John Ritter was the opposite of his Waltons character on set

Judy Norton liked the actor playing Matthew Fordwick so much pretending to be scared of the stern reverend took a lot of acting.

Many actors, especially early in their careers, do their best work when playing characters with personalities similar to their own. When a performer can put huge parts of themselves into a character, it always makes things more believable and fun for the audience.

Will Geer, for example, essentially was Grandpa Walton. His playful personality, his affection for the cast and even his love of plants were all ways actor and character blended together.

But sometimes, particularly when it comes to characters who aren’t very nice, the person behind the scenes is very different from the one on camera. And speaking of The Waltons, the show’s first preacher, Matthew Fordwick, was one of those characters played by an actor with a totally opposite personality.

A young actor named John Ritter was cast as Reverend Fordwick. Of course, he went on to TV stardom in Three’s Company and other favorites, but The Waltons gave Ritter his first major recurring role on television, something Earl Hamner Jr. was very proud of.

Reverend Fordwick is introduced in the episode "The Sinner" as a devout student of God fresh out of school. He comes to Walton’s Mountain ready to whip the congregation into shape and cast out any sin, but a taste of the Baldwin sisters’ family recipe puts his plans in jeopardy.

In one scene, before the good preacher samples some authentic Appalachian moonshine, Reverend Fordwick scolds Mary Ellen for cursing. Judy Norton, who played the oldest Walton daughter for all nine seasons, remembers really having to act intimidated by Fordwick because she liked John Ritter so much off camera.

In a YouTube video as part of her series revealing behind-the-scenes memories from the show, Norton recalled John Ritter as a "fun-loving" and "lovely person." She continued, "He is incredibly believable as this intense and earnest young reverend in training and when he goes off on us, we’re supposed to be a little intimidated by it." She noted that it was important to be in character during this scene so her personal feelings about John wouldn’t show.

"To me, that was personally definitely acting because knowing John, I was not intimidated or scared by him as a person." She had to say to herself, "Okay, as a character, I’m intimidated."

Norton also remembered that John Ritter and John-Boy actor Richard Thomas were "two peas in a pod" joking together and pulling pranks on set. Ritter got to bring more of his delightful nature and comedic abilities toward the end of his first episode (after his visit to the Baldwin sisters) and Reverend Fordwick had a more relaxed approach in future episodes.

