Famed TV and film stars Carole Cook and Ben Masters both passed away on same day

 January 14, 2023

Two famous American actors who both performed on Broadway before becoming Hollywood stars both passed away on Wednesday.

That includes Carole Cook, a protege of Lucille Ball, and Ben Masters, who starred in the "Passions" soap opera.

Carole Cook dead

CNN reported that Cook, according to her agent Robert Malcolm, passed away "peacefully" from heart failure at the age of 98.

The outlet noted that in addition to her acting fame, Cook was also a well-known and tireless advocate on behalf of charities that worked to help individuals afflicted with HIV/AIDS and to raise funds to help find and develop a cure for the disease.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Cook, who died in her Beverly Hills home just three days before her birthday, had been born and raised in Texas and performed in regional theaters until she moved to New York in 1954 to begin working on and off-Broadway.

It was while Cook was performing in a production in Ohio that she garnered the attention of Lucille Ball, who invited the otherwise unknown actress at that time to move out to Hollywood and join her Desilu Workshop of young would-be stars.

Per Cook's IMDb page, she would go on to star in 62 different films and TV shows between 1960 and 2018, which included starring roles in shows with her mentor Ball, such as "The Lucy Show" from 1963 to 1968 and "Here's Lucy" from 1969 to 1974, as well as single or repeat appearances in nearly 40 other TV series.

Her first films were 1963's and 1964's "Palm Springs Weekend" and "The Incredible Mr. Limpet," respectively, but she also appeared in hit movies like 1980's "American Gigolo" and 1984's "Sixteen Candles," among dozens of other films.

Ben Masters dead

Also passing away on Wednesday was actor Ben Masters, who died at the age of 75 in Palm Springs, California, according to TVLine.

Per a representative for Masters, he had been battling dementia for several years but ultimately succumbed to a COVID infection.

Deadline reported that Masters was most famous for what was actually his final role -- that of Julian Crane on the NBC soap opera "Passions" that aired from 1999 until 2008.

Born and raised in Oregon, and bearing a theater degree from the University of Oregon, Masters also launched his career in the entertainment industry in New York City in productions both on and off-Broadway, though he eventually worked his way across the country to work in Hollywood.

According to Masters' IMDB page, he was credited with 49 appearances in films and TV shows beginning in 1973 until "Passions" ended in 2008.

Deadline noted that Masters is survived by a sister and two nieces, and per his request, will be laid to rest quietly with no memorial service or funeral.

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