John Ritter

by ethnic on October 1, 2010

John Ritter – 2003 Runway For Life Fashion Show Benefitting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital – Arrivals – Beverly Hilton – Beverly Hills, CA, USA – Keywords: – False – – Photo Credit: Lee Roth / RothStock / PR Photos

Birth Name: Johnathan Southworth Ritter

Date of Birth: September 17, 1948

Place of Birth: Burbank, Los Angeles, California, United States

Date of Death: September 11, 2003

Place of Death: Burbank, California

Ethnicity: English, with some Scottish, German, Dutch, and French

John Ritter was an American actor and comedian.

He was the son of Dorothy Fay (Southworth) and Tex Ritter (Woodward Maurice Ritter), an actor, country music singer, and politician. John was married to actress Amy Yasbeck, until his death. He had four children: three, including actor Jason Ritter (Jason Morgan Ritter), with his former wife, actress Nancy Morgan; and a daughter with Amy.

Most branches of his family had lived in the United States for many generations. Much of his ancestry was English, with smaller amounts of Scottish, German, Dutch, and French. His surname, Ritter, likely also came from distant German ancestors.

John’s paternal grandfather was James Everett Ritter (the son of Benjamin Franklin/Frank Ritter and Margaret Ann Ball). James was born in Texas. Benjamin was the son of Everett Solomon Ritter and Anna Goodwin. Margaret was the daughter of William F./J. Ball and Martha/Margaret Morris.

John’s paternal grandmother was Martha Elizabeth “Lizzie” Matthews (the daughter of James Pinkney Henry Matthews and Edna Katherine/Catherine Ann Murray/Murry). Martha was born in Texas. James was the son of James Lewis Matthews and Catherine L. Golden.

John’s maternal grandfather was Harry Thomas Southworth (the son of Thomas F. Southworth, Jr. and Elizabeth/Eliza Lamb Livesay). Harry was born in Ohio. John’s great-grandfather Thomas was the son of Thomas F. Southworth and Altha W. Aldrich or Husker. Eliza was the daughter of Judah M. Livesay and Caroline Hathorn.

John’s maternal grandmother was Harriett/Harriet Fay Fox (the daughter of William P. L. Fox and Harriet L. Tilton). John’s great-grandmother Harriet was likely the daughter of William Franklin Tilton and Susan Estatrook/Estatroak.

Sources: Genealogies of John Ritter –

Genealogy of John Ritter (focusing on his father’s side) –

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

andrew March 6, 2013 at 4:39 pm

Ritter is German brand of chocolate

beckyphantom December 16, 2012 at 2:52 pm
John Ritter is at least 25% German because his father is Tex Ritter.Tex Ritter’s father (John Ritter’s paternal grandfather) is a German American.

V.E.G. June 23, 2011 at 9:05 am

He is a direct descendant of Gilbert de Southworth.

V.E.G. June 23, 2011 at 9:03 am

Ritter is a German-American!

V.E.G. January 31, 2011 at 1:42 pm

John Ritter is the cousin of the man with the highest rank in military history, General of the Armies, George Washington!

wth October 2, 2010 at 10:27 am

I see. I havent seen his genealogy, i was only going on what I know from past forays into that field and the origin of the name Ritter. But I think its odd that so many deny their German heritage, when we very nearly became a German speaking nation. But we digress. He was a funny guy, and the world is a sadder place without him.

Labtec February 12, 2013 at 4:03 pm

I know this is very old but..

How did we almost become a German speaking nation?

The myth of a choice between English and German has been debunked so often it’s not funny. People need to stop spreading such crap…

English was always going to be THE language of the United States.

wth October 2, 2010 at 6:16 am

Where in the world did they get the idea that Ritter was Dutch or French??Ritter is the GERMAN word for Knight. Why are people reluctant to admit that they are German? Germans are the the second largest ethnic group among white people in America. The Hamburg Amerika line brought them here in droves. There were very few Dutch imigrants French? I wont even comment. English….well we all are some, just as we all are part German. But Ductch, French? And if you think you will duck the NAzi onus…Holland contrubuted thousands of Freiwillige SS soldiers to serve in Russia. Volunteers not draftees like the Germans. They wanted to be there.

Anonymous October 2, 2010 at 9:13 am

Look at his Genealogy. You can see that he also has ancestors that were born in France and the Netherlands. His Ritter ancestors were not trace in that genealogy.

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