Santa Barbara was Leonardo DiCaprio's first big break on television. The soap opera aired from 1984 to 1993 on NBC, following the fate of four families in the coastal California city.

Over the years, many guest stars appeared on the soap — including today's Hollywood icon Leonardo DiCaprio. He first joined Santa Barbara in 1990. 

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Santa Barbara was one of Leonardo DiCaprio's first TV shows

Santa Barbara cast: Leonardo DiCaprio acted in 5 episodes

DiCaprio ended up appearing in five Santa Barbara episodes. He portrayed the young version of "Mason Capwell," a character played at other stages in life by Lane Davies, Terry Lester, and Gordon Thomson.  

The "Capwells" were one of the families involved in the show's unending drama. DiCaprio was only 16 years old at the time and in the early days of his acting career.

Leonardo DiCaprio's TV career started on Santa Barbara

In addition to Santa Barbara, DiCaprio acted in other late 1980s and early '90s TV shows, including The New Lassie and Growing Pains. Only after that did the now Oscar-winning actor enter the movie business.  

One of his first well-known roles was in Romeo + Juliet from 1996. A short time later, he had his big-screen breakthrough in Titanic — and his A-list career was sealed.

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Leonardo DiCaprio in Romeo + Juliet, an early movie role

Leonardo DiCaprio's career took off after Santa Barbara

Most may have forgotten DiCaprio's appearance on Santa Barbara, but the former "Mason" actor is now more successful than ever. He's one of today's most renowned Hollywood greats, and also works as a producer and environmental activist.  

The actor also makes headlines with his many girlfriends. In 2016, DiCaprio won his long-awaited Oscar for Best Actor in The Revenant, a well-deserved honour in his impressive career.

For more on the Santa Barbara cast, see them through the years here.