Ben Masters, Star in Daytime Drama ‘Passions,’ Dies at 75

Ben Masters, who played Julian Crane in the daytime drama “Passions,” died Wednesday of COVID-19 in Palm Springs, Calif., after battling dementia for several years. He was 75.

He played the womanizing heir apparent to the show’s wealthy and powerful Crane family from 1999 to 2008.

Masters’ movie roles included parts in Bob Fosse’s “All That Jazz,” “Key Exchange,” “Making Mr. Right,” “Mandingo” and “Dream Lover.”

In the short-lived 1976 series “Muggsy,” Masters raised his 13-year old sister in a trailer behind a gas station after their parents died. The Saturday morning series dealt with issues like gangs and poverty in a more realistic way than the popular suburban depictions of family life.

From the 1970s to 1990s, Masters worked on several TV mini-series such as “Noble House” (with Pierce Brosnan) and “Celebrity” (with Ned Beatty and Tess Harper).

He also guest starred on TV series including “Kojak,” “Barnaby Jones,” “Murder She Wrote,” “Petrocelli,” “Touched by an Angel,” “Sisters,” “Diagnosis Murder,” “Kolchak: The Night Stalker” and “Kung Fu: The Legend Continues.”

He started his soap opera career with a short stint on “Another World” in 1982.

Born in Corvallis, Ore., he graduated from Corvallis High School in 1965 and the University of Oregon in 1969, where he earned a B.A. in theater.

He quickly moved to New York City and starred in several on and off-Broadway productions such as “Captain Brassbound’s Conversion” (with Ingrid Bergman), “The Cherry Orchard” with (Meryl Streep), and “Boys in the Band.”

Masters is survived by his sister Cheryl Lerner and nieces Hannah and Clea Lerner.

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