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eddiecantorfan 3 months ago
HAPPY DAYS MYSTERIES
Did Richie Cunningham go
Bananas and fire 🔥 drummer
BAG for playing too many Demons Practical Jokes and
Fire Sticks Downey Jr and
Daphne from The Happy Days
Band and the only reason that
Richie hired Chachi Arcola to
Play the Drums in the band
is because Spike Fonzarelli and
Chuck Cunningham weren't
Available??
eddiecantorfan 3 months ago
Happy 😁😁 Days Question
For Happy Days Viewers:
Who is your favorite guy with
Glasses on Happy Days:
MOOSE (Barry Greenberg)
EUGENE BELVIN (Denis Mandel)
Melvin Belvin (Scott Bernstein)
OR
Howard Cunningham (Tom Bosley)??
eddiecantorfan 3 months ago
https://youtu.be/i-KdLy4KkEw
Practical Jokers:
RALPH MALPH
VS
BAG Zombroski on
Happy 😁😊 Days
Who is the BEST PRACTICAL JOKER ON HAPPY DAYS-
Bag(Neil J Schwartz )
OR
Ralph Malph Donny Most
eddiecantorfan 3 months ago
https://youtu.be/6F_nyptM_ZI
Video of BAG Zombroski
the Practical Joker on Happy Days .
Best of Bag Zombroski season one of Happy Days
You Tube Video.
eddiecantorfan 3 months ago
Survey Question:
Who was the BEST PRACTICAL
JOKER ON HAPPY DAYS-Was the
BEST PRACTCAL JOKER ON HAPPY DAYS EITHER:
1 Bag Zombroski (Neil J Schwartz)
2 Ralph Malph (Donny Most)??
Happy Days Survey Question:
Who was your FAVORITE BASKETBALL GUY On
Happy Days:
1 Chuck Cunningham 1 Gavan O'HERLIHY
2 Chuck Cunningham 2 Randolph Roberts
3 Roger Phillips Ted McGinley
Milwaukee Rumor:
BOBBY MELNER (Harris Kal)
Was also a Practical Joker on Happy Days.
Bobby Melner is the Practical Joker who tricked
Roger Phillips (Ted McGinley) into throwing away Fonzie's possessions
From Fonzie's 🏫 locker by
Telling Roger Phillips that
Fonzie moved to Italy and for Roger to throw Fonzie's
Locker possessions in the
trash and Roger beleived
Bobby with Eugene Belvin (Denis Mandel) laughing
At Bobby's Practical Joke.
eddiecantorfan 3 months ago
Fun Girls on Sitcoms:
Mary Ann Summers
Lou Ann Poovie
Daphne
Angela Brown
Thaila Menniger
Phoebe Smith
Mary Simpson
Jill Higgins
Trudy
Chris Carmichael
Jenny Piccalo
Susie Sacks(Marion Marsh
Thaila Menniger
Victoria Winters
Skippy & Daphne
Also Laverne and Shirley
Are the Fun Girls of
Milwaukee!!
Honorable Mention For A
Funny Cop on TV shows:
Marshall Gilligan -
Gilligan's Island
Funny 😁😁 Cop in movie:
Officer Krumkie -
West Side Story
Who is the Funniest Cop
On TV Sitcoms?:
Officer Kirk Happy Days
Tooey &Muldoon on
Car 54 Where Are You?
Murray on The Odd Couple
Smitty and Hoppy Sanford and Son
Barney Fife TAGS
Andy Taylor TAGS
Warren Ferguson TAGS
Wojo Barney Miller
Detective Bill Brennan on
My Favorite Martian
Marshall Gilligan
Fish -Barney Miller
Chano Barney Miller
Nick Yemana-Barney Miller
Detective Ron Harris -
Barney Miller
Goober Pyle-The Andy Griffith Show
Detective Wentworth-
Barney Miller
Inspector Lugar -Barney Miller
Officer Carl Levitt -BM
Detective Baptista -
Barney Miller
Detective Arthur Dietrich -
Barney Miller
Lt Scanlon -Barney Miller
Barney Miller HIMSELF
eddiecantorfan 3 months ago
Cpl Nick Cuccinelli (Tommy Leonetti) got on a Greyhound bus and transferred to the marine base in Phoenix Arizona.
Another Greyhound bus arrived
In Los Angeles 2 hours later and the new person Cpl Chuck Boyle Roy Stuart arrived to replace Cpl Nick Cuccinelli Tommy Leonetti
And work with Sgt Carter Frank Sutton .
eddiecantorfan 3 months ago
https://youtu.be/rhIYsY8YV2A
Finally!
THE OFFICER KIRK COP OUT SHOW where Officer Kirk )Ed Peck) tries to
RUN A MILWAUKEE RESIDENT OUT OF TOWN!!!!!!
This week's episode :
Officer Kirk tries to run
Fonzie (Henry Winkler)
Out Of Town?!!!!!
eddiecantorfan 3 months ago
https://youtu.be/uUF-NgIzBhQ
The Stranger In Town Spoof
Of The Andy Griffith Show
Starring THE ONE AND
ONLY ED SAWYER played
By William Lanteau !!!!!!
Nala92129 4 months ago
John Ritter is an acquired taste. I felt he came across as a tad smarmy, obsequious, a little like a combo Uriah Heap and a funeral director.
eddiecantorfan Nala92129 3 months ago
Threes Company is a very
funny sitcom Jack Tripper is a great TV character
John Ritter was a great actor and the WORST THING OF ALL IS THAT
3s Company Is NOT on METV but I wish that it was. Threes Company and
Green Acres are A LAUGH
A MINUTE!!
MaryAnn 4 months ago
I watched that episode of The Waltons for the first time today and I thought it was great! I remember seeing John Ritter in a silly movie called Problem Child maybe 20 years ago. I watched it with my son and we laughed like crazy! 🤣
MrsPhilHarris 4 months ago
I’m probably in the minority but I can’t stand Jack Tripper nor Three’s Company for that matter. I always cringe when METV is announcing new shows that it will be included and I will accidentally hear that insipid theme song. 😆 Just my honest opinion. I know lots of you love the show.
Load previous comments
Neil J Schwartz played
Levy the TV repairman in
a guest appearance on All
In The Family and Levy had a Good Comeback to one of Archie Bunker's comments :You'll never know but I got even!".
Neil J Schwartz also made
Guest appearances on
Barney Miller What's Happening! And Love American Style (Love And
The Heavy Set).
I wish that BAG (Neil J Schwartz) from Happy Days
And Wally (Skip Young) on
The Adventures of OZZIE and Harriet had been given
their own spin off TV shows . Bag Zombroski liked to play practical jokes
On Richie Potsie and Ralph
And Bag played the 🥁 DRUMS in Richie's band
Called THE HAPPY DAYS
BAND and Bag belonged to the Demons Club a practical Joker club for
Pranksters.
Wally Plumstead was friends with Rick and David
Nelson and Wallys girlfriend was Ginger played by Charlene Selerno.
I wish that MOOSE Barry Greenberg and EUGENE BELVIN Denis Mandel had
been given spin off shows
Of Happy Days.
Chuck Cunningham 2 Randolph Roberts should have been given his own spin off show of Happy Days and Melvin Belvin Scott Bernstein should have been given his own spin off show from Happy Days .
CoreyC 4 months ago
John Ritter and Richard Thomas later co starred in the Stephen King TV movie It.
Andybandit 4 months ago
I loved him in The Waltons, Threes company, and 8 simple rules. He was a really good actor. Those 3 shows are the only shows I know from.
Runeshaper 4 months ago
John Ritter was an AMAZING actor! Nice to hear that he was a good guy too.
Michael 4 months ago
It's been 19 years since hedied. Hard to believe.

