James Stenbeck

James Stenbeck

Infobox soap character
series = As the World Turns
color = #99CCCC
name = James Stenbeck
portrayer = Anthony Herrera

caption1 =
first = 1 February, 1980
last =
alias = Jimmy Aldrin
Lester Keyes
"The Falcon"
Marvin Jurrow
Salvatore Chavez
Mark Jennings
born = October 31
occupation = International Crime Lord
parents = Unnamed Man (father)
Greta Aldrin (mother)
siblings= Ariel Aldrin (sister)
Lars Stenbeck (brother, deceased)
spouse = Enid Constanza (dissolved)
Barbara Ryan (divorced; 1980-1982)
Karen Haines (divorced; 1982)
Lucinda Walsh (divorced; 1994)
Barbara Ryan (divorced; 2002)
romances = Lucinda Walsh (ex-lovers)
Unnamed Woman (David Allen's mother)
Unnamed Woman (Jordan's mother)
Margo Montgomery (ex-affair)
Dawn "Dee" Stewart (ex-affair)
Emily Stewart (ex-affair)
Samantha Markham Anderson (ex-affair)
children = Unnamed child (son, with Lucinda Walsh, deceased)
David Allen Stenbeck (son, with Unnamed woman, deceased)
Paul Ryan (son, with Barbara Ryan)
Jordon Sinclair (son, with Unnamed woman)
Unnamed child (son, with Emily Stewart, deceased)
grandchildren = Cabot Sinclair (grandson, via Jordon)
Jennifer Ryan (granddaughter, via Paul, deceased)
Unnamed child (grandson, via Paul, deceased)
Unnamed child (grandchild, via Paul)

James Stenbeck is a recurring villain of long standing on the CBS daytime drama "As the World Turns", portrayed by Anthony Herrera. A frequently shadowy and omnipotent force, Stenbeck's name has become synonymous with terror throughout the show's fictional town of Oakdale. However, rarely has anyone in the town felt the threat of his presence more keenly than his own family.

James & Barbara Ryan

Introduced in 1980 as a widower and controlling ex-lover of heroine Barbara Ryan (who was pregnant with his unborn child), he quickly staked his claim on his family and caused Barbara to break her engagement with Tom Hughes. James and Barbara married that as she gave birth to his son Paul Ryan. However the marriage turned out to be James only means to an end. His role as the first Stenbeck husband and father of his generation secured his place as the rightful heir to the family fortune, and he began pursuing other women outside of the marriage, which included his mistress Margo Montgomery and Dee Stewart. The Stenbeck family was very wealthy seeing as how they where heirs to the Swedish throne.

In addition to his adultery, James also dabbled in drugs and stolen goods smuggling, using Barbara's business Fashions Ltd. which he'd purchased for her as a front for his illegal activity. When Barbara found out about all this, the marriage was put at risk, though James managed to calm her down for a time, by having Margo sidelined and trying to be more of a husband to her, it soon became even more rocky when Barbara grew more disenchanted with James.

Barbara had an infatuation with new-commer Gunnar St. Clair, a Stenbeck cousin she had met at a family event. Eventually she told James she was leaving him for Gunnar, and James, desperate to maintain his hold on the Stenbeck inheritance through Paul, told her she'd never get custody of their son. James had a further setback when he discovered that he was not, in fact, the true Stenbeck heir when Greta Aldrin revealed she'd switched him at birth with the true Stenbeck heir, giving the Stenbeck heir to an orphanage. In fact, his rival Gunnar turned out to be the true heir to the family fortune. Though James sought to conceal the truth, his arch-nemesis John Dixon had also discovered the secret tape in which James admitted to his sister Ariel Aldrin he wasn't a Stenbeck.

The Stenbeck Fortune Pt. I.

James launched a series of ploys to keep Barbara and Gunnar (whom she was now engaged to due to her and James undergoing a divorce) from gaining custody of little Paul and learning he wasn't a true "Stenbeck". His ploys included trying to kill John Dixon by poisoning a jug of water so he wouldn't expose he was not a biological "Stenbeck", hiring a woman named Mme. Koster to pose as "Sylvia" Barbara's housekeeper in order to drive Barbara insane, and even tried to poison Gunnar numerous times to gain the sole fortune. When all else failed, James turned to attempting to murder Gunnar by throwing him from a catwalk, but Barbara saved Gunnar when she shot James, but her survived. He attempted to take Barbara to court for attempted murder in order to gain Paul.

