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Patricia Modell, actress and wife of Art Modell, dead at 80

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 7:04 PM EDT, Wed October 12, 2011
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Modell was married to Art Modell, the former owner of an NFL franchise
  • She is survived by her husband, sons, and grandchildren
  • Modell started acting on television in 1949

(CNN) -- Actress Patricia Modell, who was married to former Cleveland Browns/Baltimore Ravens owner Art Modell, died Wednesday, the Ravens organization announced. She was 80.

She is survived by her husband, their two sons, John and David, and six grandchildren, the Ravens said.

Modell, also known as Patricia Breslin, appeared on television, film, and the New York stage during her 22-year acting career, the Ravens said. Her most widely known role was as nurse Meg Bentley in the daytime soap opera General Hospital in the late 1960s, and she also played Laura Brooks on the primetime TV drama "Peyton Place."

Modell was also a regular on "Twilight Zone," "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," "Perry Mason," and "Maverick."

At one point, the Ravens said, Modell had appeared in more television shows than any other woman in U.S. history. Her record was eventually broken by one of her closest friends, the late Lucille Ball.

Modell retired from acting after the couple married in 1969 and became involved in philanthropy. In Cleveland, she did work for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the Cerebral Palsy Association, and the Cleveland Clinic Foundation.

She and her husband started and funded the Hospice of the Western Reserve in Cleveland.

Modell was a major contributor in Baltimore to the St. Vincent's Center and the Baltimore Museum of Art. The Modells contributed $3.5 million to the Lyric Opera House, which was recently renamed the Patricia and Arthur Modell Performing Arts Center at The Lyric.

The Modells pledged $5 million to help start a public boarding school, The SEED School, for disadvantaged students. They were named the 2009 Outstanding Philanthropists of the Year for their work and donations by the Association of Fundraising Professionals in Maryland.

Art Modell has been connected with the NFL since 1961, including 43 years of full ownership of the Browns and the Ravens. He moved the franchise from Cleveland to Baltimore in 1996, renaming it so a new Cleveland team could keep the historic Browns name.

He sold the team in 2004 but remains a minority owner.

CNN's Dave Close contributed to this report.

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