John Ritter's cameos -- The ''Three's Company'' vet has appeared on everything from ''M*A*S*H'' to ''Ally McBeal''

By Bruce Fretts
Updated November 17, 2000 at 05:00 AM EST

John Ritter’s cameos

With his lush dramatic turn as Scott Speedman’s alcoholic dad on Felicity, John Ritter cements his status as TV’s go-to guest star. ”I’ve done Ally, Buffy, and Felicity, so any girl with a y at the end of her name, I’m there,” jokes the former Jack Tripper of Three’s Company (now rerunning on Nick at Nite). What makes him such a desirable invitee? ”He’s like your favorite relative who shows up unexpectedly,” raves Henry Winkler, currently costarring with Ritter on Broadway in Neil Simon’s The Dinner Party. We asked Ritter, 52, to recall his greatest guest shots:

As a hippie
”Anytime you get to do a TV show in Hawaii, say yes. I had the greatest time. Jack Lord was a strange guy: ‘Hello, John, welcome to my island.’ Oahu is his island?”

M*A*S*H (1972)
As Private Carter
”I wasn’t invited into the inner circle because those guys were really tight, and I didn’t have that much to do. But they were nice — it was just that Alan Alda said, ‘What are you doing in my trailer?”’

THE WALTONS (1972-73)
As the Reverend Matthew Fordwick
”Richard Thomas may be the smartest actor I’ve seen — very well read. I’d be reading my Archie comic book, and he’d be reading Chinese.”

As himself, getting into a fistfight with Gene Siskel
”I said, ‘Gene, I attack you in the name of all actors.’ He went, ‘John, you really are a good actor.’ I said, ‘Gene, thank you, coming from you, that means nothing!”’

As Sarah Michelle Gellar’s evil-robot would-be stepdad, Ted
”Sarah can really fight. She worked me over good. People still come up to me and say, ‘Do the part where you short-circuit.”’

As Calista Flockhart’s client George Madison, who caught her head-on when she leaped on his shoulders in a fantasy sequence
”I said, ‘I’m a trained actor. I would like to do this stunt and catch Ally with my face.’ It was our first day, and I said, ‘Calista, I feel like I’ve known you all my life. Just relax, trust me, and think of England.”’

Okay, Ritter hasn’t done this show yet, but…
”I’d like to do a role to get me in good with my 2-year-old daughter, Stella. I could be Whipsy, the very strange black Teletubby with the bad porno station in his tummy.”