Barbara Ryan

Barbara Ryan

"For the Alaska Airlines Flight 261 passenger, see that article"Infobox soap character
name = Barbara Ryan
series = As the World Turns
portrayer = Colleen Zenk Pinter
first = 1971
last =
cause =
creator =

caption1 = Colleen Zenk Pinter as Barbara at present

caption2 = Barbara played by Pinter in one of her first episodes, dated September 1978

caption3 =
nickname = Babs
alias =
gender = Female
born =
death =
age =
occupation = Fashion designer and owner of BRO
title = Ms
residence = "The Lakeview"
parents = Charles "Chuck" Ryan (father,deceased)
Jennifer Sullivan (mother, deceased)
siblings = Rick Ryan (brother)
Melinda Grey (maternal half-sister, deceased)
Frannie Hughes (maternal half-sister)
spouse = James Stenbeck
(1980-1983, divorced)
Gunner St. Clair
(1983-1984, dissolved)
Hal Munson
(deceased; 1988-1990, divorced)
Hal Munson
(deceased; 1992-1994, divorced)
John Dixon
(1995-1996, divorced)
Hal Munson
(deceased; 1999-2001, divorced)
Craig Montgomery
(2001-2002, divorced)
James Stenbeck
(2002, divorced)
romances = John Dixon
Steven Farrell
Tom Hughes
Brian McColl
Duncan McKechnie
Gavin Kruger
Darryl Crawford
Tonio Reyes
Evan Walsh IV
Walker Daniels
children = Paul Ryan (son, with James)
Jennifer Munson (daughter, with Darryl, adopted by Hal, deceased)
Will Munson (son, with Hal)
John Dixon Jr. (son, with John, deceased)
grandchildren = John "Johnny" Donovan (grandson, via Jennifer)
Jennifer Ryan (granddaughter, via Paul, deceased)
Hallie Munson (adopted granddaughter, via Will)
Unnamed child (grandson, via Paul, deceased)
grandparents =
aunts/uncles = Kim Sullivan Hughes
Bob Hughes
cousins = Sabrina Hughes
Andrew Dixon
Christopher Hughes II
relatives = Dr. Chris Hughes
color = #55AAAA

Barbara Ann Ryan (formerly, Stenbeck, St. Clair, Munson, Dixon, Munson, Montgomery and Stenbeck) is a fictional character on the American soap opera "As the World Turns". In the early 1970s, Barbara was played by a succession of actresses, but the actress most associated with the role is Colleen Zenk Pinter, who has played her since September 1 1978. Barbara Ryan is the daughter of Charles "Chuck" Ryan and Jennifer Sullivan, both deceased. Barbara is sister to Rick Ryan, Melinda Grey and Frances "Frannie" Hughes. Barbara is the mother of Paul Ryan, Jennifer Munson, William "Will" Munson and John "Johnny" Dixon Jr., both Jennifer and Johnny are deceased.

Barbara Ryan was introduced to the show when her mother, Jennifer Sullivan, married Bob Hughes. Unlike her brother Rick, Barbara expressed great approval of the marriage. She left for art school soon after, only to return six years later.

For much of the character's run, Barbara was a heroine who experienced many tragedies, mostly at the hands of her controlling ex-husband, James Stenbeck (Anthony Herrera). When writer Douglas Marland came on board at ATWT in 1985, he made Barbara a "bitch" of sorts, and had her break up a long standing couple (Tom and Margo). This proved to be unpopular, and Marland quickly reverted the character back to being "good" by pairing Barbara with Oakdale police detective (and later chief) Hal Munson (Benjamin Hendrickson).

First Introduction (1971-1972)

Barbara Ryan was first introduced to the Hughes family when her mother, Jennifer, married Bob Hughes. Barbara was very happy for her mother and liked having Bob for a stepfather. Though Barbara was a fairly uncomplicated teenager, her adult life is another story. After a long absence, Barbara returned to town, having just graduated from art school, fleeing a failed romance with Dr. Steven Farrell. Unable to live without her, Steven followed her to Oakdale and got a job in the cardiology department at Memorial. The couple rekindled their romance, but Steven had a secret past, one he could not share with the woman he loved. The year ended on a sad not when, on the night Nancy Hughes was to give an engagement party for the happy couple, Steven skipped town, leaving Barbara to nurse a broken heart.

