John Ritter's (search) widow, Amy Yasbeck (search), says the real John Ritter was just like his TV persona.

"That's the freakishly amazing thing. You did know John Ritter . . . he was that guy," Yasbeck tells Diane Sawyer on tonight's "Primetime Thursday."

"I think life was a thrill for him," Yasbeck says. "And so he didn't need a lot of enhancements . . . he read so much.

"He was so well-informed and he loved TV . . . loved movies . . . he would go to three movies a day if he could fit it in," Yasbeck tells Sawyer.

Ritter, 54, died Sept. 11 after being stricken by an undetected heart ailment while on the set of his ABC sitcom, "8 Simple Rules," in which he played Paul Hennessy.

Sawyer asks Yasbeck if Ritter considered himself a pop-culture icon, based on his role as Jack Tripper in "Three's Company." (search

"He got a kick out of it but he knew better than to take himself seriously," she says. "And he was innocent and modest about how much people loved him, but indeed they did.

"I said to my sister, 'Who knew I was married to Elvis?' And he would have liked that."