Starred (as "Walter Burns") in "The Front Page" on Broadway (1969). Comedy (revival). Written by Ben Hecht
and Charles MacArthur
. Directed by Harold J. Kennedy
(also in cast as "Bensinger" from the Tribune). Ethel Barrymore Theatre: 18 Oct 1969-28 Feb 1970 (158 performances + 6 previews). Cast: Val Avery
(as "Diamond Louis"),
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6' 4" (1.93 m)
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[on why he never became a target of Sen. Joseph McCarthy
and the Red-baiting HUAC, despite being known for his left-of-center politics] I was involved in the things he was throwing rocks at but I was never a target. Looking back, I suspect my Irish name, my being a Catholic and an ex-Marine sort of softened the blow.
Shortly before his death from lung cancer at the age of sixty-three, Ryan publicly denounced his heavy use of cigarettes as the cause of his illness.
Often played stern authority figures, in sharp contrast to his real life persona.