After The Beverly Hillbillies, Ryan went to Broadway where she created the role of Berthe in the Stephen Schwartz musical Pippin, directed by Bob Fosse. She was nominated for a Tony Award as Best Supporting or Featured Actress, but lost to Patricia Elliott who won for A Little Night Music.
Ryan sufferd a stroke during a performance of Pippin just four days after the tony nomination. She flew home to California to undergo surgery for a previously undiagnosed brain tumor. She died on April 26, 1973. She was 70.