Ben Masters Dead: ‘Passions’ Star Dies at 75 After COVID-19 Battle

Passions Alum Ben Masters Dead At 75
Tracey Ross and Ben Masters at NBC's 'Passions' 7th Season Kick-Off Party Albert L. Ortega/

Former Passions actor Ben Masters has died. He was 75.

The soap star passed away amid a battle with COVID-19 on Wednesday, January 11, at the Eisenhower Medical Center in Palm Springs, California, per Deadline. The outlet also reported he had an ongoing battle with dementia for several years.

Masters was most well-known for his role on the NBC daytime series, where he portrayed the character Julian Crane for eight years. He joined the soap opera when it premiered in 1999. His character was the heir of the wealthy Crane family and had villainous arcs throughout his tenure.

The actor received praise for his role on the show. He received three best-supporting actor nominations from Soap Opera Digest in 2001, 2003 and 2005.

The Spy Game actor stayed on Passions until 2008, when the series came to an end and was canceled by NBC after being on the air for nearly a decade. The actor did not take another on-screen role after Passions, which also starred Lindsay Hartley, McKenzie Westmore, Galen Gering and Juliet Mills, wrapped.

The Oregon native got his start in theater after earning a degree at the University of Oregon. He later moved to New York City to perform in an array of on- and off-Broadway productions. His credits include Captain Brassbound’s Conversion, The Cherry Orchard — alongside Meryl Streep — and The Boys in the Band.

In the 70s and 80s, he started his television and film career. Masters appeared in several movies, including Bob Fosse’s All That Jazz, Mandingo, Dream Lover and more. He also had guest roles in TV series like Kojak, Touched by an Angel, Murder She Wrote, Walker: Texas Ranger and more.

Masters is survived by his sister Cheryl Lerner and two nieces Hannah and Clea Lerner. There will not be a memorial service or funeral per the late actor’s request, according to Deadline.