James & Karen Haines

Karen Haines came into the mix when she discovered the truth about James via the tapes in John's safe. However, Barbara's court case for attempted murder went over as James planned and he gained Paul and Stenbeck fortune, but Karen in order to get her hands on some money, blackmailed James into marrying her in 1982. John however soon resurfaced alive and testified to Barbara's sanity (after Gunnar appealed the case with the D.A.), James not about to let Paul slip away, invited Barbara to a private bullfighting demonstration in which he planned to have her killed by having a bull trample her while she was in the ring. Gunnar rescued Barbara as James took off to a castle where he'd duel with Gunnar in a sword fight. Eventually James lost and soon was forced to relent custody of Paul and without the boy, their was no fortune. Karen angrily divorced James (who'd fallen in love with her) and she angrily turned to his arch-enemy in John Dixon, whom she'd later marry.

The Stenbeck Fortune Pt. II.

By 1983, two more characters entered into the Stenbeck saga, with the arrival of Burke Donovan and Nicole Berrysea. Nicole who'd had an affair with Gunnar a while back, but died left a son in which Burke raised name Dusty Donovan. When Ariel investigated Burke, she began to suspect Gunnar was actually Dusty's biological father. It was then that Ariel realized Dusty could be the true Stenbeck heir. Ariel talked James into hiring Burke as his horse trainer. James himself became intrigued by Burke's vendetta against Gunnar asked him about his wife, Burke sadly recalled the argument that led to her death. She had just told Burke she was leaving him for Gunnar. They struggled, and Nicole fell off the balcony to her death. James thought this incident was just the ammunition they needed to destroy their mutual rival and planned to use it accordingly. The plan was to make Gunnar believe he drove Nicole to suicide, thereby wreaking havoc in his marriage to Barbara. James hired a Nicole look-alike, Lorna Whitmore, to haunt Gunnar. As a result, Gunnar was plagued by further visits from "Nicole" until he finally captured the imposter in his camera lens. Gunnar and Barbara tracked Lorna down at the Hayloft and persuaded her to help them seek revenge on James.

Lorna tipped them off about "Nicole's" next meeting with him, and James was caught red-handed. Fearing that he was going to lose his visitation rights, James lured Paul away from camp and took him on a trip. When Barbara found out, she was frantic. In a hotel room in Cheyenne with James, Paul saw a news bulletin about his disappearance, and realized his father had lied to him. Barbara and Gunnar arrived in Cheyenne and traced James to the hotel, but all they found was Paul's teddy bear lying in the middle of an empty room. When they returned home, however, Paul was there to greet them. The ever-manipulative James claimed his son had asked him to take him out of camp, and once they saw the news and knew how worried everyone was, they had come home. Barbara had had it -- James would never see his son again. When Barbara and Gunnar tried to explain this to Paul, the boy blamed Gunnar for keeping him away from his father. Paul even stopped talking to them and Barbara and Gunnar were forced to have to take Paul to child psychiatrist, Zachary Stone. Never one to miss an opportunity, James tried to turn Paul against Barbara as well. Once Karen learned that James had kidnapped Paul from camp, she sided with Barbara and Gunnar and left James for good.

Meanwhile, Ariel informed a stunned James that Dusty, not Paul, was the true Stenbeck heir. Since Karen had custody (via Barbara being in a mental institution thanks court orders on her sanity), Ariel told him he had better get her back at once. However, Karen was already on her way to getting a quickie divorce.

In January 1984, James traced Karen and John (and Dusty) to the island of Hispanique and set out with Ariel to stop the divorce. By the time James and Ariel arrived, Karen and John were legally married. Ariel tried in vain to persuade Dusty to live with her. In search of an answer to Dusty's parentage, Gunnar hopped a plane to Hispanique as well. Now a series of events took place, where James became even more sinister.

