Mitchell Ryan, 1973 {image via abc}

Mitchell Ryan as Devlin of Dark Shadows

Actor Mitchell Ryan, who played Burke Devlin in the 1960’s horror soap opera Dark Shadows, has passed away at the age of 88.

Falsely accused of manslaughter and seeking revenge, Devlin Burke was neither a vampire nor a werewolf. His storyline was loosely inspired by Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo.

Ryan sadly struggled with alcoholism, and was removed from the production and replaced by actor Anthony George as Devlin; George later played Jeremiah Collins. It was not unusual on Dark Shadows for two actors to play the same character, or for for one actor to play different characters.

Mitchell Ryan was born January 11, 1934 in Cincinnati, Ohio. He grew up in Louisville, Kentucky. He died March 4, 2022 at his home in Los angeles, CA.

Science Fiction and Horror Roles

In addition to appearing on Dark Shadows, Ryan was a guest star on Star Trek: The Next Generation as Kyle Riker, the father of Cmdr, William T, Riker in the episode “The Icarus Factor.” Like Yaphet Kotto, he was considered for the role of Jean-Luc Picard, before Sir Patrick Stewart was cast.

Ryan played Dr. Wynn in Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995). He voiced Highfather in two episodes of the animated series Justice League. He had a single guest role on Dark Skies. In Judge Dredd (1995), Ryan played Vartis Hammond. He played Inspector McKenna in A Reflection of Fear (1972). He guest starred once on the police robot show Mann and Machine as Bennet Tyler.

Other Roles

As an actor whose career stretched from 1958 to 2021, Mitchell Ryan had dozens of role. Some of his major ones included Edward Montgomery, Greg’s father, in 119 episodes of Dharma and Greg. His movies included High Plains Drifter (1973), Lrthel Weapon (1987) On stage he played Iago to James Earl Jones’ Othello, and starred in a prodiction of Hamlet.

Mitchell Ryan wrote a novel, Fall of a Sparrow, which was released last year.

He is survived by his first wife Lynda Morse and their two children, and his second wife Barbara.

He served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War. Thank you for your service, sir.

We offer our deepest condolences to his friends and family.


Susan Macdonald
Susan Macdonald

Susan Macdonald is the author of the children’s book “R is for Renaissance Faire”, as well as 26 short stories, mostly fantasy in “Alternative Truths”, “Swords and Sorceress ”, Swords &Sorceries Vols. 1, 2, & 5, “Cat Tails” “Under Western Stars”, and “Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid”. Her articles have appeared on’s web site, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions,  Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.