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Ben Masters, who appeared three times on Broadway in the 1970s before starring as the philandering billionaire Julian Crane during the entire run of the NBC/DirecTV soap opera Passions, has died. He was 75.
Masters battled dementia for several years and died Wednesday of COVID-19 complications at Eisenhower Health Center in Rancho Mirage, California, a family spokesperson announced.
On the big screen, Masters appeared in Bob Fosse’s All That Jazz (1979) with Roy Scheider, in Key Exchange (1985) with Brooke Adams and Danny Aiello, in Dream Lover (1986) with Kristy McNichol and in Making Mr. Right (1987) with John Malkovich.
On Passions, which ran from 1999-2008, Masters’ Julian had an affair and a son with Tracey Ross’ Eve and a long, tumultuous marriage with Kim Johnston Ulrich’s Ivy. He also was presumed murdered in 2002, but it turned out he wasn’t, and he was back on the show months later.
Soap Opera Digest nominated him for its best supporting actor prize in 2001, ’03 and ’05.
Born on May 6, 1947, in Corvallis, Oregon, Masters graduated from Corvallis High School in 1965 and from the University of Oregon with a bachelor’s degree in theater in 1969.
He moved to New York City and appeared on Broadway in 1972 with Ingrid Bergman in Captain Brassbound’s Conversion, in 1973 with Anne Jackson and Eli Wallach in The Waltz of the Toreadors and in 1977 with Meryl Streep in The Cherry Orchard.
He starred with Adams in a 1981 off-Broadway production of Key Exchange before the movie adaptation, then portrayed Vic Strang on the NBC soap Another World in ’82.
Masters also showed up on episodes of Kojak, Petrocelli, Touched by an Angel, Kung Fu: The Legend Continues, Barnaby Jones, Diagnosis Murder, Sisters and Pensacola: Wings of Gold.
Survivors include his sister, Cheryl, and nieces Hannah and Clea. At his request, there will be no memorial service or funeral.
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