James Stenbeck

She then began dating her former stepbrother Tom Hughes. At about this time, Barbara began receiving mysterious phone calls. Soon, she was forced to confess a deep, dark secret--three years earlier Barbara had an affair with the aristocratic, very rich James Stenbeck. Believing he did not want to raise the child, she gave Paul to her friend Claudia Colfax to raise. Unfortunately, Claudia's husband, Raymond, proved to be an abusive man and,with Tom's help, Barbara was able to secure custody of Paul. Just then, James came to Oakdale himself. Barbara resisted a romantic reunion with the dashing aristocrat and became engaged to Tom, but Stenbeck soon learned that he was Paul's father and confronted her on her wedding day. Barbara tearfully left Tom at the altar and ran off to the Caribbean with James and they made plans to marry. The Stenbeck fortune first became a problem for the couple when Charles Ivenstrom, whose daughter was pregnant by James' brother, tried to kill them so that his grandchild-to-be, rather than Paul, would inherit the money. Barbara was shot, but survived, and she and James married in her hospital room. Following Charles' arrest, James’s brother accused James of marrying Barbara so James would have access to Paul's inheritance. James assured Barbara that this was ridiculous. Unfortunately, for Barbara, the marriage proved disastrous. Seeing nothing wrong with having a wife and a mistress, James began an affair with Margo Montgomery, Barbara's private nurse. In addition, James decided to supplement his fortune by smuggling drugs and stolen jewelry through the fashion company he bought for Barbara. Finally, Barbara found out about the affair and the illegal activities. Though James was able to talk Barbara into giving their marriage a chance, it became clear that Barbara was becoming disenchanted. At the same time she suspected that James was having another affair, this time with Dee Stewart, Barbara started having bizarre visions of a previous life. The visions consisted of a woman who looked just like her, named Bianca, who resided in Paris with her husband Jason (who looked remarkably like James). Bianca would later learn Jason was carrying on an affair with the maid, Daphne (who looked like Dee Stewart). Later, Barbara's flashbacks started to have a mysterious blonde Englishman coming to Paris who, for some reason, was very angry with Jason. The mysterious blonde Englishman challenged Jason to a dual (with Jason getting the upper hand, at first). In the summer of 1982, Bianca (Barbara's doppelganger) learned this mysterious blonde Englishman's name, Geoffrey. Not long after, at the funeral of James's brother, Lars, Barbara was shocked to see a man who looked exactly like Geoffrey--Gunnar St. Clair. Gunnar surprised the Stenbecks by claiming to be James's cousin. He produced records from the St. Clair orphanage showing that Greta Aldrin, James's ex-nanny, brought him there after his parents died, because James's father didn't want him living in the same house. James ordered an investigation and was determined not let Gunnar claim any rights to the Stenbeck fortune.

Gunnar St.Clair

A little later, near the start of September 1982, the Stenbecks were surprised when Gunnar showed up at the penthouse. Electrified by his presence, Barbara mistakenly called him Geoffrey. Later, at Fashions, Gunnar saw Barbara holding a blue dress and suggested that she buy it. Later, she had a vision of Bianca wearing a similar dress for Geoffrey. Whenever she wore the blue dress, Barbara felt loved. Barbara was convinced these visions were premonitions of the end of her marriage, and she was afraid of her attraction to Gunnar. Barbara headed for her cabin in Michigan to get away. When Barbara got into her car at the cabin, a masked man put a gun to her head. Barbara's captors were Charles Ivenstrom, the man who had once ordered her death, and his daughter, Ingrid, the widow of James's younger brother, Lars. Ingrid blamed Barbara and James for her husband's death. Lars and James would have had to share the Stenbeck fortune, and Ingrid said Lars futilely begged James to keep him out of bankruptcy. Desperate, Lars got drunk and died in the hiking "accident." In revenge, Ingrid vowed to kill Barbara, and her father, Charles, was helping her get back the money that was rightfully hers. The kidnappers mistook Gunner for James, and demanded $2 million in cash for Barbara. They insisted Gunnar make the drop, but captured him as he approached. Alone in a dark cellar, on Halloween Eve, Gunnar and Barbara declared their love. They escaped and hid in a nearby barn. As they slept, a little girl wandered in and told her parents, who contracted the police. James arrived to find Gunnar and Barbara sleeping in each other's arms. Alone with Barbara, James accused her of having an affair with Gunnar, which she denied. Meanwhile, Gunnar found a painting of a woman who bore a striking resemblance to Barbara/Bianca and bought it, telling Barbara the picture meant they were destined to be together. Then he proposed. Soon after, Barbara overheard John Dixon yelling at Dee that Barbara was a fool to stay married to the man who ran him down and who was having an affair with Dee. Shocked, she told James she and Paul were moving out. James's attorney, Mr. Hoyt, warned James about losing control of the Stenbeck fortune. He begged Barbara to reconsider and warned that she and Gunnar would never get custody of Paul. Barbara ignored him and went to Switzerland with Gunnar, leaving Paul with her Aunt Kim and Kim's husband, Nick. Meanwhile, the intensity of the visions was becoming much, with people noticing how distracting she was becoming. Finally Lisa, her partner in Fashions, suggested that Barbara see a psychiatrist, Dr. Ben Forrest. Unfortunately, this suggestion fell right into James's plans for Barbara since he decided to use this as a means to get Barbara locked away so he'd get control of Fashions.

