John Gabriel, an actor, singer-lyricist, and producer best known for his over a decade-long stint on Ryan’s Hope has passed away. He was 90 years old.
John Gabriel Has Passed Away
Gabriel’s daughter, actress Andrea Gabriel, took to Instagram to confirm the sad news, and to eulogize her father, saying, “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. 💔🙏🏻 …I will love you forever. ✨”
Born John Monkarsh on May 25, 1931, in Niagara Falls, New York, nascent thespian Gabriel heeded the advice of his agent to change his surname, eventually settling on the moniker of a trumpeting archangel referenced in both the biblical New Testament and the Cole Porter ditty, Blow, Gabriel, Blow.
His early acting credits include episodes of You Are There, Patrol Car, and The New Adventures of Charlie Chan, as well as feature films like The Young Lions (starring Marlo Brando) and El Dorado (with John Wayne). In addition to his bit part in the latter, Gabriel also penned its title song alongside Nelson Riddle.
He spent three years recurring on The Mary Tyler Moore Show as WJM-TV sportscaster Andy Rivers, he guest-starred on The Untouchables, 77 Sunset Strip, The Flying Nun, and Here’s Lucy, and as a singer he entertained on the stages of numerous variety and talk shows, including The Ed Sullivan Show, The Merv Griffin Show, and The Mike Douglas Show.
But it is undoubtedly his role as Ryan’s Hope’s Dr. Seneca Beaulac, which he played from 1975-1989 for which Gabriel is best remembered. For the majority of his tenure, the Daytime Emmy Award nominee played a spoiler to the fan-favorite Frank Ryan/Jillian Coleridge coupling.
He would subsequently appear on four other daytime dramas: Loving (as reporter Zack Conway), Generations (Vic Reynolds), The Bold and the Beautiful (Lloyd Bennet), and Days of our Lives (Pete LeGrand ).
Of interesting note, Gabriel was cast in the original pilot episode of Gilligan’s Island. His character, a high school teacher, was eventually reworked into The Professor, and recast with Russell Johnson.
In addition to Andrea, Gabriel is survived by his wife of 53 years, actress Sandy Gabriel (formerly Edna Thornton on ABC’s All My Children), a second daughter, actress Melissa Gabriel Toole, and two grandsons. Soap Hub sends sincere condolences to the actor’s family, friends, and fans at this difficult time.