Home Celebrity Anthony Herrera, Great Soap Villain, Passes Away

I didn’t want to let the death of Anthony Herrera go unmentioned in the regular entertainment press. (Soap actors get little love even though they are a guilty pleasure.) The terrific actor, 67, was best known for playing the consummate elegant villain, James Stenbeck on “As the World Turns.” He was with the show from the early 80s on and off until the soap’s finale last September. Stenbeck terrorized the citizens of Oakdale but mostly his ex wife Barbara (Colleen Zenk) and their son Paul with delicious infamy. Nothing could kill James–not even when he was shot dead or dropped from a helicopter did he actually die. “As the World Turns” fans loved it when James would turn up suddenly and surprise his ex with a nasty “Hello, Barbara” that rivaled Anthony Hopkins’ Hannibal Lecter. Herrera had as many lives as James Stenbeck. He was diagnosed with Mantle Cell lymhoma in 1997. He was treated, went into remission, and the fatal cancer reoccurred. He underwent a stem cell transplant that saved him, and wound up testifying in front of Congress about his experience. There were a few really memorable soap villains who propelled the Procter & Gamble soaps–Larry Bryggmann and the late Michael Zaslow were the other very good ones–but Anthony Herrera was probably the best. The tragedy is, this time he won’t be coming back. Rest in peace.

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6 replies to this post
  1. Was easily the very best villain daytime TV has ever known. In his early years before wicked cancer called and he fought it like he faught everyone on A.T.W.T., he would send chills down your spine. Such a natural.
    Good bye to his most famous of lines, “Hello Barbara”.

  2. I hope he is not really dead, but secretly living underground below Argentina.
    It would be the only way to preserve his life in his condition.
    His death is too hard to accept. I would never forget him since ATWT 1980.

  3. I loved the character of James Stenbeck. Anthony. Herrera was so talented and handsome. I am so proud that he represents a talent from the great state of Mssissippi and it makes me proud tto say he belongs to our community. Rest in peace.

  4. I am shocked and saddened by Mr. Herrera’s passing. Amazingly, my first thoughts were over Colleen Zenk; a testament to how well they played off of each other as husband and wife. As a adolescent, I watched in awe as the dashing James Stenbeck was breeze into Oakdale like a full force hurricane. I knew it was only a soap opera, but the character was a worthy of the big screen. Somehow, I know Anthony Herrara is somewhere over the horizon planning a huge Tennessee Williams revival with the Barrymores and Katherine Hepburn.

  5. Soap operas created a community among fans as we banded together to love and root for some characters (Luke & Laura, Bo & Hope, Roman & Marlena) and despise and fear others (Mrs. Chancellor, Viktor Kiriakis, every Evil Twin). Anthony Herrera’s James Stenbeck was among the best. Oh how he tortured poor Barbara and enjoyed every moment. And along the way we loved every minute of it as well. As we mourn the end of the soap era, it makes his passing all the sadder as we are saying goodbye to all our daytime heroes. Herrera was a classic.

  6. They don’t make villains like James Stenbeck anymore. Rest in peace, dear Mr. Herrera. You gave us many hours of juicy TV and we thank you.

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