«Sometimes he drives me crazy... but I love him anyway !»

 By Janet Di Lauro, Daytime TV, 1988

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Working without your favorite leading man can really be the pits ! Nancy Grahn can attest to that. On Santa Barbara her character, Julia Wainwright gave birth to a beautiful baby daughter named Samantha this past summer. Shortly afterwards, her little girl's daddy, Mason Capwell, disappeared. (Mason's vanishing act was due to actor Lane Davies' three month hiatus from the show.) So, poor Julia and Nancy were left all by their lonesome ! "I can't tell you how much I missed working with Lane," admits Nancy. "It was so lonely around the studio without him. Kristen Meadows (Victoria) and I were so used to hanging out with Lane in his dressing room. The three of us would sit around, watch TV, and tell jokes all day long. But all of a sudden it was just Kristen and me. The show kind of teamed us up, while Lane was gone."

And what an unlikely pairing that was ! Victoria, as devout Santa Barbara fans know, is Mason's wife. She and Mason have a baby, too. His name is Chip ! Only Mason isn't Chip's real father. Confused ? Don't be. It's actually quite simple. Julia and Victoria both love Mason. So, how on earth did such rivals for one man's affections ever become friends ? "It beats me," laughs Nancy. "But the writers wrote it and somehow it worked. It began when Julia defended Victoria, after she was accused of attempted murder. Soon, the two of them were close friends. Kristen and I used to joke about it all the time. I kept telling her that Julia and Victoria were going to fail in love, get married, and open up a day care center. Actually, I loved working with Kristen, but I'd rather have a leading man and a love story with a man. Besides, as much as I love Kristen, I prefer the chemistry between Lane and me."

That intense chemistry is what prompted the Santa Barbara writers to create a Mason/Julia love story. Originally, the show was bent on putting on Mason and Victoria together. "Lane and I just kept throwing in all this extra stuff, whenever we had a scene together. We'd make a big deal out of four little lines. There was a natural chemistry between us. Soon, we became very popular. Fans were attracted to us as a couple. Suddenly, Victoria, Mason, and Julia became a triangle." This "new" storyline is what prompted Nancy to re-sign with Santa Barbara this past April. "I was excited about my character and the direction my storyline was taking," admits Nancy. "Mason and Julia remind me a lot of Moonlighting's Dave and Maddie. They never get mushy with each other, because neither one of them wants to put their feelings on the line. Their relationship is fun, witty and spontaneous and the main reason I decided to stay with Santa Barbara. Lane and I really know how to push each other's buttons. We are attracted to one another, and we're great friends."

Last year Lane and Nancy were responsible for what might very well be Santa Barbara's most entertaining storyline ever. On the show the very liberated Julia decided she wanted to have a baby, despite the fact that she wasn't married. So, she struck a deal with Mason. Santa Barbara's resident playboy was more than willing to oblige her. "We had so much fun doing that storyline," recalls Nancy. "Those bed scenes were just hilarious. Everything was so matter of fact and strictly business, of course. Lane is such a riot anyway. He's so dry witted."

When the time came for her to actually give birth on the show, Nancy was more than ready to ditch the pillow she'd had strapped around her waist for nine long months. "I was starting to feel like that thing was actually part of me." And she was totally prepared to give her all to the scene. "I asked my friend, who's a doctor, a lot of questions," she explains. "And I learned a lot. I also talked to a lot of women who had babies. Some told me they basically had a grin-and-it-bear it attitude during their delivery. Other women told me to just go for it and scream. I decided to scream... it was more dramatic. That scene was one of the moments you look forward to as an actor. Lane and I were both very involved in it. And we were both choked up afterwards. I especially loved it when Mason saw Julia and Samantha together for the very first time. He told her "I hope our daughter grows up to be just like you." It was the first time the audience finally knew that Mason loved Julia."

After living through her single-motherhood storyline on Santa Barbara, Nancy admits she would be reluctant to ever attempt having a baby out of wedlock in real life - something she'd seriously considered a year ago ! "I know that I'm really not ready to have a baby yet and I'm definitely not the type to be a single parent. Julia handles things much better than I would. She has a strength that I don't. I'm afraid I'd lose it if I were ever in her situation. I'd want my baby's father there, if I were pregnant. Having a baby is a special thing that should be shared with someone. I hope I'm never faced with the choice Julia had to make. I do know that I don't want to go through my life without giving birth. I want to have a baby... a family, but I don't want to do it alone !"

Right now, Nancy's content with being an on-screen mom. She absolutely adores the little girl who plays her daughter, Samantha. "She's an absolute angel... a sweet baby," she smiles. "Motherhood's become so real to me through her. I don't ever have to act. It's amazing. I find myself very protective of her. I used to worry about her being under those hot studio lights all day, but she doesn't seem to mind a bit. Actually, we never use real babies on the set during rehearsals," explains Nancy. "We use a doll. We call it "stunt baby". This doll even has a real heartbeat. We do such naughty things to it especially Lane. He's not one to be too thrilled with domestic storylines, anyway. You wouldn't believe what he does to "stunt baby" when it stands in for Chip ! Since Chip isn't Mason's blood child, Lane's a little resentful of him. Lots of times during rehearsal he'll toss the doll to Kristen Meadows and say "Here's Chip ! Here's your son." Poor "stunt baby" goes flying through the air ! Lane always jokes around like that. Sometimes after a scene with me and our on-screen baby, he'll look at me and say "Our baby's so much cuter than Chip. Don't you think so ?".  Lane really is a very proud father."