It is with a heavy heart that we share the news of Michael Levin’s passing. He was best known for his role as Jack Fenelli on ABC’s “Ryan’s Hope,” and he passed away at the ripe age of 90.
Jason Levin recently revealed to the Hollywood Reporter that his father had passed away on January 6th due to natural causes at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, New York.
Michael Levin, born on the 8th of December 1932, featured in over 1000 installments of “Ryan’s Hope” from 1975 to 1989 – including both the opening and concluding episodes.
From 1978 to 1980, the late actor earned a nomination for Daytime Emmy’s Outstanding Actor in a Daytime Drama Series each year. He has since been enshrined as one of the top 25 greatest soap opera actors ever!
Not only was Levin a popular television personality, but he also stepped on the Broadway stage in 1965 with “The Royal Hunt of the Sun,” as well as three plays in 1970 alongside Al Pacino for”Camino Real.”
After a two-year stint in the US Navy, he furthered his education at the University of Minnesota to pursue writing.
In 1978, Levin told Rona Barrett’s Daytimers Magazine about his first time in an acting class at university. He was given the direction to act like a “little kid,” which he found daunting as a 22-year-old man… yet it sold him on joining the course!
“That was it right there,” he said.
“I was very successful at the university,” he added. They thought I was a diamond in the rough, and they wanted me to stay to get my master’s degree, but I said no! I had to get to Hollywood. I was going to be a star!”
The Hollywood Reporter reported that he had the opportunity to study acting with Jack Nicholson in California, but then went back home to Minneapolis to star on stage at the newly opened Guthrie Theater before taking off for New York.
His career as an Italian spokesman for Alitalia Airlines proved to be a real game-changer. After his success in that role, he won the part of Jack, an Italian American reporter on “Ryan’s Hope.” From there, appearances further expanded with roles on hit shows like “Law & Order,” “New York News” and two other incredibly successful daytime soaps – “All My Children” and “As the World Turns.”
“In this profession, you don’t have a lot of control over your own life,” he said. “It’s a silly thing to say, but if I had it all to do over again, and I could change anything I wanted to change, I would pick a profession where I could have a little bit more control. Maybe I’d be an architect or something like that.”
Levin, who often enjoyed the art of woodworking in his spare time, is survived by Elizabeth Levin, their sons Jason and Aaron Levin, as well as two grandchildren.