Karl Lewis Ritter was born in May, 1890 (some sources say 1891) to Henry and Magdalene Ritter. He graduated from Sandusky High School in 1909 and from Kenyon College in 1914. An article in the Centennial Edition of the Sandusky Register, December 31, 1922 reported that at that time Karl Ritter had been acting for five years on Broadway. Karl’s stage name was Ryder Keane. The three big hits which the Register article discussed were all mystery plays. “The Thirteenth Chair” ran for more than a year in New York. In Chicago, Ryder Keane appeared in the Rinehart-Hopwood thriller “The Bat.” In September 1921 Ryder Keane portrayed Charles Wilder in the Broadway play “The Cat and the Canary” which opened at New York’s National Theater.
By 1920 Ryder Keane was married to the actress Ilka Marie Diehl, a native of Cleveland. On her passport application, available at Ancestry Library Edition, Ilka stated that she was an actress on her way to Australia to perform in the play “Tiger Rose.” Portraits of Ryder Keane and Ilka Marie Diehl appear in the Billy Rose Theatre Collection of New York Public Library’s Digital Gallery. Nine plays in which Ryder Keane had a role are listed in the Internet Broadway Database.