Nicholas Coster, a staple of soap operas who starred in All the President’s Men, Reds, Stir Crazy, as well as Another World, Santa Barbara, and All My Children, has died.
Along with performing on Broadway alongside Laurence Olivier and Liz Taylor, he also appeared in “All the President’s Men,” “Reds,” and “The Facts of Life.”
On Monday, Coster, 89, passed suddenly in a Florida hospital, according to a Facebook post from his daughter Dinneen Coster.
She wrote, “Please remember him as a fantastic artist. He excelled as an actress! He has always been an inspiration to me, and I am so grateful to have him as a parent.”
Coster is a well-known character actor who typically does harsh roles. He portrayed chief of detectives J.E. Carson on The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo before making a brief cameo as Blair Warner’s millionaire father on The Facts of Life, an episode of another 1980s NBC sitcom.
He regularly appeared on Broadway, and in 1961, he made his Broadway debut as Lawrence Olivier’s understudy in Becket, playing Henry II. Twenty years later, he appeared alongside Elizabeth Taylor in Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes.
In Alan J. Pakula’s 1976 novel All the President’s Men, Coster portrayed Markham, a defense attorney for the Watergate suspects. Along with these roles, he appeared in Sidney Poitier’s Stir Crazy (1980), Warren Beatty’s Reds (1981), and Joseph Sargent’s MacArthur (1977) as a dentist named Paul Trullinger.
From 1984 until 1988, Coster played the self-destructive Lionel Lockridge, husband to Louise Sorel’s Augusta Lockridge, on NBC’s Santa Barbara. He quit the show in 1988 after objecting to a plot in which his character faked his own death to obtain insurance money. However, he returned in 1990 and stayed until the show was cancelled in January 1993.
In addition, Coster portrayed Robert Delaney, the CEO of Delaney Brands who later became an architect, on NBC’s Somerset/Another World in 1970, 1972 to 1979, 1980, and 1989. He also portrayed the deranged kidnapper Steve Andrews on ABC’s All My Children from 1988 to 1989. Previously, he called Andrews “Susan Lucci’s terrorist lover.”
For his work as Lionel, he received Daytime Emmy nominations in 1986, 1988, 1991, and 1992. He ultimately won the award in 2017 for his portrayal of Mayor Jack Madison on the Amazon digital soap opera The Bay.
His serial work extends back to the 1960s and includes appearances on the ABC drama One Life to Live as well as the CBS dramas Young Doctor Malone, The Secret Storm, As the World Turns, and its primetime spinoff, Our Private World.
On We Love Soaps’ list of the 50 Greatest Soap Actors of All Time from 2010, Coster came in at number 44. It was the rare soap that wasn’t captivated by or with Nicolas Coster, according to one panelist, who also described him as “smart, charming, and very funny.” He also said, “He is always spot on as the grifter/con man/bad boy who is so cool, ice wouldn’t melt in his mouth.”
On December 3, 1933, Nicolas Dwynn Coster was born in London. His mother designed storefront windows, while his father wrote reviews of movies and plays. When Little Foxes visited London, he and Taylor, who went to the same prep school (Byron House), went back to their old playground.
At the age of 16, Coster returned to the United Kingdom after living in Canada and Los Angeles, where he attended Canoga Park High School. He studied acting there and received his degree in 1951.
After appearing in Titanic, The Desert Rats, and Sea of Lost Ships on film two years later, he moved to the United States to study with Lee Strasberg in New York and to play at the Arena Stage in Washington and the Guthrie Theater (where he was a founding member).
In a 2006 interview with the Orange County Register, Coster talked about working with the legendary Olivier on Becket. He remembered that Larry was very athletic even at the age of 54. “One night, he severely twisted his knee during the first act. I was watching from the wings as Olivier limped off stage and said, “Not tonight, Nicolas.
In 1964, after being hired for the project, Coster joined Jada Rowland on the set of The Secret Storm. He said that they “played the first professor and student to get naughty together” on daytime television. Before we had an affair and got married, the U.S. Senate used us as an example of immorality on daytime television.
He co-starred in Twigs on Broadway in the 1970s with Sada Thompson, who would go on to win a Tony Award, and also made appearances with Michele Lee in Seesaw and Tom Courtenay in Otherwise Engaged.
His filmography also included the William Conrad-directed 1965 movie My Blood Runs Cold, Larry Peerce’s The Sporting Club, Sydney Pollack’s The Electric Horseman, Little Darlings, and Alan Alda’s 1990 drama Betsy’s Wedding.
The Green Hornet, Charlie’s Angels, One Day at a Time, L.A. Law, Who’s the Boss?, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Cold Case are just a few of the TV shows and films in which Coster has made appearances.
He was able to continue teaching acting at the University of Georgia despite being engaged in an almost fatal vehicle accident in November 1987 that put him in a coma and temporarily caused him to lose his memory.
As a dedicated diver, Coster founded the Challenges Foundation in 1998 to provide disadvantaged and underprivileged kids with the opportunity to have fun in the ocean. He also began a sailing program for American servicemen who were returning from war. He published Another Whole Afternoon, his autobiography, in March 2021.
Among his survivors are his daughters Candice Jr. and Dinneen, who were born during his first marriage to dancer-actress Candace Hilligoss. He married the actress from Carnival of Souls in 1960, and they were married until their divorce in 1981. His son Ian passed away in 2016.