James decided he'd kill at least, Gunnar, and if possible Dusty, so that Paul would be left as the sole Stenbeck heir. James hired man named Phillipe Keiko to concoct a poison from the fruit of the Manga tree. Keiko presented it to James and Keiko said it was fast acting, just what James wanted to hear. He then convinced a doubtful Ariel to attempt to seduce Gunnar. James further told her to take Gunnar out to one of the native huts on the island to attempt the seduction. He then gave Ariel a vial of Keiko's poison and convinced her that it was a love potion she could give Gunnar to make him fall in love with her. As Ariel took Gunnar out to the native hut with a picnic for them and the vial of poison, Dusty was able to convince both Karen and John that he'd be alright on his own and for them to go ahead and enjoy their honeymoon. James then had Mr. Keiko pose as another man named Mr. Phillipe who gave Dusty a fake note from Gunnar asking Dusty to come to the same native hut that Ariel was poisoning Gunnar in.

When Dusty arrived at the native hut, he saw Gunnar passed out and Ariel nowhere to be found. Dusty was disconcerted about Gunnar and stayed in the hut with him. James then proceeded to set fire to the native hut, stranding both Dusty and the passed out Gunnar in the burning hut. Luckily, Karen and John were able to save Dusty and Gunnar.

Later, they met up with Ariel who seemed contrite. Ariel told Gunnar, Dusty, Karen and John that James was missing and she feared he was going to leave the island of Hispanique and head back to Oakdale to try to kill Barbara. Because there were no commercial flights leaving the island that night, Gunnar and John arranged for a private cargo jet to take them home. On the plane, John confirmed Gunnar's suspicions that Dusty was his son. Little did they know, however, that James was at the controls. The plane lurched, and the cabin reached freezing temperatures, and one by one, the passengers (Dusty, Gunnar, John, Karen and Ariel) passed out, leaving James free to kill Gunnar. However, Gunnar came to, and in the struggle that ensued, Gunnar accidentally pushed James out of the open door that was meant for him. James seemingly fell to his death.

James VS. Paul

Everyone believed James to be dead for years, but he'd return very much alive years later after Gunnar St. Clair's tragic death, leaving Dusty the heir to the Stenbeck Fortune. Resurfacing in Oakdale, he explained to Barbara that he had a parachute. He was put on trial for his subsequent crimes with Barbara and John both pining for him to be put away. With the help of millionaire CEO of Walsh Enterprises, Lucinda Walsh, he was exonerated. Like Barbara, Lucinda was only a means to an end for him. Lucinda gave James as position at Walsh Enterprises, but he began to embezzle from the company in order to regain a fortune of his own. It didn't take long for authorities to go after him however. On the run again, James blackmailed his new mistress, Emily Stewart, into helping him escape and manipulated his now-teenage son Paul into keeping his where abouts secret. Unfortunately, he 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. The police were waiting for them. After a standoff in a cabin, James apparently died in fire, but since the body found was unrecognizable, there was still some doubt. As it turned out, James was very much alive and again 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 Stewart. Disgusted by the affair, he decided to murder Emily. Paul rescued the intended victim and believed that he shot his father dead.

James & Lucinda Walsh

But again, James defied death. Having previously replaced the loaded gun with blanks, James faked his death to avoid imprisonment. After hiding away for several years, he returned with news for Lucinda: they had a son together from a previous tryst. Though Lucinda was instantly suspicious, James convinced her that District Attorney David Allen was indeed their son. However, James was only telling half the truth. David wasn't Lucinda's son, but he was a Stenbeck. James then confronted David and told him the truth about who he was. Though he thought that David would use his influence to keep him out of jail, James was wrong and he was sent to prison. However, when James learned that David was in serious trouble, he escaped and headed back to Oakdale. When David was on the run after kidnapping Lily Snyder, James went to Lucinda's, desperate to get his son back alive. When David disappeared, Lucinda seduced James into marrying her. It didn’t take long for James to the truth: David was shot and (presumably) killed by Lucinda's son-in-law, Holden. Vengeful, James plotted to kill Holden only to have Lucinda get hurt instead. To avoid imprisonment, James ran off to a tropical island where he remained and months later served Lucinda with divorce papers.

