Tuesday, October 17, 2006


As The World Turns viewers first met Dusty Donovan (Brian Bloom) in 1983. At the time, the thirteen year old boy thought he was the son of the late Nicole and of Burke Donovan, itinerant rodeo cowboy and periodic stablehand. Dusty adored his dad. But Burke was harboring a secret. Two of them actually.

1) Dusty was the biological son of Gunnar St. Clair, the true heir to the Stenbeck fortune (and, at the time, husband of yet-to-go-bad Barbara).

2) Burke was dying of an unnamed terminal disease.

John Dixon's ex-wife, Ariel, learned both of those facts, put two and two together and realized that Dusty was the true Stenbeck heir (not Paul) and that whoever had custody of Dusty once Burke died would also have custody of all that lovely, lovely money.

Ariel tried to get Burke to marry her (and quickly, since the unnamed terminal disease also appeared to be rather swift), but Dusty made it clear he didn't want her for a stepmother. He preferred Karen, James' wife.

Hating the way James treated Barbara over Paul, Karen left James and eventually fell in love with John. When Burke died, he left custody of Dusty to Karen -- who married John. Gunnar learned that Dusty was his son, but by then was suffering from a terminal, unnamed disease of his own, and allowed the boy to remain living with the Dixons.

Although John and Karen ended up divorcing (really, who can stay married to John for long; not even Lucinda, and she's made out of pure steel), John continued to care deeply for Dusty. He tried to mold the boy into his own (dream) image, imagining Harvard and then a successful medical career. Dusty felt strained by the pressure. Through it all, his salvation was his love for Lily.

Of course, Lily eventually fell for Holden (a stableboy -- just what Dusty would have probably become if he hadn't lost Burke and ended up raised by John; ironic, no?) and Dusty left town for college in 1988 (after taking Lily's virginity -- ha, Holden!).

When he returned to Oakdale almost fifteen years later (played by Grayson McCouch), there was no trace of the upstanding medical student John had hoped to turn his ward into. Dusty was a con-artist, involved with the mob, illegal gambling, and not above accepting money from Barbara to seduce Rose away from Paul.

The boy had so many parents... and yet not one apparently managed to raise him right.

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