Pat Modell, actress and wife of Art Modell, dies

BALTIMORE - Patricia Modell, the wife of former NFL team owner Art Modell and a longtime television actress, has died. She was 80.

Mrs. Modell was pronounced dead around 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon, the Baltimore Ravens announced after being contacted by Modell's son. She had been hospitalized for around five months.

During a 22-year acting career, Patricia Breslin Modell performed on the New York stage, in motion pictures and on television. She starred in the "People's Choice" television series with actor Jackie Cooper and played the role of Meg Baldwin in the soap opera "General Hospital." She also played Laura Brooks on the prime time soap opera "Peyton Place."

Among her many television other roles, she was a regular on "Twilight Zone," "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," "Perry Mason," and "Maverick."

At one point in her career, Mrs. Modell had appeared on more television shows than any other woman in U.S. history. Her record was eventually broken by one of her best friends, Lucille Ball.

She married Art Modell, former owner and president of the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens, in 1969. She retired from acting at that time and immersed herself in her family and community improvement.

In Cleveland, Mrs. Modell served on the board at Ursuline College and was active in the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the Cleveland Musical Arts Association, the Cleveland Ballet, the Playhouse Square Foundation, and the Cerebral Palsy Association. She actively supported the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, and she started and funded, along with her husband, the Hospice of the Western Reserve in Cleveland.

"Her passion for hospice came from a friend of hers who died in Los Angeles alone and in a sterile environment that Pat was not pleased with," CEO Emeritus David Simpson said. "So she made a commitment to make sure that people had every opportunity not to die as she used to say ‘not die alone, afraid or in pain.'"

After Art Modell moved his football team to Baltimore in 1996, his wife served on several boards, including: House of Ruth, Gilchrist Hospice, Kennedy Krieger Institute, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and The Walters Art Museum. In addition, the Modells contributed money to the St. Vincent's Center and the Baltimore Museum of Art.

The Modells also gave $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 for disadvantaged students. The SEED School, which opened in the Fall of 2008, recruits middle and high school students from around the state. The gift is believed to have been one of the largest private contributions to a single public school in Maryland.

Born in New York, Patricia Modell was the daughter of Edward and Marjorie Breslin. Her father was a Special Sessions Judge in New York City. Monsignor Patrick Breslin, for whom she was named, was Judge Breslin's eldest brother.

Mrs. Modell graduated from the Academy of Mt. St. Ursuline and the College of New Rochelle.

She is survived by her husband, two sons, John and David, and six grandchildren.

The video player contains an October 21, 2005 interview Pat Modell did with former WEWS anchor Ted Henry. Pat Modell, accompanied by husband Art, talked of her faith, her support of hospice and her husband's life as an owner in the National Football League.

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