Nancy Lee Grahn

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Nancy Lee Grahn
Nancy Lee Grahn.jpg
Grahn in 2010.
Born(1958-04-28) April 28, 1958 (age 55)
Skokie, Illinois, U.S.
Years active1980–present
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Nancy Lee Grahn
Nancy Lee Grahn.jpg
Grahn in 2010.
Born(1958-04-28) April 28, 1958 (age 55)
Skokie, Illinois, U.S.
Years active1980–present

Nancy Lee Grahn (born April 28, 1958[1][2]) is an American actress who has starred in such soap operas as Santa Barbara as Julia Wainwright Capwell from 1985 to 1993 and General Hospital as Alexis Davis since 1996.

Early life and career[edit]

Grahn was born in Skokie, Illinois.[3] 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! [3][4] 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.[3][5]

Grahn subsequently went to New York City, where she studied acting with noted drama teachers Sandy Meisner and Bill Epsen.[4] Here she had roles in productions of A Midsummer Night's Dream and Barefoot in the Park.[3] 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.[citation needed] She also continued to perform in numerous plays, such as Father's Day and Two for the Seesaw, among others.

Television roles[edit]

Grahn has made a number of appearances in episodic prime time television, including Little House on the Prairie, Moonlighting, Murder, She Wrote, Magnum, P.I., Diagnosis: Murder, Perry Mason, The Incredible Hulk, Knight Rider and Babylon 5 ("The War Prayer", 1994). 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,[3] 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.[citation needed] Grahn's performance garnered her a Daytime Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1989,[3] 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.[6][7] In July 2010, Grahn re-signed with General Hospital for another four years on the show.[8]

Political views[edit]

A liberal,[9] Grahn is outspoken in political matters. In 2000, she organized a television conference for fellow Democratic daytime stars titled "Daytime for Gore/Lieberman".[4] 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 Kristen Gore, daughter of Vice President Al Gore.[10] During the 2008 presidential election, she hosted an online chat along with fellow daytime actors to discuss the election with fans.[11]

Grahn is an active proponent of reproductive rights. She created "Daytime for Choice"[4] in 1988,[10] 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.[12] Grahn is also a supporter of LGBT rights and has participated in the NOH8 Campaign.[13]

Personal life[edit]

Grahn is a single mother to one daughter, Katherine Grace, born in 1998.[14] She is also involved in various charities.[3][4]


1980Little House on the PrairieSaloon GirlEpisode: "He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not: Part 2"
1980–82One Life to LiveBeverly Wilkes
1982The Incredible HulkPatty KnowltonEpisode: "A Minor Problem"
Magnum, P.I.Wendy GilbertEpisode: "Try to Remember"
Quincy, M.E.Melanie DumontEpisode: "For Love of Joshua"
The PhoenixHollyEpisode: "A Presence of Evil"
Simon & SimonJoanEpisode: "Mike & Pat"
Knight RiderJane AdamsEpisode: "Just My Bill"
1985Obsessed with a Married WomanBianca
Kids Don't TellPuppet Lady
Streets of JusticeYoung lawyer
Murder, She WroteErin CareyEpisode: "Tough Guys Don't Die"
1986Murder, She WroteSheila SaxonEpisode: "One Good Bid Deserves a Murder"
Blacke's MagicMajor CrawfordEpisode: "Address Unknown"
1990The Girl Who Came Between ThemJann
1991Perry Mason: The Case of the Glass CoffinKate Ford
1985–93Santa BarbaraJulia Wainwright Capwell
1994Babylon 5Shaal MayanEpisode: "The War Prayer"
1995Models Inc.Det. Towers3 episodes
Children of the Corn III: Urban HarvestAmanda Porter
RenegadeLizaEpisode: "Studs"
1995–96Murder OneConnie Dahlgren7 episodes
1996Diagnosis: MurderTerri MichaelsEpisode: "Left-Handed Murder"
1996—General HospitalAlexis Davis
1997Melrose PlaceDenise Fielding7 episodes
1997–997th HeavenPrincipal Russell6 episodes
1997–2003Port CharlesAlexis Davis
2013CastleSamantha Peterman

Awards and nominations[edit]

Daytime Emmy Awards
1989Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama SeriesSanta BarbaraWon (tied with Debbi Morgan)
2000General HospitalNominated
2003Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama SeriesNominated
2011Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama SeriesNominated

Grahn has also been nominated for another Daytime Emmy Award other for her role on General Hospital.

2006Outstanding Special ClassSOAPnet Reveals ABC Soap SecretsNominated
Soap Opera Digest Awards
1991Favorite Daytime Super CoupleSanta BarbaraNominated
1993Outstanding Lead ActressNominated
Hottest Female StarNominated
2000Outstanding Actress in a Supporting RoleGeneral HospitalWon

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Biography of Nancy Lee Grahn
  2. ^ Riggs, Thomas (1986). Contemporary theatre, film, and television 30. Gale Research. ISBN 0-7876-3189-2. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Nancy Lee Grahn 411". Soap Opera Digest. Retrieved November 11, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "Nancy Lee Grahn". ABC Medianet. Retrieved November 11, 2012. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ Moore, Frazier (2012-06-23). "Daytime Emmys 2012 Winners Revealed". Huffington Post. Retrieved August 31, 2012. 
  7. ^ Stanhope, Kate (2012-06-24). "General Hospital, Today Top Daytime Emmys". TV Guide. Retrieved September 8, 2012. 
  8. ^ Ciaccia, Maria (2012-07-06). "Nancy Lee Grahn Tweets About Her Contract". The New York Times. Retrieved September 15, 2012. 
  9. ^ Logan, Michael (2012-10-29). "General Hospital's Nancy Lee Grahn Lets it All Hang Out". TV Guide. Retrieved November 11, 2012. 
  10. ^ a b Calvo, Dana (2000-10-14). "Daytime Stars on Soapbox for Gore-Lieberman Ticket". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 11, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Nancy Lee Grahn & Friends Invite Fans to Talk Politics". TV Guide. 2008-09-30. Retrieved November 11, 2012. 
  12. ^ Navarro, Mireya (2007-06-10). "On Abortion, Hollywood Is No-Choice". New York Times. Retrieved June 25, 2013. 
  13. ^ Nancy Lee Grahn - Familiar Faces
  14. ^ "Dear Soaps, Who is the child playing...". TV Guide. 2004-11-11. Retrieved November 11, 2012. 

External links[edit]