Michael Levin Dies: Michael Levin has died. For over 13 years, he played the fiery reporter Jack Fenelli on the ABC daytime soap opera Ryan’s Hope. He was 90. Levin was killed on January 6 in Mount Kisco, New York, of natural causes, his son Jason Levin told The Hollywood Reporter.
Levin also acted on Broadway in 1965 in The Royal Hunt of the Sun with David Carradine and three plays in 1970: Tennessee Williams’ Camino Real (with Al Pacino), Sam Shepard’s Operation Sidewinder (with Garrett Morris), and Bertolt Brecht’s The Good Woman of Setzuan (with Colleen Dewhurst).
Ryan’s Hope ran from July 1975 to January 1989. Helen Gallagher and Bernard Barrow played Johnny and Maeve Ryan, a married couple who run a bar called Ryan’s across the street from a hospital in New York City.
IMDb says that Levin was in 1,074 episodes of the soap, from the very first to the very last. Gallagher, Barrow, and Nancy Addison (as Jillian Coleridge) were on the show more often than anyone else. He and Kate Mulgrew, who played their TV news reporter daughter Mary, were one of the most famous couples on daytime TV.
Levin was nominated for a Daytime Emmy three years in a row, from 1978 to 1980, for being the best actor in a daytime drama series. And in 2010, the website We Love Soaps made a list of the 50 best soap actors of all time. Levin was No. 24 on that list.
Levin was born in Minneapolis on December 8, 1932. He spent two years in the U.S. Navy, went to the University of Minnesota, studied acting with Jack Nicholson and Robert Blake in California, and got better at what he did at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, which he started going to when it opened in 1962.
His son said he was proud to have worked there with Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy. After Levin moved to New York, he did a lot of plays for the Repertory Theatre of Lincoln Center, which Jules Irving ran, and for the American Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford, Connecticut.
He said he got the job as Italian American reporter Jack on Ryan’s Hope because of a commercial he did for Alitalia Airlines as an Italian spokesman. In 1976, Jack and Mary married at St. Benedict the Moor Church on Manhattan’s West Side.
— The US Sun (@TheSunUS) January 14, 2023
The wedding was filmed there. But after Mulgrew said she was leaving the soap, Mary was written out of the show in 1979. She died in Jack’s arms after a gangster-planned car accident. Later, when Jack falls in love with another woman but is still sad about Mary’s death, Mulgrew returns as a ghost in 1983 to help Jack move on with his life.
Levin also worked on two other daytime soaps, CBS’s As the World Turns as John Eldridge and ABC’s All My Children as Dr. Tim Gould. He also was in episodes of N.Y.P.D., The Equalizer, Law & Order, and New York News were shown during prime time.
In recent years, he liked working with wood. His wife, Elizabeth, his sons Jason and Aaron, and his grandchildren, Veronica and Nico, are all still alive. In 1978, he said, “In this line of work, you don’t have much say over your own life.“
“This is a silly thing to say, but if I could do it all over again and change anything, I would choose a job where I could have a little more control. Maybe I’d be an architect or something.“
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For almost 4 years, Jason Martin has been a freelance writer for newspapers, journals, blogs, books, and online material. He covers the most recent news as well as many other topics.