He had quite a few rolkes, single shot, before the Waltons. Even a MASH appearance.

But in 1971, he played a hippie on Hawaii Five-O, and he kills someone. Quite a change from Rev Fordwick.

The first episode with Rev Fordwick is much different from lanter. It's like they introduce the character, and then decide he shoukd be tamed down. Actually three months elapsed between The Sinner and his next appearance. So was it a single appearance, but they brought him back?
LoveMETV22 Michael 4 months ago
Considering he appeared in 18 episodes over the course of the series, he probably wasn't an afterthought. JMO.
Michael LoveMETV22 4 months ago
I can't remember the episode enough. They tone him down enough that I wonder if it was a one-shot, but they brought him back as a regular.

Some guests reappear, but long enough later that it seems like they decided to bring them back, rather than planned from the beginning. Sometimes they even have to use another actor.

MarkSpeck Michael 4 months ago
He didn't kill anyone on Five-O. He knocked Vic Morrow out and stole his money. The only person that died in that episode O.D'ed accidentally. Morrow found that person, who obviously wasn't the guy that robbed him, and threw a gas lamp across the room, which set it on fire.

Ritter appeared on a number of crime shows. He was one of the bad guys in the final episode of Mannix. He went on trial for killing the hard-ass boss who fired him on Petrocelli. He was an armored car guard forced into helping a gang of robbers on Starsky & Hutch. He returned to Hawaii Five-O in 1977, shortly before Three's Company, as the witness to a cop killing who tries to blackmail the killer. Aside from those, all of his appearances on crime shows, he played pretty normal characters (his debut was on Dan August, and yes, he did have a scene with Norman Fell!)...but he never killed anyone.
MarkSpeck MarkSpeck 4 months ago
He wasn't the guilty party in that Petrocelli episode. Just thought I'd clarify.
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