Jason Ritter Jokes His First Acting Job Was 'a Full-on Nepotism Hire' Thanks to Dad John Ritter
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Jason Ritter isn't ashamed of being a nepo baby.
The Emmy Award nominee, 43, opened up on SiriusXM's The Jess Cagle Show about his first acting gig and said his late father, John Ritter, is the reason he landed the role.
"Oh, as a little kid, when I was maybe 6 or something like that, my dad was doing this cartoon called The Real Story of O Christmas Tree," he explained. "I will say, without any hesitation, this was like a full-on nepotism hire. I will admit that. He for sure got me the job. I did try to stay away from that later."
Sharing a funny memory of the animated special, Jason said, "I got to play Little Acorn in The Real Story of O Christmas Tree, and he played my Uncle Piney. It was funny because, as I grew up and I found that recording again, I went, 'Oh, they must have sped up my voice to make it that high.' Both my mom and dad were like, 'No, no. That was, yeah... It was pretty high. Jason, that was your voice."
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When he wasn't getting in front of the camera himself, Jason was proudly traveling with his father — who died from an aortic dissection in 2003 — to sets.
"It was always a special experience," he said. "I remember the first time I went, I don't even know what he was shooting, but it was a night shoot. And so like the idea of staying up all night was so exciting and so crazy to me."
He recalled spending early mornings with the Three's Company star, telling Cagle, "I think [I was age] 8. And I remember going [home] at the end of the day, so probably five or six in the morning, it's still dark outside, and we found a McDonald's, and we were inside. It was like dark in a McDonald's, and I was like, 'There's a world like this?' I had no idea. I thought everyone went to sleep at a certain point."
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Added Jason: "It was all very exciting. So yeah, I mean, you know, it was fun to go visit and see where he worked, and it was always different. And night shoots were always my favorite cause there's sort of a surreal element to it, especially outdoor night shoots, where they've brought in all these crazy lights, and everything's dark and nighttime except for [what] looks like an alien landing somewhere down the way in the woods."
He explained, "I always really loved it. It was fun to see my dad dressed in all kinds of bizarre costumes."
Jason shared that he knew he wanted to act himself after watching The Wonder Years. Though his father and mother, Nancy Morgan, were immediately on board, they made sure he took lessons to perfect his skills.
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Jason became a father himself in 2019, when he and his then-fiancée Melanie Lynskey welcomed a daughter. The Parenthood alum said it's possible the toddler could follow in his footsteps.
"She is watching her parents and she's already showing signs," Jason said.
However, he added, "I think you want to help your child be as fully who they are as they want to be. And you know, as we all know, the more you try to like control someone's life, the more they rebel or whatever it is."