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Tyler Ritter talks to GSN about famous dad, brother Jason and being mistaken for gay

Tyler Ritter talks to GSN about famous dad, brother Jason and being mistaken for gay

Now that a few episodes of the CBS sitcom The McCarthys have aired, it’s clear that lead Tyler Ritter is a chip off the old block.

The young actor not only looks very much like his late father, Three’s Company star John Ritter, he also seems to have inherited some of his comic timing and onscreen charisma.

But the younger Ritter told Gay Star News Monday (10 October) that he fought for years against following in the footsteps of his dad and his older brother, Jason Ritter, who has starred in several TV series.

‘I think there was a little piece of me just as a young man who wanted to blaze my own path,’ he said. ‘I kind of felt like the avenue was somewhat crowded.’

So after college, he moved to Argentina where he spent three years as a teacher.

When he told Jason he was going to move back to Los Angeles to pursue acting, his brother’s first reply was: ‘It’s about time! We all knew you were going to come around.’

Said Tyler: ‘To hear that from him was a huge compliment. There’s no rivalry, no competitive edge. I wanted to make him proud and so far, so good. He’s been right there for me – every step of the way.’

Prior to landing the role in The McCarthys, Tyler had appeared in guest spots on Modern Family and Grey’s Anatomy and has completed work on two upcoming films: Work Mom and An Evergreen Christmas.

Fatherly Advice

Tyler, 29, was just a teenager when his Emmy Award winning father died unexpectedly in 2003 after collapsing on the set of his sitcom Eight Simple Rules.

He said the two never actually talked about Tyler going into acting since they mostly bonded over baseball. But John Ritter’s philosophy about pursuing your dreams has stayed with his son.

‘He would say if you put in the work and prepare behind the scenes, you’ll be able to relax when it counts the most,’ Tyler said.

As a result, he says his dad made acting ‘look so effortless. You watch him in (the sitcom) format and it was like he was asked to go out and play at recess. He worked so hard every day of his life.’

No fear of being typecast

On The McCarthys, Tyler plays an openly gay man who is part of a boisterous and sports-loving Irish-Catholic Boston family. It is based on the real-life experiences of show creator Brian Gallivan.

The character of Tommy is a high school counselor who faithfully watches The Good Wife each week with his mother (played by Laurie Metcalf) and also works as his high school basketball coach father’s assistant coach.

In a recent Los Angeles Times article about The McCarthys, a columnist noted the irony that John Ritter became famous for playing a straight man pretending to be gay on Three’s Company while his son is a gay actor playing a gay man as the lead in a network comedy.

Except that in real life, Tyler is not gay – he is married to Argentinian director Lelia Parma.

The paper ran a correction the next day.

Tyler said he wasn’t bothered in the least or have anyone contact the paper which apparently discovered the error through further research.

‘It was such a blast,’ he said of being identified as gay in a major newspaper. ‘There’s a part of me that wishes they didn’t correct it. It did kind of feel as if I care and didn’t take it as a compliment. It was an amazing compliment.

‘The biggest compliment would be if they actually thought I was a high school guidance counselor.’