Wednesday, September 12, 2007


"How strange it is to feel reborn while standing in your father's tomb.
How strange and wonderful
Mark Volchek
'Wiseguy' has an obituary for actor Steve Ryan which can be found here. Ryan was only 55, but apparently he was suffering from a long illness.

According to the obituary, "A veteran actor with more than 50 film and TV credits, Ryan was often cast as authority figures, including Secretary of Defense Miles Hutchinson in The West Wing, and police officers in shows such as CSI, NYPD Blue, Oz, and Crime Story. Other credits include recurring roles on Arrested Development, American Dreams, JAG, and New York Undercover."

I also remember him on an episode of 'Law & Order' and in a touching IKEA blipvert. I also saw him in the Broadway production of 'Guys & Dolls' with Nathan Lane and Faith Prince.

But that obituary fails to mention his role as Mark Volchek on 'Wiseguy', which is where he first came to my notice. Volchek ran the town of Lynchboro with an iron fist, and Vinnie Terranova was sent there to investigate him. When he was sidelined with an injury after uncovering the Sheriff as a serial-killer (probably the first David Strathairn role I ever saw), Vinnie was replaced by returning rogue agent Roger Lococco (William Russ).

Mark Volchek:
"Have we met before?"
Roger Lococco:
"In another life, maybe?"
Mark Volchek:
"There is no other life, Mr. Lococco!"

Steve Ryan's portrayal of Volchek was over-the-top, but he was in complete command the whole time. And I have to think he enjoyed the chance to deliver the lines that were scripted for him in that role. I don't think he ever played another character in Television that came close to providing such a chance to shine.

I was lucky enough to meet him several times as part of my "real" job. Right off during that first encounter, I let him know how much I enjoyed his performance as Mark Volchek. I can only hope that he appreciated my enthusiasm... and that I didn't come off as a wack-job.

"Has your gyroscope been so completely altered
That you can't grasp priorities
Mark Volchek

I don't do those full-blown "Hat Squad" tributes anymore, due to the work involved and the depressing moods they would drop me, but this is one of those times when I felt the need to pay tribute to someone who made an impression on me with his contribution to Toobworld.

Thank you, Steve Ryan, for giving us Mark Volchek and all your other tele-folks in the Toobworld population....

Toby OB

Ed Rogoshevsky:
"You're a 200 lb. man wrapped in a child's ego."
Mark Volchek:
"I only weigh 180!"

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