Saturday 5 March 2022

Magnum Force Actor Mitchell Ryan dies aged 88

I’m sad to report that Actor Mitchell Ryan who co-starred with Clint in both Magnum Force (1973) and High Plains Drifter (1973) has died at the age of 88. Ryan died of congestive heart failure at his Los Angeles home last night, his stepdaughter, Denise Freed, told the Hollywood Reporter.
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 a half-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 night-time TV soap opera “Santa Barbara.”

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 season but he was fired because of his alcoholism.
Ryan 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. And I’ve lived a great deal of real life while I was at it,” he wrote. “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 and Monte Walsh with Lee Marvin to “Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers.”

He also performed in the theatre, including Broadway appearances in “Wait Until Dark,” “Medea” and “The Price.”
“He was a great gift in my life,” Kathryn Leigh Scott, who appeared with him in “Dark Shadows,” said in a Facebook post. “I cherish my warm memories of his beautiful soul. I’m heartbroken.”
Above: Mitchell Ryan with Gary Busey in Lethal Weapon
Below: Mitchell Ryan talks about working with Clint and an original Featurette for High Plains Drifter