Nancy Lee Grahn
|Nancy Lee Grahn|
Grahn in 2010.
|Born||(1956-04-28) April 28, 1956
Skokie, Illinois, United States
Nancy Lee Grahn (born April 28, 1956) is an American actress known primarily for her work in daytime soap operas, portraying Julia Wainwright Capwell on Santa Barbara from 1985–93 and Alexis Davis on General Hospital since 1996.
Early life and career
Grahn was born in Skokie, Illinois, to a Jewish mother and a Lutheran father. Her parents were both involved with their local community theater in Skokie. Grahn’s first stage appearance was as a pony in a community production of Oklahoma!  At Niles North High School, she played “Daisy Mae” opposite future Broadway actor Gregg Edelman in the school’s production of Lil’ Abner. As a freshman at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Grahn landed her first credited role, as Mimi in Guys and Dolls at the Goodman Rep Theater, 1973–74 season.
Grahn subsequently went to New York City, where she studied acting with noted drama teachers Sandy Meisner and Bill Epsen. Here she had roles in productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Barefoot in the Park. She also appeared in commercials and several industrial films; in an interview, Grahn recalled crossing paths with fellow future soap star Kim Zimmer at the production of several of those films. She also continued to perform in numerous plays, such as Father’s Day and Two for the Seesaw, among others.
Grahn has made a number of appearances in episodic prime time television, including Little House on the Prairie, Murder, She Wrote, Magnum, P.I., Diagnosis: Murder, Perry Mason, The Incredible Hulk, Knight Rider and Babylon 5. She has also been seen in the recurring role of Denise Fielding on Melrose Place, as Connie Dahlgren on Murder One, and as Principal Russell on 7th Heaven.
Grahn also has had several roles on daytime dramas. Her first television role was as Beverly Wilkes, Marco Dane‘s secretary on ABC’s One Life to Live from 1980 to 1982. In 1985, she was cast as headstrong lawyer Julia Wainwright Capwell, on the now-defunct soap opera Santa Barbara. Julia was a departure from the traditional “damsel in distress” or vixen roles; she was an intelligent, uncompromising woman. Julia was paired with Mason Capwell, and the two had a Tracy/Hepburn-esque romance. Offscreen, Grahn was briefly involved with Mason’s portrayer, actor Lane Davies; conflict over their storylines eventually led to Davies’ departure from the series. Grahn’s performance garnered her a Daytime Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1989, an award which she shares with All My Children actress Debbi Morgan. She portrayed the role of Julia until the show’s cancellation in 1993.
In 1996, she was cast as Alexis Davis, another headstrong lawyer, on General Hospital. She was nominated for several additional Daytime Emmys, winning in the Outstanding Supporting Actress category in 2012. In July 2010, Grahn re-signed with General Hospital for another four years on the show.
A liberal, Grahn is outspoken in political matters. In 2000, she organized a television conference for fellow Democratic daytime stars titled “Daytime for Gore/Lieberman“. The event was held at the home of Gary Tomlin, director of NBC‘s Passions, and in attendance were Sharon Davis, wife of California Governor Gray Davis, and Kristin Gore, daughter of Vice President Al Gore. During the 2008 presidential election, she hosted an online chat along with fellow daytime actors to discuss the election with fans.
Grahn is an active proponent of reproductive rights. She created “Daytime for Choice” in 1988, and discussed with the New York Times in 2007 her decision to have an abortion when she was in her 20s as well as her desire to see abortion depicted in a fair and unbiased light within film and television. Grahn is also a supporter of LGBT rights and has participated in the NOH8 Campaign.
|1985||Obsessed with a Married Woman”||Bianca|
|1985||Kids Don’t Tell||Puppet Lady|
|1985||Streets of Justice||Young Lawyer|
|1990||The Girl Who Came Between Them||Jann|
|1991||Perry Mason: The Case of the Glass Coffin||Kate Ford||Television film|
|1995||Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest||Amanda Porter|
|1980||Little House on the Prairie||Saloon Girl||Episode: “He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not: Part 2”|
|1980–82||One Life to Live||Beverly Wilkes||200 episodes|
|1982||The Incredible Hulk||Patty Knowlton||Episode: “A Minor Problem”|
|1982||Magnum, P.I.||Wendy Gilbert||Episode: “Try to Remember”|
|1982||Quincy, M.E.||Melanie Dumont||Episode: “For Love of Joshua”|
|1982||The Phoenix||Holly||Episode: “A Presence of Evil”|
|1982||Simon & Simon||Joan||Episode: “Mike & Pat”|
|1982||Knight Rider||Jane Adams||Episode: “Just My Bill”|
|1985-1986||Murder, She Wrote||Erin Carey||2 episodes|
|1986||Blacke’s Magic||Major Crawford||Episode: “Address Unknown”|
|1985–93||Santa Barbara||Julia Wainwright Capwell||722 episodes|
|1994||Babylon 5||Shaal Mayan||Episode: “The War Prayer“|
|1995||Models Inc.||Det. Towers||3 episodes|
|1995–96||Murder One||Connie Dahlgren||7 episodes|
|1996||Diagnosis: Murder||Terri Michaels||Episode: “Left-Handed Murder”|
|1996—||General Hospital||Alexis Davis||1040 episodes|
|1997||Melrose Place||Denise Fielding||7 episodes|
|1997–99||7th Heaven||Principal Russell||6 episodes|
|1997–2003||Port Charles||Alexis Davis||7 episodes|
|2013||Castle||Samantha Peterman||Episode: “Significant Others”|
Awards and nominations
|1989||Daytime Emmy Award||Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series||Santa Barbara||Won|||
|1991||Soap Opera Digest Award||Outstanding Super Couple: Daytime (shared with Gordon Thomson)||Santa Barbara||Nominated|
|1993||Soap Opera Digest Award||Hottest Female Star||Santa Barbara||Nominated|
|1993||Soap Opera Digest Award||Outstanding Lead Actress||Santa Barbara||Nominated|
|2000||Daytime Emmy Award||Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series||General Hospital||Nominated|||
|2000||Soap Opera Digest Award||Outstanding Supporting Actress||General Hospital||Won|||
|2001||Soap Opera Digest Award||Outstanding Supporting Actress||General Hospital||Won|||
|2003||Daytime Emmy Award||Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series||General Hospital||Nominated|||
|2003||Soap Opera Digest Award||Outstanding Supporting Actress||General Hospital||Won|||
|2004||Daytime Emmy Award||Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series||General Hospital||Nominated|||
|2005||Daytime Emmy Award||Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series||General Hospital||Nominated|||
|2005||Soap Opera Digest Award||Favorite New Couple (shared with Rick Hearst)||General Hospital||Nominated|
|2006||Daytime Emmy Award||Outstanding Special Class Special (Co-Host)||SOAPnet Reveals ABC Soap Secrets||Nominated|||
|2011||Daytime Emmy Award||Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series||General Hospital||Nominated|||
|2012||Daytime Emmy Award||Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series||General Hospital||Won|||
|2017||Daytime Emmy Award||Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series||General Hospital||Nominated|||