Thinking Fans salute Mr. Ritchie: Steve misses “the easy chemistry between Erika Slezak and Clint Ritchie” … Dale says he “brought a fresh masculine sensibility to Llanview when the town was filled with bluebloods” … and more. See Comments below.
By Marlena De Lacroix
How sad it is for One Life to Live viewers that Clint Ritchie passed away this week at age 70.
When his eponymous character Clint Buchanan galloped in from the west to take over The Llaniew Banner newspaper and later the heart of its owner, the show’s main heroine, the widow Viki Riley, he really became part of the fabric of the show and remained so for the next twenty years.
The foundation of his character was a throwback to old movie heroes like John Wayne and James Stewart — a truly good man you can depend on. A quiet hero, a true American. Clint was the strong shoulders a troubled woman like Viki needed to lean on sometimes to be able to pick up the pieces of her shattered life (most notably her DID, which exploded in the
At the end of the 90s, the actor who was not happy with the modern misunderstanding and direction of his hero character quit OLTL and rode off into the sunset.
mid-80s and in the early 90s). I always admired that the character Clint adopted her sons and always treated them as if they were his own. And I actually bought him as a newspaper editor — a member of the rare breed of men (and women) I’ve known in real life who are rough on you, yet teach you more valuable skills and ethics than anyone else you’ll ever meet. Like how to live.
The real Ritchie, a cowboy who had been a Hollywood contract TV and movie player, galloped into soaps during the Dallas mania in 1979. The Buchanans – Clint, his heart-throb younger brother Bo and his hilarious curmudgeonly father Asa — may have been derivative of primetime, but they still became a total daytime sensation. Even if the meeting of these three actors and the timing turned out to be serendipity, at least someone at ABC knew what they had. A medium that centered on women and was all about romance needed some very manly men.
Relax. The macho dimension of that term “manly men” was most often translated on soaps into humor and charm, something the three actors who played the Buchanans — Bob Woods, Phil Carey and Ritchie — had in spades. The actors were a tight family off the screen and the playfulness and depth of caring of their off-screen selves definitely was reflected not just in their popular characters, but in the whole up and lively tone that made the show shine with throughout the 80s. OLTL had very, very healthy ratings then.
As an actor, Clint Ritchie was very versatile. He could simultaneously play Clint as a bad-ass editor; an ever-arguing, ever joking son and brother, and a tender lover and husband to Viki. Millions loved the supercoupling of these characters, but personally I was never crazy about them. French-ified sophiscate moi never thought that gruff cowboy Clint was good enough for an urbane, upper crust woman like “my” Viki. Now that I’m a little older I can understand how her falling in love with a man who was always there for her could trump cultural differences.
I never knew Ritchie well; he was a private guy who really didn’t hang out much with the press. But as an OLTL fan, you could surmise how much of who he really was transferred into his character. I’m not just talking about the fact that they both loved horses and were named Clint. Up until some point in the 90s, the lifelong single actor who really seem to enjoy what he was doing. He really relished being a part of the “real” Buchanan family and the OLTL cast.
Unfortunately, times changed. Somehow during the late 80s and into the 90s , old-fashioned traditional American heroes went out of style in pop culture and in real life. One set of OLTL writers even tried to vilify Clint by making him a homophobe (during the Billy Douglas story). That was a bitter betrayal to Ritchie and his fans! At the end of the 90s, the actor who was not happy with the modern misunderstanding and direction of his hero character quit OLTL and rode off into the sunset.
Clint retired in 1998, returning only to make periodic appearances on OLTL after that. He died February 2nd. My condolences go out to his family, his OLTL family and his many fans.