When we spoke, he always inquired about the members of his Fan Club, and asked me to send them greetings, best wishes, and his thanks for their unwavering support. Good public relations, to be sure. But so much more. Clint knew that he was blessed with loyal fans whose admiration of his work and affection for him were both genuine and enduring — and appreciated each of them, many of whom he met over the years at various functions.
I had not planned to write a Tribute this week. Frankly, I haven’t felt like writing, although I spent quite a bit of time on the computer this past weekend reading tributes to and comments about Clint. So many times I started to reach for the phone to call him and say, “Honey, you have to hear these lovely words that a fan wrote about you.” He would have been so touched by the boundless expressions of sadness about his departure and appreciation for his work that have been published in the past week or so. Like these comments from Ms. Lolly:
I was introduced to the fine citizens of Llanview at the tender age of eight. The moment Clint appeared on the screen it was love at first sight and that affection never waned in the intervening 26 years. The character of Clint Buchanan was a wonderful mix of intrepid newspaper man and rough and ready cowboy. He was played to utter perfection by Clint Ritchie whose real-life cowboy tendencies brought an authenticity to the role.
I met Clint Ritchie once. And while my giggly fan girliness I’m sure must have made me seem insane, he was absolutely delightful. What I remember most was his smile. It was one of those rare times when the person behind the character not only lives up to your expectations but exceeds them.
It is the end of an era. An era, where a man treated a woman as a lady instead of his latest ho. Clint Ritchie was a throwback to the days of Cary Grant. A true gentleman. I felt his pain when I read how they had changed his character and he decided to walk away. This shows what character he had.
I never got a chance to meet this wonderful man. . . . To all of you who got to meet him, you are so lucky. A man like him only comes around once in a lifetime, if ever. He truly was one of a kind. I know he is with God and his family now. This world is now a sadder place that such a man is no longer part of it.
Norrthpier paid tribute to Clint this way:
[A] mythic man and master storyteller who fed our imaginations, who gave us hope and laughter, and whose work we loved without measure, you will be missed. Thank you for sharing your time, and your talents with us. They were and always will be considered treasured gifts.
If you think that all of the fans saddened by Clint’s passing are women, you are quite mistaken. Marlena de la Croix reminded her readers that
[t]he 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.
Clint delighted in the fact that he could not walk down the street in New York City, board a plane or, most impressively, walk into a truck stop in the most remote part of Wyoming without being recognized by the male patrons and employees who watched One Life to Live because of “The Buchanan Men” and tried to pry plot details out of him.
Clint was the common denominator that drew together diverse folks with vastly dissimilar backgrounds living all over the country. Many of us found each other through his Fan Club and, later, online. The affection, warmth, and concern that his fans expressed for him was matched by and inspired the friendship, comaraderie, and support they have shown each other over the years. I count among my best friends several of the women I met because of Clint, and know that, although the man who served as the catalyst for our interactions is gone, we will remain connected. That is also part of Bucky’s legacy. It is said that “fame is fleeting.” If that is true, the fact that so many people never lost interest in Clint, his work — or each other — is nothing short of remarkable.
In recent days, I have also spent some time working on Clint’s Official site which was launched in 1998 almost as a dare. When I told Clint that he needed a website, his reaction was something like, “A what?” You see, Clint never did learn how to use that computer he bought so many years ago. When he retired, he talked about taking a computer class or two, but never got around to it as too many projects at the Ranch and a few trips back to New York City kept him busy. I somehow found myself authorized to create an official site for him, even though I had never built a website and had no clue how to start. So I went to the book store, picked out the most easily-understandable book on HTML I could find, got a free domain on Geocities, and went to work. Over the years, the site grew and evolved. BigBob accused me more than once of being obsessed with it, but I was determined to keep improving it. Eventually, I secured his name as the domain. A couple of years ago, I converted the old static webpage into a blog and focused my efforts on converting more videotapes than I can count into digital files so that I could burn DVD’s. I have uploaded quite a few clips on You Tube for viewers to enjoy.
This past Saturday, I logged onto the old server and was stunned to see just how much information was stored there that I had forgotten about, so I’ve decided to transfer it all to his current site. Re-reading some of his interviews so many years later, for instance, was interesting as I didn’t remember many of the details. I responded to an inquiry this morning by explaining that because I was Clint’s friend, I designed and maintained the website, and, at his request, kept his Fan Club going. But I never spoke for him and see no reason to start now. Rather, his own words will remain on his site which will stay online permanently as a lasting tribute to our cowboy’s life and work.
And to his innumerable loyal, loving, steadfast fans. I salute each and every one of you because you are a remarkable group of people, and a profound reflection both of the man to whom you gave your time, attention, and affection — and each other.