First appearing on the cover photo of the box for Easy Bake Oven toy stoves at age 6, Amy Yasbeck enjoyed her first big break after playing a regular in the NBC long-running soap opera, "Days of Our Lives," playing Olivia Reed from 1986 to 1987. TV viewers also recognize her for her subsequent roles in the NBC sitcom "Wings," playing Casey Chapel Davenport (1994-1997), and the short lived FOX sitcom "Life on a Stick" (2005), as Michelle Lackerson.
On the big screen, she could be seen starring in such films as "House II: The Second Story" (1987), "Pretty Woman" (1990), "Problem Child" (1990), "Problem Child 2" (1991), "The Nutt House" (1992), "Robin Hood: Men in Tights" (1993), "The Mask" (1994), "Home for the Holidays" (1995), "Dracula: Dead and Loving It" (1995) and "The Odd Couple II" (1998).
The pretty, 5' 7'' energetic Irish-Lebanese performer with long red hair was married to actor John Ritter from 1999 until his death on September 11, 2003. Yasbeck recently made headlines as she continues a 67 million dollar wrongful death lawsuit against two doctors who treated her late husband.
Childhood and Family:
Daughter of John Yasbeck and Dorothy Yasbeck, Amy Marie Yasbeck was born on September 12, 1962, in Cincinnati, Ohio. She is half Irish and half Lebanese. She was raised in Ohio and Michigan with her brother.
Amy, who has a beautiful singing voice, spent her elementary, middle and high school years at two different Catholic schools: Summit Country Day School and Ursuline Academy. She also studied art history at Mary Grove College, in Detroit, Michigan, and studied theater at the University of Detroit, in Detroit, Michigan. Following the death of her parents, her father from a heart attack and her mom from Emphysema, Amy decided to move to New York.
In 1989, during a read-through of “Problem Child” (1990), Amy met actor John Ritter (born on September 17, 1948) at director Dennis Dugan's house. She played his wife in the film and they guest-starred together as a married couple having a baby in a 1991 episode of “The Cosby Show.” They also played an estranged couple on “Wings” in the season seven episode "Love Overboard."
"After you play husband and wife on camera multiple times, it becomes easy to be husband and wife off camera as well.” Amy Yasbeck (about her relationship and marriage to John Ritter)
Amy and John have one daughter together, Stella Ritter, born September 11, 1998. They were married on September 18, 1999, at the Murphy Theater, in Wilmington, Ohio. John also has three children from his previous marriage with actress Nancy Morgan: Jason Ritter (actor; born on February 17, 1980), Carly Ritter (born on March 1, 1982), and Tyler Ritter (born on January 31, 1985).
After collapsing on the set of his sitcom, “8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter,” John Ritter died of aortic dissection on September 11, 2003, on their daughter's fifth birthday.
Following his death, the actor's family filed a 67 million dollar wrongful death lawsuit against a radiologist who had previously given him a body scan and a cardiologist who allegedly treated him for a heart attack rather than a torn aorta when he arrived at the Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center. The family alleges John was misdiagnosed and that the misdiagnoses cost the actor his life. Amy recently testified at the trial in early March 2008.
Starting out as a child model posing for the cover photo for Easy Bake Oven toy stoves at age 6, Amy Yasbeck got her break in show business after moving to New York City where she was discovered by an agent while working in a restaurant. Shortly after, the aspiring actress began auditioning for roles and moved to Los Angeles to pursue her career.
Yasbeck made her television debut in 1985 on a revival of ABC's comedic anthology series, "Love, American Style." She followed it up with a role on the NBC long-running soap opera, "Days of Our Lives," playing Olivia Reed from 1986 to 1987. After guest spots in two episodes of CBS' primetime soap opera "Dallas" and in an episode of "Spies," starring George Hamilton, newcomer Yasbeck landed her first film role in writer/director Ethan Wiley's supernatural comedy movie, "House II: The Second Story" (1987), a sequel to the 1986 film "House."
From 1987 to 1988, Yasbeck played the recurring role of Diana on the last few episodes of CBS’ adventure drama starring Tom Selleck, "Magnum, P.I." She was also spotted as a guest in an episode of Fox's action-adventure television series "Werewolf" and appeared in the pilot episodes of the adventure drama series "J.J. Starbuck" and ABC's award-winning and highly acclaimed Vietnam War drama series "China Beach." She also made her TV-movie debut in the starring role of Madison in the sequel to the popular romantic mermaid drama, "Splash, Too" (1988; opposite Todd Waring).
