HomeAmerican EntertainmentPeopleMichael Levin, ‘Ryan’s Hope’ Actor, Dies at 90

Michael Levin, ‘Ryan’s Hope’ Actor, Dies at 90

by Samantha Whidden
michael levin with ryan's hope cast
(Photo by Ann Limongello /ABC via Getty Images)

Michael Levin, who is best known for his role as Jack Fenelli on ABC’s daytime soap opera Ryan’s Hope, has reportedly died. He was 90 years old. 

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Michael Levin passed away on January 6th from natural causes at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, New York. His son, Jason Levin, confirmed the news. Prior to starring in Ryan’s Hope, Levin appeared on Broadway in The Royal Hunt of the Sun opposite David Carradine in 1965.

Michael Levin also made an appearance in three 1970s plays. They were Tennessee Williams’ Camino Real, Sam Shepard’s Operation Sidewinder, and Bertolt Brecht’s The Good Woman of Setzuan. In 1975, he took on the role of Jack Fenelli on Ryan’s Hope. He held the role until the series ended in 1989.

Per IMDb, Michael Levin appeared in 1,074 of the soap opera’s episodes. Aside from Levin, only Bernard Barrow, Helen Gallagher, and Ron Hale appeared throughout the entire series. Levin also received a nomination for a Daytime Emmy for outstanding actor in a daytime drama series for three straight years.

Michael Levin was also listed on a list of the 50 Greatest Soap Actors of all time. This list was compiled in 2010 by We Love Soaps. His last role was in the series New York News in 1995. Other shows he was in included N.Y.P.D., The Equalizer, Law & Order, As the World Turns, and All My Children. 

Michael Levin Once Revealed He Wanted to Go Into Writing Instead of Acting

During a 1978 interview, Michael Levin spoke about how he had other career aspirations before deciding to go into acting. 

“I was going to be a writer,” Michael Lavin shared. “My father was a self-made businessman and I didn’t want to go into business. I tried writing, and I found it to be a very lonely and difficult thing.”

At that time, Michael Lavin said he never thought he would go into acting. “I had always thought of acting as sort of sissy stuff! When I grew up, it was all sports and fighting. I remember, even in high school, thinking, ‘Who would go out for the class play?’ Because I didn’t want to work, I decided to become an actor!”

However, following a trip to New York and meeting with an east coast casting director for Universal, Michael Levin decided to go back and finish school. “The director told me to finish school, then come back, and I could be an actor!” he added. “I think he had some kind of a deal worked out with my Aunt Frances who worked for him, because he said, ‘You’ve already completed three years of college. Go back and get your degree.’”