Later, he was found dead in Australia.

Brian McColl

Afterwards, Barbara next set her sights on newspaperman Brian McColl. Soon, the couple fell in love and made plans to marry. Unfortunately, Paul, was vehemently against the marriage and caused trouble. Continually argumentative, at one point, Paul hit Brian several times and when Brian raised his hand, instinctively, to hit back, Barbara walked in and railed into Brian. Disgusted at Barbara's tendency to let Paul dictate her life, Brian broke off the engagement. With Lisa's encouragement, Barbara tried to go to his place to take him back, only to find Shannon O'Hara in the room wearing Brian's bathrobe. From that moment, Barbara vowed to no longer be victimized by men. Soon a different Barbara Ryan emerged. Later, Barbara attempted to seduce Tom Hughes, now married to Margo (James's former mistress). Though her attempt was unsuccessful, she did put a cramp in the Hughes marriage after lying to Margo that she and Tom had made love. Since Tom had been drunk on the day in question, he had no idea if it was true or not. When Tom "confessed" to Margo, she left town for several months, leaving Barbara free to comfort a heartbroken Tom. At the same time, Barbara's jealousy caused her to be a thorn in Shannon's side when she decided to do some digging to get the dirt on Shannon. Her efforts paid off when she learned Shannon had a husband. Vindictively wanting to stop Shannon's wedding to Brian, Barbara located Shannon's husband, Duncan McKechnie, and brought him to Oakdale.

James'Resurection and marriage to Hal Munson

Soon after, Barbara got the shock of her life: James was alive! He apparently had survived the fall out of the airplane with the use of a parachute. After his initial appearance, James was able to evade the police for weeks. In the meantime, Barbara bonded with the detective in charge of the case, Hal Munson. Around Hal, Barbara finally started loosening up and enjoying the simple pleasures in life, such as a hockey game and a can of beer. Eventually, James was apprehended and put on trial. However, with the help of Lucinda Walsh, he was exonerated. Like Barbara, Lucinda was only a means to an end. While working at Walsh Enterprises, he started embezzling funds in order to regain his fortune. It didn't take long though for the authorities to go after him again for illegal business dealings in Europe. On the run again, James blackmailed his ex-lover Emily Stewart into helping him escape and manipulated Paul into keeping his whereabouts secret. However, James couldn't hide his dangerous nature from Paul for long and in order to spare John Dixon's life, Paul agreed to go with his father. Unfortunately for James, the police were waiting for them. After a standoff in a cabin at Ruxton Hills, James apparently died in fire, his body burned beyond recognition. Although there were a slew of suspects, Barbara would end up being arrested when her gun was found to be the one that killed James and Tonio Reyres reported that he saw her enter the house right before he heard gunshots. For her own part, Barbara had no memory of the night and couldn't defend herself. She was convicted of the crime and sent to jail. Luckily, she was exonerated when it was discovered that the body in the house wasn't James--it was his accomplice whom James must have murdered to fake his death. Her ordeal over, Barbara married Hal in an elegant ceremony at Lakewood Towers.

Soon after their marriage, Barbara figured out that Hal was Adam Hughes's biological father, since she knew Tom was out of town when Margo apparently conceived, and knew about Hal & Margo's affair. Fearing losing Hal to Margo, Barbara decided to keep this a secret from Hal. At the same time, a teenaged Paul was offered an internship at Montgomery & Associates, something Barbara wouldn't stand for since she didn’t want Paul working around James's older lover, Emily. However, at this point, Emily accidentally learned about Margo's true conception date and blackmailed Barbara into letting Paul work there--or she'd tell Hal the truth. In the end, Margo told Hal the truth. Shocked, Hal distanced himself from Barbara, as he tried to deal with the revelation. In the meantime, James resurfaced again and returned to Oakdale to retrieve his son. By now, James truly wanted Paul to be close to him and was disconcerted that Paul hated him. Lurking in the shadows, James learned of Paul's affair with Emily. Disgusted by the affair, he decided to murder Emily. However, this time, Paul rescued the intended victim and shot his father dead. During the course of the trial, Paul and Emily kept the truth to themselves, leaving Barbara to believe that Emily killed James. Afterwards, the pair told the truth and Paul left town.

