Michael Levin Death: Played Jack Fenelli, Dead At 90, In Ryan’s Hope!

Michael Levin Death: In over 13 years that Ryan’s Hope ran on ABC, Michael Levin played the feisty reporter Jack Fenelli. He was 90. According to his son Jason Levin, Levin passed away on January 6 from natural causes at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, New York.

In addition, Levin performed on Broadway in The Royal Hunt of the Sun with David Carradine in 1965, Camino Real with Al Pacino, Operation Sidewinder with Garrett Morris, and The Good Woman of Setzuan with Bertolt Brecht in 1970. (with Colleen Dewhurst).

Helen Gallagher and Bernard Barrow played Johnny and Maeve Ryan, a married couple who own and operate Ryan’s, a bar in New York City that is situated next to a hospital, in the television series Ryan’s Hope, which aired from July 1975 until January 1989.

Levin appeared in 1,074 episodes of the soap opera, including the pilot and the finale, according to IMDb. Few people appeared more frequently than Gallagher, Barrow, and Nancy Addison (as Jillian Coleridge). He and Kate Mulgrew were one of the most adored daytime TV couples, playing Johnny and Maeve’s daughter Mary, a TV news reporter.

From 1978 to 1980, Levin received three consecutive nominations for a Daytime Emmy in the category of the outstanding actor in a daytime drama series. Levin also ranked No. 24 on the list of the 50 Greatest Soap Actors of All Time compiled in 2010 by the website We Love Soaps.

On December 8, 1932, Levin was born in Minneapolis. He spent two years in the U.S. Navy, went to the University of Minnesota, studied acting in California under Jack Nicholson and Robert Blake, and honed his skills at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, beginning when it first opened in 1962. (His son remarked that he was pleased to have appeared alongside Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy.)

After relocating to New York, Levin wrote numerous plays for the American Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford, Connecticut, and the Repertory Theatre at Lincoln Center, directed by Jules Irving. He said that an advertisement he appeared in for Alitalia Airlines while portraying an Italian spokesperson resulted in his hiring as Italian American reporter Jack on Ryan’s Hope.

Jack and Mary were wed in 1976 during a ceremony that was captured on camera at St. Benedict the Moor Church on Manhattan’s West Side. Mary was written out in 1979 following Mulgrew’s departure from the serial, passing away in Jack’s arms following a car accident staged by mobsters.

Mulgrew later made a heartbreaking comeback as a ghost for an emotional narrative arc in 1983 to help Jack move on with his life as he was falling in love with another lady but dealing with his sadness over Mary’s passing.

Michael Levin Death
Michael Levin Death

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Levin also appeared in two daytime serial operas: Dr. Tim Gould on ABC’s All My Children and John Eldridge on CBS’ As the World Turns. He also had appearances on N.Y.P.D., The Equalizer, Law & Order, and New York News primetime broadcasts. He had recently taken up woodworking. His wife Elizabeth, kids Jason and Aaron, and grandchildren Veronica and Nico round out his survivors.

In 1978, he observed, “You don’t have much control over your life in this business. It sounds foolish, but if I could choose over anything and make any changes I wanted to, I would prefer a career where I had a little bit more power. I might work as an architect or something like that.

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