
He later changed his major to theater arts and attended the USC School of Dramatic Arts (formerly School of Theatre).
Ritter starred in many made-for-TV movies, including Gramps (1995), co-starring with Andy Griffith, Rob Hedden's The Colony (1995) with Hal Linden, Stephen King's It, Danielle Steel's Heartbeat with Polly Draper, and It Came From the Sky in 1999 with Yasmine Bleeth.
Ritter also made guest appearances on TV shows, such as Felicity, Ally Mc Beal, Scrubs, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and an episode of Law & Order: SVU (2002).
At the time of his death he was starring in 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter.
Ritter played Claude Pichon in The Dinner Party (2000) at the Music Box Theatre on Broadway, which was written by Neil Simon. Ritter won the Theatre World Award in 2001 for his performance in that work.
He had a recurring role as the Reverend Matthew Fordwick on the drama series The Waltons from October 1972 to December 1976.
In 1982, Ritter provided the voice of Peter Dickinson in The Flight of Dragons.