Thursday, July 19, 2012

50 Greatest Soap Couples: #32 Mason & Julia From SANTA BARBARA

COUPLE: Mason Capwell & Julia Wainwright
RANK: 32
Mason: Lane Davies, Terry Lester, Gordon Thomson
Julia: Nancy Lee Grahn
YEARS: 1986-1993

Julia came to Santa Barbara to help her blind sister, Augusta (Louise Sorel).  When she met Mason he mistook her for a prostitute.  Both Mason and Julia were unlucky in love so Julia decided to have a baby asking Mason to be the father.  Mason agreed and during the process of making that happen they eventually fell in love (although neither would admit it).  Julia did become pregnant, and Mason proposed to Tori (Kristen Meadows).   Julia and Mason, both sharp-minded lawyers who fought as well as they made love, eventually admitted their feelings and came together.

Complications would persist including Mason's amnesia thinking he was Sonny Sprocket (featuring an appearance by Brian Frons as God), but Mason and Julia were finally married.  Life was never easy and other lovers would come, Mason would turn to the bottle and Dash (Tim Gibbs) would force himself on Julia.  But as the show went off the air in 1993, Mason and Julia were together and happy.

Mason and Julia were smart, sexy and funny, a combination that helped the popularity of SANTA BARBARA grow, including internationally, although the show never achieved the type of ratings success it deserved.  The actors received seven Soap Opera Digest Award nominations during the show's run including as Outstanding Super Couple: Daytime in 1991.  The couple worked so well together it survived a recasting in the middle of an episode (from Lester to Thompson)!

When Davies was asked by Daytime TV to describe Mason and Julia's relationship he said, "Love-hate in a nut shell.  They're just really different. They view the world differently and are psychologically different. He's much more practical; she's more emotional. He's rational, whereas she tends to be irrational."

Grahn won her first Emmy in 1989 for the role of Julia.  She finally won a second Emmy last month for her role as Alexis in GENERAL HOSPITAL, which she has played since 1996.

Davies and Grahn were reunited on GENERAL HOSPITAL for a time.  Davies currently stars as Mackenzie Johnson in the Emmy-nominated indie soap THE BAY.

Thompson will be starring in the upcoming season of indie soap DEVANITY.

Lester, who had previously starred in THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS and moved on to AS THE WORLD TURNS next, died in 2003 at age 53.

From Patrick Erwin (A THOUSAND OTHER WORLDS): This couple worked with all three actors playing Mason, but it was at its most flammable during Lane Davies’ tenure as Mason. He and Nancy Lee Grahn were ice and fire on screen, and every scene they were in was compelling. A side note: It was phenomenal to see a woman like Julia on our screens – beautiful and with her intelligence seldom, if ever, compromised for the sake of a man.

Mason meets Julia and thinks she's a prostitute (1985)
Mason & Julia's Weddings
Mason is drunk and wants so small Julia's hair (1988)
Mason recast in the middle of an episode!

Share your thoughts on Mason and Julia in our Comments section below or on our message board.

- 50 Greatest Soap Opera Actors: The Complete List
- 50 Greatest Soap Opera Actresses: The Complete List
- THE COMPLETE LIST: 25 Biggest Blunders In Daytime Soap Opera History


  1. These two were a lot of fun to watch with great chemistry.

  2. Julia and Mason should have been much higher than 32 on the list!! This couple when through way too much for them to only be 32. Sigh...

  3. Thank you for including. They were my third favorite SB couple after Cruz/Eden and Keith/Gina.

  4. They are my all-time favorite SOAP couple. The witty banter these two had was amazingly clever, fantastic writing, great dialogues and sizzling chemistry.

    Especially during the Grahn-Davies years, those were the best !

    To this day I go back to YouTube and re-watch their scenes.

  5. Julia and Mason should have been much higher than 32 on the list.....

  6. They were great fun! I remember the episode with the recast vividly. I loved Terry Lester. He died way too young. Maybe I can drop a hint to Gregori.

  7. I use to love Santa Barbara and loved Mason and Julia!

  8. For my money Mason & Julia as great couple in the history of soap opera's # 1 in my book!!!

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  10. I love Mason and Julia! They are in the top 5 if you ask me! I love Cruz and Eden too but I think that they should have been switched on this list. Mason and Julia were just incredible. Nancy Lee Grahn made it work with three different Masons. All of them were awesome.