06 March 2022

US star of stage and screen Mitchell Ryan dies aged 88

06 March 2022

Former Lethal Weapon actor Mitchell Ryan has died aged 88.

Ryan died of congestive heart failure at his Los Angeles home, his stepdaughter Denise Freed told the Hollywood Reporter.

Ryan played a villainous general in the first Lethal Weapon movie, and was also a ruthless businessman on TV’s Santa Barbara, with character roles on the soap opera Dark Shadows and the 1990s sitcom Dharma & Greg.

Rugged, granite-jawed and sporting a sleek mane of hair, Ryan was instantly recognisable on TV and the big screen.

His career spanned more than half a century, beginning with an uncredited role in the 1958 Robert Mitchum film Thunder Road.

He was a general-turned heroin smuggler in Lethal Weapon, police officer in Magnum Force and Electra Glide In Blue, and the conniving, murderous Las Vegas businessman Anthony Tonell in the nighttime TV soap opera Santa Barbara.

I’m blessed that, 30 years a drunk, I’ve managed to live a working actor’s life to be envied

In the 1990s, he had a long-running role as Greg’s wealthy, eccentric and boozy father on Dharma & Greg.

Ryan played Burke Devlin on the cult 1960s soap opera Dark Shadows for one series but he was fired because of his alcoholism.

He acknowledged his drinking issues 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,” he said.

“And I’ve lived a great deal of real life while I was at it.

“Sober for the next 30 years, I’m told that I’ve come out of it all a good and useful human being.”

Ryan had roles on many TV shows and in movies ranging from High Plains Drifter with Clint Eastwood to Halloween: The Curse Of Michael Myers.

He also performed in the theatre, including Broadway appearances in Wait Until Dark, Medea and The Price.

Kathryn Leigh Scott, who appeared with him in Dark Shadows, said in a Facebook post: “He was a great gift in my life. I cherish my warm memories of his beautiful soul. I’m heartbroken.”

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