Ritter leaves local legacy

archive_import /


When actor John Ritter died suddenly in September, Bret Harte High School junior Alice Diehl found herself drawn to TV memorials of his life and work.

Diehl, who is wheelchair bound because of cerebral palsy, is a budding actress who wants to pursue a theatrical career.

"I was watching 'Entertainment Tonight' and learned that he raised money for cerebral palsy research and I thought, 'what a cool guy,' " she said.

Within days she got a phone call informing her that she was to receive the first John Ritter Scholarship award for young performers.

"I got the call and this was the first time I was really, really speechless," she said.

The call was from Media Access, an organization that works with disabled actors like Diehl, helping them land roles on stage, TV and in film.

Doug Gordy, program coordinator for Media Access Office North in Pleasant Hill, said Ritter donated $5,000 to the organization earlier this year and asked that it be used to encourage young performers.

"He's been a longtime supporter of this office," Gordy said. "His older brother, Tom, has cerebral palsy and so John as been very supportive of our program."

Gordy said the actor's untimely death Sept. 11 from a ruptured aorta motivated Media Access to hurry to name the first two scholarship recipients this year one from Southern California and one from Northern California.

"We chose Alice because she shows a lot of promise and a lot of spunk, but is still young and needs some training," Gordy said. "We thought this was a great match."

An 8-year-old actor from Los Angeles, Logan Murdock, and 17-year old Diehl received the first two John Ritter Scholarship Awards for Young Performers at a glitzy, star-filled ceremony at the St. Regis Hotel in Hollywood on Nov. 2.

Their $1,000 checks can be used for anything that furthers their careers in acting, Gordy said.

Diehl said the awards night was "awesome."

The Union Democrat
This image is copyrighted.

Reach all of Sonora, Calaveras County, Tuolumne, Angels Camp, Twain Harte, & Jamestown with your items to sell.

Ads appear Online and in Print

View Classifieds Place an Ad

Connect with The Union Democrat

Union Democrat Newsstand

Tuesday May 24, 2016

Read digital interactive editions of our publications

Read Today's Edition Take A Tour

More Publications by The Union Democrat

View All Publications
Homelessness, high school and the Butte Fire


Cole Baisch arrived at Calaveras High School around lunchtime as the sky ... more

Gas station owners propose food court


A Sonora couple is hoping the community will support their plans to ... more

High Sierra passes closed again


Days after authorities opened Ebbetts Pass, Sonora Pass and Tioga Pass for ... more

Incoming message: Don’t text and drive


A few minutes before 9 a.m., teachers at Sonora High School interrupted ... more