Betrayed by Family

A few years later, James returned to Oakdale. A free man, thanks to a deal he made with the police, James, hearing that Barbara had been horribly burned in a fire, returned to Fairwinds and promised to take care of her and her business (BRO Cosmetics). James's way of taking care of Barbara was eliminating her enemies and so he arranged for the kidnapping of Carly Snyder, Emily Stewart and Rose D'Angelo all whom he grew a disliking of. Eventually, Barbara found out and betrayed James by turning him in for the crime, however, James, eventually, escaped by hypnotizing Hal Munson and forcing him to cooperate. Finally, Barbara agreed to run away with James in exchange for the girls' freedom after James lashed out at her. Touched, James agreed to release Carly and rewarded Barbara by marrying her that year and having her burnt face reconstructed. Unfortunately for James, Barbara betrayed him when she learned of his plot to kill Emily and stabbed him in the process. Though she thought she'd killed him, she was stunned when his body later disappeared.

Paul, however, was convinced that James's former lawyer, Marshall Travers, knew exactly where his father was and tried to force Jessica Griffin to find out. However, he was unsuccessful and when Marshall was made District Attorney he dropped all charges against James. Though a free man, James felt betrayed by his family and decided to ruin Paul by framing him for murder. Blackmailing Travers with knowledge of his daughter's whereabouts, James forced Travers to charge Paul with Brandy's murder. When Travers double-crossed James by telling the truth, James shot him and was sent to prison. Later, after suspecting that a presumed-dead Paul was still alive, James concocted an elaborate plot to lure Paul back to Oakdale by kidnapping Rose, the woman Paul loved. The plan fell apart quickly as James was forced to divorce Barbara and he fled into hiding vowing revenge on his family that betrayed him.

Cabot Sinclair

A few years later, the specter of James Stenbeck would rear its head with the arrival of a newcomer to Oakdale, Jordan Sinclair. As Jordan, an orphan since birth, was settling into his new job at BRO, he became friends with the wealthy Rosanna Cabot, who had an agenda of her own. After flirting with Jordan for months, Rosanna finally had to admit to Jordan that a mysterious person assured her that she'd get custody of her adopted son, Cabot, only if she married Jordan. Later, Jordan was shocked to learn that he was Cabot's real father, although he had no memory of who the mother was. At the same time, Rosanna wondered whether or not Jordan's job was a lucky break or something arranged by someone else. Although it was becoming apparent that some mysterious person was pulling the strings of Jordan's life, no one had any idea who or what his agenda was. However, all became clear when James secretly contacted Barbara.

Later, Paul and Barbara came to a sudden realization--Jordan could be James's son. Convinced that he was right, Paul confronted James; at the same time Jordan learned that James was the one who contacted Rosanna and went to confront him. With Paul convinced that that his theory was right and, with Jordan in the room, James was forced to confess the truth--he was Jordan's father. James proceeded to tell Jordan that he put him in an orphanage because he couldn't care for him, yet he made sure there was someone there to look after him. While Jordan was sickened by this revelation, others in Oakdale were very concerned that James could wind up inserting himself in his son and new grandson's life.

After it was revealed that James was Jordan's father, he was scheduled to go to a maximum security prison in California, but got Barbara to help him escape by threatening to harm Will, her youngest son. After escaping from the prison bus, James went back to Oakdale where he kidnapped Rosanna and Cabot and locked them in a cabin. Paul came to their rescue, but James had a time bomb set to go off and told Paul that there was only enough time to save one life. Paul took the keys to unlock Rosanna's door and James slipped away. Paul got Rosanna out and went back for Cabot, but the bomb went off. After telling Barbara that she was on her own for now, James left with a very much alive Cabot. Rosanna eventually forgave Paul and they married.

A few months later, James returned. At this time, Barbara was being sent to jail for drugging Emily in order to have Emily haunt Rosanna about Cabot's death. Barbara’s ultimate plan was for Will to move out of Paul and Rosanna’s and back with her. At this point, James revealed to Rosanna that Cabot was alive and well and told her that he would return Cabot to her if she got Barbara cleared. With Barbara's help, Rosanna convinced Emily and everyone else that she set up her own haunting. James gave Cabot back to Rosanna and revealed that he renamed Cabot "Little Jimmy.” James made it clear that he and Cabot were going far away where they would not be found and stated that Rosanna could join them or not. James wanted Paul tormented as a punishment. He declared that neither Paul nor Jordan was worthy to carry on the Stenbeck name, so Cabot was going to have that honor. James told Rosanna that she could have Paul or Cabot, but not both. Rosanna chose Cabot over Paul and left Oakdale with James, but vowed that James would not get away with this.

