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Guiding Light Characters
Benjamin "Ben" Louie Stoddard Reade
- Gregory Burke (November 29, 1989 to 1996)
Brian McElroy (1991)
- Matthew Bomer (November 19, 2001 to July 31, 2003)
Former employee at the Garden of Eden escort
Former employee at Spaulding Enterprises
Former teaching assistant
Ben was born in May, 1986, which was revised to 1980 when he turned nine in
1989. The biological son of Kyle Sampson and the late Maeve Stoddard, Ben
was raised by his adopted father, Fletcher Reade, who had married Maeve in
July 1988, shortly before she perished in a helicopter crash. As Ben
Fletcher, Ben grew up to be a confidant, uncomplicated young man spending
many happy times with his best friends, Michelle Bauer and Bill Lewis. After
Fletcher and his new wife had a baby born with Down's Syndrome, Ben felt he
was in the way and asked to go to boarding school.
When he returned in 2001 with his mother's inheritance, he immediately tried
to bed the virginal Marah; then he fell in love with Marina. Soon he lost
his fortune but still spent lavishly. In need of employment, Ben became the
escort of Ramona Hendon, who blackmailed him into staying with her. After
Eden refused to help him, on the night of Marina’s 18th birthday, Ben went
to confront Ramona, only to find her dead. The prime suspect in Ramona’s
murder, Ben lost Marina that same night when she discovered the truth.
Without Marina, Ben sunk into despair and soon became one of the prime
suspects in a series of murders involving people connected to Eden's escort
service. The case against Ben looked grim when a young woman went to the
District Attorney, Jeffrey O'Neill, with the fear that Ben had killed her
high school friend, Bridgit Waters, two years earlier.
More and more obsessed with Marina, Ben confronted her at her prom, where he
clearly became unhinged in front of Marina's father, Frank. Later, he
confronted her again at the Bauer Barbecue before being thrown out by Frank.
Though Marina softened toward Ben after he was attacked at the barbecue by
Ramona's husband, her anger returned when she realized Ben was using his
vulnerable position to manipulate her. Though he ended up being cleared of
Ramona's death, since it was discovered that her husband killed her, the
police were still looking into the other murders.
Finally, in late July, Ben learned that he'd received a $1 million
inheritance from his late grandmother, Julia Stoddard, and so he thought he
could use it to win back Marina. He tracked her to the Bauer cabin, where he
found her with Shayne. Upset, he kidnapped her. Ben told Marina that
everything would be back to the way it was as he took her to a secluded
cabin. Unbalanced, Ben told her that her first time should be special.
Suspecting something horrible in his past, Marina asked if his wasn't. Ben
told her his story about being a good boy and volunteering to go to boarding
school, only to be molested by a teacher and feeling ashamed because of it.
Promising to make it different for her, Ben tried seducing Marina, who told
him she didn't want to make love. When Shayne burst in to save Marina, Ben
attacked him. After Marina tried to stop him with a hatchet, Ben threatened
to kill Shayne by lethal injection. Though she tried to talk him down by
appealing to the intelligent, sensitive Ben she had known, he insisted that
that man was gone -- he was empty inside. When Frank burst in, Ben grabbed
Marina and threatened to kill her. Though Frank convinced him to let her go,
Ben stabbed himself with the needle in order to save her from him. Seeing
him near death, Marina went to him and told him to fight for his life.
Surprised that anyone would cry for him, Ben asked Marina to never forget
him, and then he lost consciousness.
At the hospital, Ben confessed to Jeffrey that he killed Bridget Waters
after she laughed at him for refusing to sleep with her. Then, after Coroner
Jed Simmons found her body, he killed Jed to cover his crimes.
Unfortunately, Jed had told a female escort, Renee, about his find, and she,
after figuring out Ben was connected to it, blackmailed him and told her
roommate Arianna. His awful story finally out, Ben told Ross to give his
entire inheritance to Marina. After a visit from his oldest friends,
Michelle and Bill, as well as Blake and Holly, a tormented Ben Reade died on
July 31, 2003.
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