Anthony Herrera, best known for his role as James Stenbeck on the CBS soap opera As the World Turns, was born in Wiggins, Mississippi, on 19 January 1944 and was raised there by his maternal grandparents. After graduating from Wiggins High School receiving a bachelor’s degree in zoology and English literature from the University of Mississippi, Herrera moved to New York to study acting. He performed with the Will Geer Shakespeare Theater for five years before crossing over to television series and soap operas. After small roles on Search for Tomorrow and The Young and the Restless, Herrera began appearing in the mid-1970s as Mark Galloway on As the World Turns. In 1980 he took on the role of villain James Stenbeck on the show, and over the next twenty years he murdered, blackmailed, robbed, lied to, and cheated countless characters in the fictional town of Oakdale. The character was believed to have died at least five times, and Herrera appeared on other programs during those interludes, including a recurring role on Loving between 1985 and 1991.
In 1997 Herrera was diagnosed with mantle cell lymphoma. After various treatments failed, he received a pioneering stem cell transplant that induced a long-term remission. Herrera wrote about his recovery in his book, The Cancer Wars, and testified on Capitol Hill in 2005 about the benefits of stem cell research.
In addition to acting, Herrera tried his hand at screenwriting, directing, and producing. In 1984 he produced and directed Mississippi Delta Blues, a documentary on blues musician James “Son” Thomas. In 1987 he wrote and directed The Wide Net, an adaptation of a short story by Eudora Welty. He also coauthored Smoke and Mirrors (1991), a comedy-mystery play originally presented in twelve Mississippi cities. Herrera founded www.poetrytheatre.org, a website that “gives poetry to everyone to inspire, to enjoy and to learn” by offering video clips of actors and musicians reciting their favorite poems.
Herrera’s cancer subsequently returned, and he died on 21 June 2011 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. His survivors included his daughter, actress Gaby Hoffmann.
- Internet Movie Database website, www.imdb.com
- Soap Central website, www.soapcentral.com
- Poetry Theatre website, www.poetrytheatre.org