Months later Craig Montgomery showed up in Bangkok and discovered that James was holding Rosanna and Cabot hostage. Meanwhile, Rosanna refused to marry James and James tried to kill her by throwing her out of a plane, but Craig managed to stop him. Thanks to Rosanna, James was arrested and taken to Bangkok prison. James warned Rosanna and Craig that he would return, because no prison in the world could hold him. James warned Rosanna that he would come back for Cabot. To prevent that, Rosanna gave Cabot back up for adoption with a new identity. James left Oakdale in his quest for Cabot, but he always poses a threat to the family that betrayed him.

Final Showdown

James Stenbeck returned to Oakdale on August 27, 2008 much to the surprise of his family. Around that time, Barbara's money (the Stenbeck fortune) had went missing and he was being blamed. After Paul found out it was James who'd taken the money, James kidnapped Meg Snyder (Paul's pregnant wife) and through her into a holding dungeon on an island. James wanted Meg and Paul's unborn child as the new Stenbeck heir, but in the dungeon Meg discovered a presumed dead Dusty Donovan very much alive! Dusty admitted he'd faked his death around the time he was captured by James. Together, Meg and Dusty tried to hatch an escape attempt, but it failed when Dusty was caught. Meg got to Paul who eventually returned to the island to save Dusty. Meg however was recaptured by James as James begin manipulating Paul making him believe Dusty and Meg where having an affair. Paul struggling to free himself of James manipulative ways got into a squabble with him on a cliff while trying to rescue Meg and Dusty, that resulted in James taking a tumble to his alleged "death". Afterwhich, Paul, Meg, and Dusty returned to Oakdale surprising all who believed Dusty to be dead. Lucinda reveiled she'd known about Dusty faking his death, but didn't know James had kidnapped him. Later after James was said to be cremated a mysterious tape arrived with the last will and testimant of James Stenbeck. On the tape, Paul believed he was to inherit the Stenbeck fortune, but James made it clear their would be a winner and a loser to set the stage for the final showdown, Dusty was cited as the winner having escaped his lockup and Paul the loser. Dusty inherited the Stenbeck fortune, much to Paul's dismay. Around that time, James had began haunting Paul.

The Stenbeck Fortune

* Barbara Ryan
* Gunnar St. Clair
* James Stenbeck
* Cabot Sinclair
* David Allen Stenbeck
* Dusty Donovan (presently) [Citation
last = Soap Central
first =
title = Anthony Herrera returns
access-date = 2008-08-15

The Stenbeck Family Tree

* Unnamed Stenbeck (deceased)
** m. Unnamed Stenbeck [dissolved] (deceased)
*** c. Lars Stenbeck (deceased)
**** m. Ingrid Stenbeck [dissolved] (deceased)
*** c. Gunnar St. Clair {switched with James Stenbeck/biological Stenbeck} (deceased)
**** a. Nicole Berrysea (deceased)
***** c. Dustin "Dusty" Donovan
****** m. Jennifer Munson [dissolved] (deceased)
******* c. John "Johnny" Donovan {adopted}
**** m. Barbara Ryan [dissolved]
*** c. James Stenbeck {swiched with Gunnar St. Clair}
**** a. Unnamed woman
***** c. David Allen Stenbeck (deceased)
**** m. Enid Costanza [dissolved] (deceased)
**** m. Barbara Ryan [divorced; first time]
***** c. Paul Ryan
****** m. Rosanna Cabot [divorced; first time]
****** m. Emily Stewart [divorced]
******* c. Jennifer Ryan (deceased)
****** m. Rosanna Cabot [divorced; second time]
****** a. Margaret "Meg" Snyder
******* c. Unnamed child (deceased)
****** m. Margaret "Meg" Snyder
******* c. Unnamed child {currently expecting}
**** m. Karen Haines [divorced]
**** a. Unnamed woman (deceased)
***** c. Jordon Sinclair
****** a. Unnamed woman
******* c. Cabot Sinclair
**** a. Emily Stewart
***** c. Unnamed child (deceased)
**** m. Lucinda Walsh [divorced]
**** m. Barbara Ryan [divorced; second time]

- It should be noted James is not a biological Stenbeck and that Dusty Donovan remains the sole heir to the Stenbeck fortune.- It should be also noted that Ariel Aldrin is not included due to the fact that, Ariel is James sister via his biological mother Greta Aldrin.


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