The receptor-interacting kinase-3 (RIP3) and its downstream substrate mixed lineage kinase domain-like protein (MLKL) have emerged as the key cellular components in programmed necrotic cell death. Receptors for the cytokines of tumor necrosis factor (TNF) family and Toll-like receptors (TLR) 3 and 4 are able to activate RIP3 through receptor-interacting kinase-1 and Toll/IL-1 receptor domain-containing adapter inducing IFN-β, respectively. This form of cell death has been implicated in the host-defense system. However, the molecular mechanisms that drive the activation of RIP3 by a variety of pathogens, other than the above-mentioned receptors, are largely unknown. Here, we report that human herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) infection triggers RIP3-dependent necrosis. This process requires MLKL but is independent of TNF receptor, TLR3, cylindromatosis, and host RIP homotypic interaction motif-containing protein DNA-dependent activator of IFN regulatory factor. After HSV-1 infection, the viral ribonucleotide reductase large subunit (ICP6) interacts with RIP3. The formation of the ICP6-RIP3 complex requires the RHIM domains of both proteins. An HSV-1 ICP6 deletion mutant failed to cause effective necrosis of HSV-1-infected cells. Furthermore, ectopic expression of ICP6, but not RHIM mutant ICP6, directly activated RIP3/MLKL-mediated necrosis. Mice lacking RIP3 exhibited severely impaired control of HSV-1 replication and pathogenesis. Therefore, this study reveals a previously uncharacterized host antipathogen mechanism.