Actor Mitchell Ryan, who had a career in stage, film and TV lasting more than 50 years, has died at the age of 88.
Ryan was best known for appearing in Lethal Weapon, and for his role in the TV sitcom Dharma & Greg.
Other roles included soap operas Dark Shadows in the 1960s and Santa Barbara in the 1980s.
Ryan was born in Cincinnati and served in the US Navy before pursuing theater work. For over a decade, he worked on stage almost every night, both on and off Broadway.
His distinctive looks with a firm jaw and sleek hair led to screen parts too, his first uncredited role in the 1958 Robert Mitchum film Thunder Road.
His breakout performance came in 1966 with Dark Shadows, a TV soap opera about the lives of the wealthy Collins family. Ryan played ex-convict Burke Devlin for one season but was fired because of his alcoholism, something he acknowledged in his autobiography last year.
Later, he appeared in Magnum Force, High Plains Drifter and Blue, and on the small screen, he played ruthless Las Vegas businessman Anthony Tonell in the TV soap opera Santa Barbara.
Ryan’s biggest screen role came in 1987, when he played the antagonist General Peter McAllister opposite Mel Gibson and Danny Glover in the first of the Lethal Weapon series The film grossed more than $100million worldwide at the box office, something Ryan later remembered in an interview as being a massive surprise for all involved.
In the 1990s, he played wealthy patriarch Edward Montgomery in the TV sitcom Dharma & Greg, a show he appeared in for five years.
Ryan served on the national board of the Screen Actors Guild from 1993-2002, and as president of the SAG Foundation from 1999-2008.
“We are deeply saddened to say goodbye to Mitch, who was an active and proud member of Screen Actors Guild for decades,” said SAG-AFTRA national executive director Duncan Crabtree-Ireland. “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.”
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