West News Wire: Mitchell Ryan, a malevolent general in the first “Lethal Weapon” film, a vicious businessman on TV’s “Santa Barbara,” and a character on the soap opera “Dark Shadows” and the 1990s sitcom “Dharma & Greg,” died on Friday. He was 88 years old when he died.

Denise Freed, Ryan’s stepdaughter, informed the Hollywood Reporter that Ryan died of congestive heart failure at his Los Angeles home.

Ryan was instantly recognizable on TV and the big screen as a rugged, granite-jawed man with a silky mane of hair. Beginning with an uncredited cameo in Robert Mitchum’s 1958 picture “Thunder Road,” his career extended more than half a century.”

He was a general-turned heroin smuggler in “Lethal Weapon,” police officer in “Magnum Force” and “Electra Glide in Blue,” and the conniving, murderous Las Vegas businessman Anthony Tonell in the nighttime TV soap opera “Santa Barbara.”

In the 1990s, he had a long-running role as Greg’s wealthy, eccentric and boozy father on “Dharma & Greg.”

Ryan played Burke Devlin on the cult 1960s soap opera “Dark Shadows” for one season but he was fired because of his alcoholism.

Ryan acknowledged his drinking issues in his 2021 autobiography, “Fall of a Sparrow.”

“I’m blessed that, 30 years a drunk, I’ve managed to live a working actor’s life to be envied. And I’ve lived a great deal of real life while I was at it,” he wrote. “Sober for the next 30 years, I’m told that I’ve come out of it all a good and useful human being.”

Ryan had roles on many TV shows and in movies ranging from “High Plains Drifter” with Clint Eastwood to “Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers.”

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He also performed in the theater, including Broadway appearances in “Wait Until Dark,” “Medea” and “The Price.”

“He was a great gift in my life,” Kathryn Leigh Scott, who appeared with him in “Dark Shadows,” said in a Facebook post. “I cherish my warm memories of his beautiful soul. I’m heartbroken.”


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