Ben Masters, Soap Star of ‘Passions,’ Dies at 75

The actor died Wednesday of COVID complications after a years-long battle with dementia

"Passions" star Ben Masters attends the "30th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards"
Mark Mainz/Getty Images

Ben Masters, the much-loved soap star of “Passions,” died Wednesday at age 75.

Per an official release from Masters’ team, the actor suffered a years-long battle with dementia before succumbing to COVID at the Eisenhower Medical Center in Palm Springs, California.

His much-loved role of billionaire Julian Crane was also his last. He starred on the daytime drama and pop culture phenomenon from 1999-2008.

Masters began his acting career shortly after graduating from the University of Oregon with a theater degree in 1969 when he moved to New York City and got his start onstage. He starred in many on-and Off-Broadway productions including “Captain Brassbound’s Conversion” with Ingrid Bergman, “The Cherry Orchard” with Meryl Streep and the historic LGBTQ drama “Boys in the Band.”

Feature film credits included Bob Fosse’s “All That Jazz” with Roy Schneider, “Key Exchange” with Brooke Adams and Danny Aiello, “Making Mr. Right” with John Malkovich and “Dream Lover” with Kristy McNichol.

On the small screen throughout the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, Masters starred in miniseries like “Noble House” with Pierce Brosnan and “Celebrity” with Ned Beatty and Tess Harper. He guest starred on a variety of series, including “Kojak,” “Petrocelli,” “Touched by an Angel,” “Kung Fu: The Legend Continues,” “Barnaby Jones,” “Murder She Wrote” and “Walker: Texas Ranger.”

His run on “Passions” ran the span of the series, which aired its last episode in 2008.

Born on May 6, 1947, Masters is survived by his sister, Cheryl Lerner and nieces Hannah and Clea Lerner. At his request, there will be no memorial service or funeral.