Jennifer's Demise

A few years later, tragedy struck when Jennifer was stricken ill with pneumonia which proved fatal. Though devastated, Barbara was strong and faced her daughter's death with dignity. Tragedy struck again mere months later when Hal was killed in the line of duty. From that point on, Barbara focused her energies on her sons. To that end, she decided to grant Will and Gwen their fondest wish—a baby. Gwen had learned she was infertile and attempts at invitro fertilization were unsuccessful. At the same time, Gwen’s brother’s girlfriend, Sophie, was expecting a baby who Cole Norbeck wanted no part of. Barbara decided the perfect solution was for Gwen to adopt Sophie’s baby and arranged a deal with Gwen’s mother, Iris, to buy Sophie’s baby. Knowing there was no love lost between Gwen and her brother, Barbara kept the identity of the birth mother a secret. Unfortunately, Alison Stewart noted some similarities between the Munson’s adoption and Sophie’s and went to Barbara. Barbara lied that she would look into the matter and then tried to cover her tracks. Unfortunately, Alison Stewart did some digging around and discovered the truth. She went straight to Will and Gwen who confronted Barbara. Though she denied it at first, she was forced to admit to it but insisted that she acted out of love. Will disowned his mother. In the end, the Munsons did end up adopting Sophie’s baby whom they named Hallie Jennifer. Unfortunately, Will refused to let Barbara attend the christening. In fact, he didn’t want her to be in Hallie’s life at all.

2008 to present

At about this time, Lisa asked Barbara if she was all right because Lisa had noticed that Barbara seemed to be having difficulty speaking. At Lisa’s suggestion, Barbara consulted her doctor and was horrified to learn that she had oral cancer. Though her doctor told her to tell her family about her condition, Barbara decided to keep it to herself. At this point, Will and Gwen were contending with Sofie, who wanted Hallie back, while Paul had just been injured in a car explosion and Barbara did not want to be a burden on her sons. After weeks of going through radiation alone, Barbara’s secret was discovered by Sofie when Sofie overheard Barbara make an appointment for treatment. At Sofie’s insistence, Barbara, finally, told her family about her condition. Although, Will and Gwen were poised to reconsider their move out of Oakdale, Barbara refused to let them put their lives on hold for her. At this point, Paul invited Barbara to stay with him at Fairwinds. Sofie, who offered to take care of Barbara when Gwen and Will were gone and who had already befriended Paul, spent many hours at the mansion where Barbara discovered Sofie’s talent for jewelry design. Recognizing that Sofie had talent, Barbara and Paul decided to subsidize her new business venture. During this time, Paul and Sofie developed an attraction to each other and, one night, depressed about losing Meg, Paul slept with Sofie. Although both Barbara and Paul tried to tell Sofie that the fling meant nothing, the girl became obsessed with Paul. Worried about Sofie’s attraction to Paul, Barbara decided that Meg was the better choice and tried to convince Meg to reunite with Paul, and even hired Meg as her private nurse. As Paul and Meg got closer, Sofie’s obsession with Paul went to dangerous heights with her switching Barbara’s medication in an effort to get Meg into trouble. Though she almost died of an overdose, Barbara recovered and witnessed Paul’s proposal to Meg. Soon after being threatened by Barbara, Sofie mysteriously disappeared. Determined that her son be happy, Barbara led Paul and Meg to believe that her health was failing so they would get married ASAP. With only Barbara in attendance, Paul and Meg married near the rose garden at Fairwinds. That night, the police caught Paul transporting Sofie’s lifeless body and he was booked on murder charges. Meg insisted to Barbara that Paul was guilty and implied that he was covering up Barbara’s crime. Barbara denied murdering Sofie and, on her lawyer’s suggestion, enlisted Rick Decker’s help in proving Paul’s innocence. Rick reported that whoever killed Sofie was a professional in the use of needles—leading Barbara to suspect Meg. Not long after, Barbara was visited by Hallie’s father, Cole Norbeck, who informed her that he saw her murder Sofie. Since she had been taking pain medication, Barbara couldn’t dismiss Cole’s claim that she killed Sofie in a drug induced stupor. It soon became clear that the reason Cole wanted money was to support his drug habit. After blackmailing Barbara for money, Cole got desperate and ultimately kidnapped her for ransom. It soon became clear that Cole, s drug user, had killed Sofie. Luckily for Barbara, she got the upper hand and knocked Cole out with his own drugs. Cole escaped but was apprehended by the police.

James Stenbeck also returned to Oakdale in August 2008, and soon enough, Barbara had confronted him, learning he had stolen her money to get Paul to ask him for help and not her. Barbara then closed all of her accounts, liquifying the money and quarenteeing Paul that he would get the loan he asked for.


* John "Johnny" Donovan (grandson, via Jennifer)
* Jennifer Ryan (granddaughter, via Paul, deceased)
* Unnamed child (grandchild, via Will, deceased)
* Hallie Munson (adopted granddaughter, via Will)
* Unnamed child (grandson, via Paul, deceased)
* Unnamed child (grandchild, via Paul; currently expecting)

External links

* [ Barbara Ryan profile -]
* [ Barbara Ryan profile -]

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