Ryan worked in many of the nation's leading regional theaters, including Williamstown Theatre Festival, Yale Repertory, and Hartford Stage, and for such Off-Broadway institutions as the Public Theater, appearing in their productions of Love's Labour's Lost and The Merry Wives of Windsor.
He made his Broadway debut in 1985's I'm Not Rappaport, playing the Cowboy. Ryan returned to the Great White Way in Guys and Dolls as Lt. Branigan, the short-lived On the Waterfront, and the Kevin Spacey-led revival of The Iceman Cometh as Moran.
Ryan had guest starring roles on many of television's most popular series, including Oz, Law & Order, Will and Grace, and CSI. From 2003-2006, he played the recurring role of Secretary of Defense Miles Hutchinson and NBC's The West Wing.
He is survived by his wife and two daughters.