Amy Yasbeck is an American actress best recognised for her performances as Casey Chappel Davenport in the sitcom ‘Wings’ and mermaid Madison in the made-for-television film ‘Splash, Too’. She made her professional acting debut with an unsold CBS television pilot, ‘Rockhopper’ and eventually earned a role in the popular soap opera ‘Days of Our Lives’. Moving on, she guest starred in several television shows including ‘Dallas’, ‘Spies’, ‘China Beach’, ‘Magnum, P.I.’, ‘Werewolf’ and ‘J.J. Starbuck’. She drew attention playing Madison in ‘Splash, Too’. Her starring role in ‘Wings’ was followed by other starring roles in television series like ‘Alright Already’ and ‘Life on a Stick’. While working on television shows, Yasbeck also forayed into big-screen productions and co-starred in films like ‘House II: The Second Story’, ‘Robin Hood: Men in Tights’, ‘Pretty Woman’, ‘The Mask’, ‘Problem Child’ and ‘Problem Child 2’. She featured in the latter two with her late husband, award-winning American actor-comedian John Ritter.
Childhood & Early Life
Amy Yasbeck was born on September 12, 1962, in Blue Ash, Ohio, US to John Anthony Yasbeck and Dorothy Louise Mary (née Murphy). Her father who was of Lebanese descent was a butcher and grocery store owner. Her mother who was of Irish ancestry was a homemaker.
Amy Yasbeck attended Summit Country Day School and Ursuline Academy.
Her father died of a heart attack and her mother succumbed to emphysema. Following their death, Amy Yasbeck relocated to New York City.
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In 1985, Yasbeck made her professional acting debut appearing in the unsold CBS television pilot, ‘Rockhopper’. The following year she landed up playing Olivia Reed in the ongoing NBC aired popular American television soap opera ‘Days of Our Lives’, counted among the longest-running scripted TV shows across the globe. She featured in the role for four months till sometime in 1987.
She starred in the August 28, 1987, released commercially successful American comedy-horror film ‘House II: The Second Story’. Same year, Yasbeck guest starred in television shows like ‘Dallas’, ‘J.J. Starbuck’, ‘Werewolf’, ‘Spies’ and ‘Magnum, P.I.’ (1987–1988).
Amy Yasbeck garnered attention starring as mermaid Madison Bauer opposite Todd Waring in the 1988 American made-for-television film ‘Splash, Too’ produced by ‘The Walt Disney Company’. It was a dream-come-true role for Yasbeck as she loved mermaids as a child of 5 years after she watched a Disney movie featuring mermaids.
She featured as Elizabeth Stuckey in the March 23, 1990 released blockbuster hit American romantic-comedy film ‘Pretty Woman’ starring Richard Gere and Julia Roberts. This was followed by the commercially successful American comedy film ‘Problem Child’ (1990) and its sequel ‘Problem Child 2’, both of which saw Yasbeck starring along with her future husband John Ritter.
The Mel Brooks produced and directed blockbuster hit 1993 American musical adventure comedy film ‘Robin Hood: Men in Tights’ featured Yasbeck as Maid Marian. She also played Mina Seward in the 1995 satirical comedy horror film ‘Dracula: Dead and Loving It’ directed by Brooks, which however fared poorly at box-office.
Meanwhile, she furthered her fame starring as Casey Chappel Davenport in the NBC aired American sitcom ‘Wings’. Her role started featuring from Season 6 of the series in 1994 and continued till the last season of the series that concluded on May 21, 1997. Ritter guest starred in Season 7 of the series in the episode ‘Love Overboard’ as estranged husband of Yasbeck’s character.
In 1994, she also featured as reporter Peggy Brandt in the Jim Carrey starrer blockbuster hit and critically acclaimed American fantasy superhero comedy film ‘The Mask’. Other films of Yasbeck include ‘Home for the Holidays’ (1995) and ‘The Odd Couple II’ (1998).
Amy Yasbeck starred in the TV series ‘Murphy Brown’ (1989), ‘Matlock’ (1990, 1993), ‘Alright Already’ (1997–1998), ‘Life on a Stick’ (2005) and ‘That's So Raven’ (2006); and movies ‘Bloodhounds II’ (1996) and ‘Dead Husbands’ (1998).
In 2010, she remained a contestant of syndicated version of the American quiz game show ‘Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?’
Family & Personal Life
Amy Yasbeck married John Ritter, on September 18, 1999, at the Murphy Theatre in Wilmington, Ohio. Their daughter, Stella Dorothy, born on September 11, 1998, later adopted the name Noah Lee Ritter in 2016 and went on to self-identify herself as a trans man.
John Ritter suffered from heart problems while rehearsing for a television series on September 11, 2003 and was rushed to the Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center. Although the physicians there treated him diagnosing a heart attack, his condition deteriorated. Later the physicians diagnosed him with an aortic dissection. Ritter died on the same day during surgery to repair the dissection.
Amy Yasbeck filed lawsuits in 2008 against Providence St. Joseph Medical Center and doctors involved there in Ritter's treatment. Some lawsuits were settled out of court which included a $9.4 million settlement with the hospital. However in a $67 million lawsuit against cardiologist Joseph Lee and radiologist Matthew Lotysch, the jury concluded 9–3 in favour of the doctors on March 14, 2008, clearing them of any negligence or wrongdoing.