The Tragic Death Of Ryan's Hope Star Michael Levin

Michael Levin, best known for portraying Jack Fenelli on the ABC soap opera "Ryan's Hope," died on January 6, 2023, at the age of 90, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The news of his death was shared by his son, Jason Levin, who revealed that his father died of natural causes at the Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, New York. Levin had a long tenure on the soap, starring as the journalist Fenelli for all 13 seasons.

"Ryan's Hope" aired from 1975 to 1989 and starred Helen Gallagher, Bernard Barrow, and Nancy Addison. Another long-running staple of the show, John Gabriel, died in June 2021. Levin appeared in 1,075 episodes and frequently starred alongside Kate Mulgrew, who played Mary Ryan Fenelli. While many stars get their start on soap operas, Levin was an actor whose vibrant career centered around the stage rather than in front of the camera. He was on Broadway in "The Royal Hunt of the Sun" in 1965, and he starred alongside Al Pacino in the Tennessee Williams production of "Camino Real" among other theatrical productions.

Michael Levin decided on acting to avoid a regular job

Levin was born in 1932 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and attended the University of Minnesota. His initial plan was journalism. "I was going to be a writer. My father was a self-made businessman and I didn't want to go into business. I tried writing, and I found it to be a very lonely and difficult thing," Levin told Rona Barrett's Daytimers Magazine in 1978. In fact, Levin only found acting by default. "I had always thought of acting as sort of sissy stuff! When I grew up, it was all sports and fighting," he began. "Because I didn't want to work, I decided to become an actor!"

After taking acting classes along the way, he moved to New York City and began appearing in productions by the Repertory Theatre of Lincoln Center, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Eventually, he landed the role of Jack Fenelli on "Ryan's Hope" and found not only an artistic outlet but steady work. From 1978 to 1980, Levin was honored three times with Emmy Award nominations. For a guy who didn't want to work, he sure had a lot of success in his career. He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth, and two sons, Jason and Aaron.