Tony grew up in Salem as an only child. Tony's mother, whom Alice Horton once described fondly as a “gentle lady,” passed away when he was fourteen years old. That left Tony to be raised by his father, Craig, an airline pilot. His father made the best of a bad situation and formed a close bond with his son. He also relied on the courtesy of neighbors, such as Alice, to give Tony an occasional female perspective.
By the fall of 1965 Tony’s future seemed bright. He was graduate student on a short list to obtain one of Harvard University’s teaching fellowships and engaged to his sweetheart, Marie Horton. He was deeply in love with her and she full-heartedly returned his feelings. Along with Alice, who was an over-eager mother of the bride at times, they began planning their Thanksgiving wedding and subsequent relocation to Boston.
As wedding plans continued to be made, Tony began having dizzy spells, but kept them hidden from his loved ones. When his condition worsened, he finally saw a doctor and was diagnosed with a potentially fatal blood disease. Tony was distraught and, in a panic, he made a hasty decision. The night before the ceremony, he called off the wedding and left Salem. In his fragile, mixed-up state, he decided it was better to leave Marie than let her watch him suffer and die. What Tony didn’t realize is how deeply Marie’s love for him ran. When he left, she fell into a deep depression and tried to commit suicide.
When Tony returned to Salem in 1966 things had drastically changed. Not only was his health improving, but his father was married to Marie. As it turned out, Craig was there to support her when Tony left. Craig had pulled Marie out of her depression and they wed soon afterwards. Tony was shocked, but never told them about his illness. Instead, he moved home to rebuild his relationship with his father and new stepmother, who he was still deeply in love with. He also received the news that his illness had gone into remission and obtained a clean bill of health.
A short time later, the tension of the three of them living under the same roof proved too much to handle. Tony moved out of the Merritt house and into an apartment building. There he met Laura Spencer. They dated briefly, but it was clear Tony’s heart still belonged to Marie. His father noticed this too and, when Tony finally told him the reason he abruptly called off the wedding, Craig made the decision to step aside to let the two people he loved the most find their way back to one another. He divorced Marie and left Salem shortly afterwards.
Throughout 1967, Tony and Marie tried rebuild their relationship. However, she had grown from her eye-opening life experiences. Not only had Tony broken her heart, but she had also suffered a miscarriage while wed to Craig which sent her into another deep depression she narrowly escaped from. She was not the same naďve woman as before and Tony sensed the changes.
His relationship with the Horton family had also changed. Bill disliked him for what he had done to his sister as well as the time he spent with Laura, whom he was dating, and Alice who once his biggest supporter, had grown skeptical of him. She warned Tony that Marie would not survive another heart break and made it clear she could not forget what he put her daughter through. Marie couldn’t forget, either. With the trust gone, Tony and Marie ended their relationship. He left Salem later that year never to be heard from again.