Michael Levin, 'Ryan's Hope' Soap Star, Dead at 90

Michael Levin

Levin died of natural causes last week.

Michael Levin, known for portraying the journalist Jack Fenelli on all 13 seasons of the ABC soap Ryan's Hope, has died. He was 90.

Levin's son, Jason, told The Hollywood Reporter that his father died on Jan. 6 of natural causes at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, New York. No further details were provided.

Levin earned fame after appearing in more than 1,000 episodes of Ryan's Hope, which aired on ABC between 1975 and 1989. Levin was also nominated for a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Actor for three straight years from 1978 to 1980 after portraying a hungry reporter who exposed a blackmail scandal within the Ryan family.

The soap also starred Helen Gallagher (Maeve Ryan) and Bernard Barrow (Johnny Ryan), who owned a bar in Washington Heights dubbed Ryan's, which sat across the street from a Manhattan hospital. Christian Slater, Dominic Chianese and Yasmine Bleeth are some of the several actors who got their start on the soap.

The Minneapolis native also appeared in As the World Turns (playing John Eldridge) and All My Children (Dr. Tim Gould). According to the website We Love Soaps, Levin's considered one of the 50 greatest soap actors, coming in at No. 24.


"As reporter Jack Fenelli on RYAN'S HOPE, he was a volcano of emotion. All kinds," the panel commented about his skills. "He and Kate Mulgrew as Jack's wife Mary Ryan were just fascinating to watch. Tumultuous love, tumultuous acting."

Some of his other TV credits included The Equalizer, NYPD, Law & Order and New York News.

Levin also starred opposite Al Pacino in Tennessee Williams' play Camino Real and acted on Broadway in The Royal Hunt of the Sun.

He attended the University of Minnesota and studied acting there after serving two years in the U.S. Navy. According to The Hollywood Reporter,  Levin would later take acting classes with the likes of Jack Nicholson and Robert Blake in California.

Levin's survived by his wife, two sons and two grandchildren.