The entertainment world is mourning the passing of veteran actor and multi-soap alum Mitchell Ryan, who died of heart failure at his home in Los Angeles, on March 4, 2022, at the age of 88.
With six decades of credits to his name spanning both television and films, Ryan is likely recognizable to anyone who consumes content. From films like Grosse Pointe Blank; Liar, Liar; and Lethal Weapon, to series like Dharma and Greg, Wings, and Silk Stockings, he ran the gamut of genres -- including soap operas.
Ryan's first soap credit is playing ex-con Burke Devlin on Dark Shadows: The Vampire Curse in the late 1960s. He followed that up with the role of Cpt. Merwin Fogerty on Dallas in 1984, the role of All My Children's Alex Hunter in 1986, and the role of mobster Anthony Tonell on Santa Barbara in the late 1980s. In the mid-90s, he joined General Hospital as Luke (Anthony Geary) and Laura's (Genie Francis) tormentor, Frank Smith.
Kathryn Leigh Scott, who shared the screen with Ryan as Dark Shadows' Maggie Evans, took to Facebook and shared, "My sweet, beloved friend Mitch died early this morning. He was a great gift in my life... I cherish my warm memories of his beautiful soul. I'm heartbroken."
Ryan was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, and grew up in Louisville, Kentucky. During his term in the Navy in 1951, he was assigned to the Special Services Entertainment, where he became hooked on acting. After his time in the Navy came to an end, he appeared in dozens of plays until he landed his first major TV role in Dark Shadows.
Unfortunately, the actor was fired from the gothic soap due to his addiction to alcohol, which he opened up about in his 2021 autobiography, Fall of A Sparrow. "I'm blessed that, 30 years a drunk, I've managed to live a working actor's life to be envied. And I've lived a great deal of real life while I was at it," he shared. "Sober for the next 30 years, I'm told that I've come out of it all a good and useful human being."
Some of Ryan's additional television credits included Murder, She Wrote; Renegade; Chase; Executive Suite; and North and South: Book 1, North and South -- the latter of which also starred soap actors such as Genie Francis, Lesley-Anne Down (ex-Jackie Marone, The Bold and the Beautiful), James Read (Clyde Weston, Days of our Lives; ex-Gregory Chase, GH), and Terri Garber (ex-Iris Dumbrowski, As the World Turns; ex-Victoria Parker, GH).
In the preface of his memoir, Ryan wrote, "A young man became an actor because someone thought he had the right look for a part. A pleasing voice. And he wasn't doing something else just then... And he stayed an actor because, remarkably, he was good at it."
Ryan is survived by his wife, Barbara Albertine. He also had three children and five grandchildren.
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