Santa Barbara causes a crisis !

 By Joan Mac Trevor, CinÚ TÚlÚ Revue, 1989

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Can Santa Barbara be imagined without Mason ? This so rich character, bewitching and sometimes mischievous, refined and impassioned, arrogant and touching, at the occasion... His interpreter, Lane Davies, decided this year that he would not take again the shooting of the show at the re-opening. He starts a turn of the world, wants to return to theater and to go back to music. But who will be able to succeed to Lane Davies, one of the superstars of Santa Barbara, and one of the idols of the televiewers ? To make his replacement accepted, the producers had surprised a lot : they have just debauched one of the stars of The Young and the Restless, a rival soap. A real crisis on American TV !

Finally, in September, the American televiewers will find again Mason in Santa Barbara, a new Mason, under the features of Terry Lester. Europe just discovers this tall fair actor, distinguished and charmer, in The Young and the Restless, the new soap-opera on TF1. In the United States, he plays (or rather, played) the role of Jack Abbott since nine years and his popularity is enormous. Among the thousands of American actors whose physical corresponded to the character of Mason, Terry Lester is the only one the producers of Santa Barbara had ever considered. If somebody can try to replace Lane Davies, it is him and nobody else. That seems to be also the opinion of Lane Davies himself. "The chance is sometimes ironic", smiles Terry Lester. "Lane is in Europe for the moment, and I do not know his opinion on the question. But, right here a month or two ago, he was playing Man of la Mancha in Los Angeles and I had news of him by a mutual friend. He needed a little rest and made me ask whether I could possibly replace him on stage ! That was right at the time when one started to speak about my coming in Santa Barbara. Amusing, isn't it ?!"

It was however not obvious that Terry Lester accepts the proposals of Santa Barbara. In America, the show is far for the moment to collect audiences comparable with those which make its success in Europe. The actor had thus to  leave The Young and the Restless for another soap-opera currently less popular. Why did he do it ? Because of a very spiced affair ! Indeed, in the United States, a character of The Young and the Restless does not cease taking importance : the one played by the daughter of the producer (In fact, Lauralee Bell). Disgusted by such operations, Terry Lester chose to snap the gate and to play with the enemy. "But I always have think about Mason that he was the greatest role of all the daytime soaps. And he is better appropriated to me than the one of Jack Abbott. He is probably closer to me. I am like him amateur of music and my private life was also animated (laughs)."

Terry Lester shares many common points with Mason Capwell, or Lane Davies : stuffed of various talents, with a great education, he has a lot of humour and is unforeseeable. As a child, he could read at three years old, play the piano at five. His father dreamed to make of him a new Mozart. At the University, in Indiana, in the Sixties, he militated in policy at the sides of the current governor of the State. When he engaged for Vietnam, his talent for languages made him sent in Washington. "I was still very young, practically a child. I was charged to learn Russian to soldiers. That is there that I played my first role in a movie, Airport 75 (starring Charlton Heston), which was shot in Washington. The same week when the movie came out, I was demobilized. As I wanted everything else than coming back in my native Indiana, I had a pretext to go to Hollywood. And I stayed there." Today, Terry Lester is 38. He did not become the little Mozart that dreamed his father, but he always plays the piano, composes and even sang on stage, as a soloist, with the Glendale Symphony Orchestra. The fair seducer is unmarried but, for several years, the woman of his dreams is named Linda Harrison. "She is a very good comedies writer !"