Nicolas Coster, Actor on ‘Another World,’ ‘Santa Barbara’ and ‘All My Children,’ Dies at 89

He also worked with Laurence Olivier and Liz Taylor on Broadway and appeared in ‘All the President’s Men,’ ‘Reds’ and ‘The Facts of Life.’

Nicolas Coster, the soap opera stalwart who starred on Another World, Santa Barbara and All My Children and appeared in such films as All the President’s Men, Reds and Stir Crazy, has died. He was 89.

Coster died Monday in a hospital in Florida, his daughter Dinneen Coster announced on Facebook.

“Please remember him as a great artist,” she wrote. “He was an actor’s actor! I will always be inspired by him and know how lucky I am to have such a great father!!

A familiar character actor who often portrayed officious types, Coster played chief of detectives J.E. Carson on The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo and later recurred as the millionaire father of Lisa Whelchel’s Blair Warner on another 1980’s NBC sitcom, The Facts of Life.

He appeared often on Broadway, and in his 1961 debut, he understudied for Lawrence Olivier as Henry II in Becket. Two decades later, he starred alongside Elizabeth Taylor in Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes.

Coster portrayed Markham, an attorney for Watergate defendants, in Alan J. Pakula’s All the President’s Men (1976); a colonel in Joseph Sargent‘s MacArthur (1977); the dentist Paul Trullinger, husband of Diane Keaton’s character, in Warren Beatty’s Reds (1981); and the warden in Sidney Poitier’s Stir Crazy (1980).

On NBC’s Santa Barbara, Coster played the self-destructive Lionel Lockridge, married to Louise Sorel’s Augusta Lockridge, from 1984 through 1988, when he exited after objecting to a storyline about his character faking his death to collect insurance money. However, he returned in 1990 and stayed through the show’s cancellation in January 1993.

Coster also portrayed Robert Delaney, the head of Delaney Brands and later an architect, on NBC’s Somerset/Another World in 1970, 1972-79, ’80 and ’89 and schizophrenic kidnapper Steve Andrews — whom he once described as “Susan Lucci’s terrorist lover” — on ABC’s All My Children from 1988-89.

He received Daytime Emmy nominations for his performances as Lionel in 1986, ’88, ’91 and ’92, then finally won in 2017 for playing Mayor Jack Madison on The Bay, a digital soap available on Amazon.

His work in serials dated to the 1960s and included stints on ABC’s One Life to Live and CBS’ Young Doctor Malone, The Secret Storm, As the World Turns and its primetime spinoff, Our Private World.

In 2010, Coster, at No. 44, made We Love Soaps’ list of the 50 Greatest Soap Actors of all time. One panelist called him “smart, charming and very funny” and added, “He is always spot on as the grifter/con man/bad boy who is so cool, ice wouldn’t melt in his mouth ……it was the rare soap that wasn’t captivated by or with Nicolas Coster.”

Nicolas Dwynn Coster was born in London on Dec. 3, 1933. His father was a cinema and theater critic, and his mother decorated department-store windows. He and Taylor attended the same prep school, Byron House, and when Little Foxes came to London, they revisited their school playground together.

After spending time in Canada and Los Angeles — where he attended Canoga Park High School — Coster headed back to the U.K. at 16 and studied acting the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, graduating in 1951.

Two years later, he was on the big screen in Titanic, The Desert Rats and Sea of Lost Ships, then returned stateside to study with Lee Strasberg in New York and perform at the Arena Stage in Washington and the Guthrie Theater (as a founding member) in Minneapolis.

In a 2006 interview with the Orange County Register, Coster spoke about backing up the great Olivier in Becket. “Larry was very athletic, even at 54,” he recalled. “One night, he twisted his knee terribly during the first act. I was standing offstage watching and Olivier came limping off and looked at me and said, ‘Not tonight, Nicolas!’ ”

In 1964, Coster was hired for The Secret Storm, where he worked with Jada Rowland. “We played the first professor and student that ever got naughty together on daytime television,” he said. “We had an affair and eventually got married, but not before the U.S. Senate brought us up as an example of immorality on daytime television.”

On Broadway in the ’70s, he starred with eventual Tony winner Sada Thompson in Twigs and appeared with Michele Lee in the musical Seesaw and with Tom Courtenay in Otherwise Engaged.

His film résumé also included the William Conrad-directed My Blood Runs Cold (1965); The Sporting Club (1971), helmed by Larry Peerce; The Big Fix (1978); Sydney Pollack’s The Electric Horseman (1979); Little Darlings (1980); and Betsy’s Wedding (1990), directed by Alan Alda.

Plus, you saw Coster on television in everything from Naked City, The Green Hornet, Charlie’s Angels and One Day at a Time to L.A. Law, Who’s the Boss?, Star Trek: The Next Generation and Cold Case.

He taught acting at the University of Georgia and managed to keep working after a near-fatal car accident in November 1987 that put him in a coma and cost him his memory for some time.

An avid scuba diver, Coster in 1998 founded Challenges Foundation, which provides disabled and underprivileged youngsters an opportunity to have fun on the high seas. He also established a sailing program for returning U.S. soldiers.

He published a memoir, Another Whole Afternoon, in March 2021.

Survivors include his daughters, Candice Jr. and Dinneen, whom he had with his first wife, dancer-actress Candace Hilligoss. He and the Carnival of Souls star were married from 1960 until their 1981 divorce.

His son, Ian, died in 2016.