The Hollywood community was remembering Mitchell Ryan today after the prolific actor died at the age of 88. Ryan, whose square-jawed good looks often led him to play heavies, enjoyed a fruitful career in both film and television, including roles in the first “Lethal Weapon” film and a recurring part on the sitcom “Dharma & Greg.”
He died Friday of congestive heart failure at his home in Los Angeles, according to The Hollywood Reporter, which cited his stepdaughter Denise Freed. “We are deeply saddened to say goodbye to Mitch, who was an active and proud member of Screen Actors Guild for decades,” SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director Duncan Crabtree-Ireland said Sunday. “He inspired many to union service and loved the craft of acting, helping to create many of the performer programs at the then-Screen Actors Guild Foundation. We are grateful and better as a union for his dedication.”
Ryan made his movie debut in 1958’s “Thunder Road,” starring Robert Mitchum. Other key film roles included the 1970 western “Monte Walsh,” 1973’s “High Plains Drifter,” “The Friends of Eddie Coyle,” “Electra Glide in Blue” and “Magnum Force,” 1976’s “Midway” and “Two-Minute Warning,” andb “Liar Liar” and “Grosse Pointe Blank” in 1997. He starred as Playboy founder Hugh Hefner in the 1981 made-for-TV movie “Death of a Centerfold: The Dorothy Stratten Story.”
On television, Ryan starred in “Dark Shadows” from 1966-67, and also appeared on the soap operas “Santa Barbara,’ “All my Children” and “General Hospital.” He portrayed the father of Thomas Gibson’s title character on “Dharma & Greg” from 1997-2002, appearing in about 120 episodes of the popular ABC show.