John Gabriel, Star of ‘Ryan’s Hope,’ Dead at 90

by Jennifer Shea
Bobby Bank/WireImage

Soap opera veteran John Gabriel, who became famous to daytime TV fans for his role on “Ryan’s Hope” as Dr. Seneca Beaulac, has passed away at age 90.

The Daytime Emmy nominee launched his career with guest-starring roles on shows ranging from “Hawaiian Eye,” “77 Sunset Strip” and “The Untouchables” to “The Big Valley,” according to TV Line. Gabriel later scored a recurring role on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” as sports reporter Andy Rivers.

In the 1970s, Gabriel got the part of Beaulac on the ABC soap opera “Ryan’s Hope.” He would go on to play that role for over 10 years. Gabriel also appeared in the soap operas “Generations,” “Days of Our Lives,” “General Hospital” and “The Bold and the Beautiful.”

More recently, and beyond daytime TV, Gabriel appeared in “Murder, She Wrote,” “Seinfeld” and “Law & Order.”

And “Gilligan’s Island” fans may not realize it, but Gabriel also played the role that would later become the Professor in the show’s 1963 pilot. He portrayed a high school teacher. However, the role was recast once the CBS sitcom got picked up.

“It was the first time in my adult life that I remember weeping,” he once said of the decision to give the role to Russell Johnson. “And I think part of that has to do with the fact that I built this thing up to such a degree it was going to be my breakthrough.”

John Gabriel Was Also a Producer and Singer

Gabriel also produced Charles Grodin’s talk show, “Charles Grodin,” on CNBC in 1995, per Deadline. And he appeared as a singer on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” “The Merv Griffin Show,” “The Mike Douglas Show” and “Regis and Kathy Lee.”

The actor was also a devoted family man, as an Instagram post from his daughter announcing his death attests.

“It is with an unspeakably heavy heart that I share the news of my father’s passing. John Gabriel was my hero, my role model, and my champion, but above all, my daddy,” she posted. “I will love you forever.”

Gabriel Was a Versatile Actor

But Gabriel didn’t just appear in TV shows. He also acted on Broadway and in film.

On Broadway, Gabriel appeared in the 1968 play “The Happy Time.” And Gabriel’s movie credits include “El Dorado” with John Wayne. He co-wrote the title song with Nelson Riddle for that movie.

In “Ryan’s Hope,” Gabriel played Beaulac, the domineering chief of staff at Riverside Hospital in New York City. Beaulac had arrived in Manhattan chasing after the wife who lad left him, according to The Hollywood Reporter. After he took part in her mercy killing, he wed the attorney who defended him from murder charges at trial.

Gabriel is survived by his wife, Sandy Gabriel, who appeared in “All My Children,” by his two daughters Andrea and Melissa, both actresses, and by his two grandsons.