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Personal life and career
Grahn was born on April 28, 1956 in Skokie, Illinois. Both of her parents were involved in Skokie's community theater. As a result, Grahn performed in many plays in high school and into college. Grahn landed a role as Mimi in Guys and Dolls at the Goodman Rep Theater, 1973-1974 season. She also had another early stage role in a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream with the Dallas Theatre Center. After acting in plays, Grahn went to New York City to study with drama teacher Sandy Mesiner. While continuing to perform in numerous plays, Grahn also appeared in commercials and several industrial films.
Grahn has made a number of appearances in episodic prime time television including Little House on the Prairie; Moonlighting; Murder, She Wrote; Magnum, P.I.; Diagnosis: Murder; Perry Mason; The Incredible Hulk; Knight Rider and Babylon 5. She has also been seen in the recurring role of Denise Fielding on Melrose Place, as Connie Dahlgren on Murder One, and most recently as Principal Russell on 7th Heaven. Along with prime time, Grahn has appeared on numerous daytime dramas. She played Beverly Wilkes on ABC's One Life to Live from 1980 to 1982 and in 1985 she was cast as Julia Wainwright on NBC's Santa Barbara. She portrayed the role of Julia until the show's cancellation in 1993. In 1996, she was cast as Alexis Davis on ABC's General Hospital and she continues to play that role to this day.
In 2019, Grahn announced her engagement to guitarist and professor, Richard Smith.
Awards and nominations
- Daytime Emmys Winner, Outstanding Supporting Actress (1989, tied with Debbi Morgan; 2012)
- Daytime Emmys Nomination, Outstanding Lead Actress (2003, 2004, 2005)
- Daytime Emmys Nomination, Outstanding Supporting Actress (2000, 2011)
- Daytime Emmy Nomination, Outstanding Special Class Special for: SOAPnet Reveals ABC Soap Secrets (2006)
- Daytime Emmys Pre-Nomination, Outstanding Lead Actress (2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007)
- Soap Opera Digest Award Nominee, Outstanding Supercouple (1991)
- Soap Opera Digest Award Winner, Outstanding Supporting Actress (2000, 2001, 2003)
- Soap Opera Digest Award Nominee, Outstanding Lead Actress (1993)
- Soap Opera Digest Award Nominee, Hottest Female Star (1993)