During the late 1980s, Yasbeck played Carla in the NBC soap opera "Generations" and had an unaccredited guest appearance as a young lady in a bar in an episode of CBS’ sitcom starring Candice Bergen, "Murphy Brown." She also co-starred with Dirk Benedict, Bruce Dern and Catherine Oxenberg in the crime/mystery TV movie "Trenchcoat in Paradise" and teamed up with Tim Matheson and Ann Jillian in the romantic comedy made-for-television movie "Little White Lies" (both in 1989).
The early 1990s saw Yasbeck play Elizabeth Stuckey, the wife to Jason Alexander's character, in Garry Marshall's smash hit romantic comedy film starring Richard Gere and Julia Roberts, "Pretty Woman" (1990). That same year, she also co-starred with future husband John Ritter, playing his wacky wife Flo, in Dennis Dugan's comedy movie, "Problem Child." TV viewers could also catch her in an unsold NBC comedy pilot starring Peter Boyle, "Poochinski," as well as guest starring in an episode of the CBS popular, long-running television mystery series starring Angela Lansbury, "Murder, She Wrote," and in two episodes of NBC/ABC's long-running legal drama series starring Andy Griffith, "Matlock.”
Returning to the big screen, Yasbeck was reunited with Ritter to co-star in "Problem Child 2" (1991), Brian Levant's comedy sequel to "Problem Child.” She subsequently added to her resume co-starring roles in Scott Spiegel's drama/comedy movie "The Nutt House" (1992), as Stephen Kearney's long-suffering wife Diane Nutt, and Mel Brooks' parody movie "Robin Hood: Men in Tights" (1993), in which she played the lovely Maid Marian who became attracted to Robin Hood (played by Cary Elwes). She also starred opposite Jim Carrey in the Chuck Russell-directed Oscar nominated action/comedy film based on a series of comic books published by Dark Horse Comics, "The Mask" (1994), portraying hustling newspaper reporter Peggy Brandt.
Meanwhile, on the small screen, she could be seen in an episode of the Fox sitcom "Get a Life," CBS’ sitcom "Designing Women," NBC’s sci-fi drama "Quantum Leap," the syndicated action/crime/drama "Street Justice," CBS’ mystery/medical/crime drama "Diagnosis Murder," CBS’ sitcom "Dave's World," and NBC’s hit sitcom "The Cosby Show," in which she played part of a married couple with John Ritter. She also supported Mark Harmon in the biographical TV movie "Dillinger" (1991), alongside Sherilyn Fenn, Will Patton, Bruce Abbott, and Patricia Arquette.
In 1994, Yasbeck landed her first TV series regular on the NBC sitcom "Wings," playing Casey Chapel Davenport, Helen's (played by Crystal Bernard) older sister. She stayed on the show during its sixth through eighth seasons (1994-1997), during which time Ritter once guest starred in an episode playing her estranged husband.
Meanwhile, Yasbeck continued working for films. She appeared in the Jodie Foster-directed drama/comedy film "Home for the Holidays" (1995), alongside Holly Hunter, Robert Downey Jr., Claire Danes, Anne Bancroft, Charles Durning and Dylan McDermott, and co-starred as Mina, the daughter to a doctor (played by Harvey Korman) who became engaged to her father's assistant (played by Steven Weber), in Mel Brooks' parody of “Dracula” by Bram Stoker, "Dracula: Dead and Loving It" (1995), which also stars Leslie Nielsen and Peter MacNicol.
After "Wings," Yasbeck received another regular role, this time in the short-lived sitcom starring Anthony Cistaro, "Alright Already" (1997-1998). Afterward, she went back to film and co-starred with Jonathan Silverman in writer/director Adam Rifkin's drama/comedy movie "Denial" (1998), which was later released to video under the title "Something About Sex," and shared the screen with Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau in Neil Simon's "The Odd Couple II" (1998), a sequel to 1968's "The Odd Couple."
Yasbeck made a rare screen appearance following the death of John Ritter. In 2005, she returned as TV series regular Michelle Lackerson in the short lived FOX sitcom "Life on a Stick" (2005), which was canceled after 5 episodes due to low ratings. She recently appeared as a guest in an episode of Disney Channel's sitcom "That's So Raven" and Disney Channel’s animated series "Shorty McShorts' Shorts.”