Stephen Yates (February 1976 to November 23, 1982)
Married/Eve Stapleton (23 Nov 82)
Eve Stapleton (Divorced) (m. May 78; div. 1979?)
Amanda Spaulding (Divorced) (Apr 80; div. 1981?)
Jerry McFarren (Brother)
Rita Stapleton (sister-in-law)
Viola Stapleton (mother-in-law)
Hope Bauer (engaged)
Diane Ballard(affair; deceased)
Amanda Wexler (affair)
Diane Ballard(dated; deceased)
Served a jail sentence for armed robbery [prior 1976]
Covered up his brother, Jerry's, crimes [prior 1976 & 1977]
Verbally attacked and threatened Alan Spaulding at Spaulding Enterprises [May 26, 1979]
Falsely accused Jerry of trying to murder him by electrocution, as well as breaking into the Bowden art gallery and slashing Ben's paintings [November 16, 1979]
In Chicago, falsely arrested for transporting a minor across state lines (Note: this was prior to placing Springfield in ILL) [August 1980]
Ex-con Ben McFarren came to Springfield with a huge chip on his shoulder. Years earlier, Ben went on trial for armed robbery and was found guilty. Ben, who never committed the crime, blamed his prison sentence on his lawyer—Mike Bauer. Now a free man, Ben mellowed with the help of Mike’s daughter, Hope and soon the pair fell in love. Unfortunately, Mike did not approve of Ben because of his criminal record and because he had painted a nude picture of Hope that she posed for. However, unbeknownst to Mike, Ben hadn't committed the robbery he went to prison for years earlier; he was covering for his brother, Jerry McFarren. Soon, Ben approached Mike's secretary, Ann Jeffers, about having Mike investigate the robbery of the deli in order to prove his innocence. Mike found out, in the course of his investigation, that Ben's fingerprints did not match the fingerprints of the actual robber and worked to get Ben exonerated of the robbery and his record expunged. Mike's opinion of Ben changed, for the better, when Ben told Mike, in private that he had covered for his younger brother, Jerry. Ben asked Mike not to try to go after Jerry and Mike agreed. Meanwhile, Jerry caught got up with owing some money to loan sharks to pay his gambling debts and also for keeping Roger Thorpe's "The Metro" afloat. When Roger ended up getting beaten up, Peggy asked Mike to investigate and Mike found out that Jerry had been responsible for all of this while Ben paid off Jerry's debt. Mike figured out what Ben had done and when Hope learned that a lot of the money that Ben and Hope had set aside for the future was missing, she went to Mike. Mike urged his daughter to calm down and not break things off with Ben, but Hope refused to listen to her father, and went ahead and confronted Ben. When Ben wasn't forthcoming about the missing money, that's when Hope broke things off with him.
In 1977, Ben found love again with sweet Eve Stapleton. The couple’s relationship flourished until one day, Eve saw Ben and Hope in an embrace. Not realizing it was just an innocent embrace; she ran off and fell, hitting her head. Immediately, after Ben explained the situation to Eve and the pair became engaged. Sadly, as a result of her head injury, Eve lost her eyesight and starting to push Ben away. However, to his credit, Ben stood by her despite all of her efforts. After Ben rescued Eve from the demented Georgene Granger, Ben and Eve married in a beautiful ceremony. Following their wedding, Eve underwent an operation to restore her eyesight. Soon after, the newlyweds rented a cottage owned by Lucille Wexler, a cold woman who lived with her sheltered daughter, Amanda. Amanda was a talented classical pianist whom Lucille sheltered and treated like a little girl. Amanda had been married to a handsome architect named Gordon Middleton, but she lost him on their wedding night because she couldn't bring herself to consummate the marriage. Lucille had filled Amanda's head with the thought that Gordon Middleton was a rapist! Amanda though was now beginning to blossom into a woman, thanks to artist Ben McFarren. Ben did a painting of Amanda that stirred such deep, frightening feelings in her that one stormy night she slashed it to shreds. Ben witnessed this scene and Amanda admitted to him that she couldn't shake the memory of being twelve years old and overhearing a man beating Lucille in her bedroom. The horrible episode ended with Lucille telling Amanda firmly that she must never trust a man. Lucille continued to nurture this fear throughout her daughter's life, to the extent that Amanda remained essentially a child, talking to dolls and avoiding intimate contact with men. With Ben's help, Amanda threw away her dolls and became her own person. A twisted woman, Lucille detested Ben and decided to make him and Eve her virtual slaves by burning down the art gallery where Ben was having a showing. Had the show been successful, Ben would have been able to send Eve to college so she could fulfill her dream of becoming a teacher. Now, that their hopes were dashed, Lucille came to the "rescue." She hired Eve to manage her real estate holdings and gave Ben household chores to perform at the mansion.
By March 1979, Ben, who was still helping with household chores at the Wexler Estate's main house, had also gotten a job at Spaulding Enterprises as a staff artist and he felt overworked. Eve was also overworked by the demanding and deranged Lucille. Since Amanda was obviously smitten with Ben, Lucille falsely insinuated to Eve that Ben and Amanda were sexually involved. Since Ben insisted on keeping their friendship strictly platonic, Amanda returned to her estranged husband, Gordon, and finally consummated their marriage. The next morning Amanda awoke and realized she'd made a mistake and divorced Gordon. In the meantime, Diane Ballard, Office Assistant at Spaulding Enterprises seduced Ben, In early May 1979, when Diane came to the Wexler estate to return Ben's wallet, Lucille overheard them discussing their night of passion and told a horrified Amanda! Ben admitted his indiscretion to Eve, who promptly filed for divorce and resigned from Wexler properties and went to live on her own,
Concerned that Ben was becoming too close to Amanda, Lucille began stalking and trying to kill him. First, one day while Ben was getting ready for a shower, Lucille walked into the cottage and without him noticing her, Lucille threw Ben's electric razor into the shower. When Ben turned on the shower he saw sparks fly and fortunately had the good sense and reflexes to get out of the way in time. Ben then wondered if Jerry was back to try to harm him. Then on Halloween night, Amanda threw a party in hopes that her new friendship with Carter Bowden, who had inherited his deceased father, Alex Bowden's art gallery, could help to revive Ben's career as a painter, which had been dormant since the fire the previous fall. Before the dinner, Lucille made the Wexler cook set aside a special plate to serve to Ben during the dinner. What the cook and no one else knew was that Lucille decided to lace Ben's food with arsenic and rat poisoning. Unfortunately the Wexler cook would serve that dinner plate to Carter Bowden. Fortunately for Carter, the conversation was so lively he didn't have time to eat. Unfortunately, for Ben, Lucille had another attempt to kill him in store. During the dinner, the night became very stormy with lightening all over. Suddenly, everyone heard a door creak open and everyone went to investigate. It turned out that Lucille had set up to have a door on the third floor of the Wexler estate's main house that led to a never built attic, blow open. Ben, the constant handy man, went to go try to close the door but instead ended up dangling from the door about to fall to the pavement, to his death. Fortunately for Ben, someone came along to save him--attorney Ross Marler. Before the end of the year, Lucille would try two more things in her attempt to keep Ben away from Amanda. When Carter was about to have the show for Ben's paintings, Lucille broke into the Bowden at gallery and slashed many of Ben's paintings with an exacto-knife all the time wearing gloves.
In the New Year of 1980, Ben would get renewed hope of reconciling with Eve, after Eve's disastrous end to her relationship with Dr. Greg Fairbanks. Insecure over the renewed bond between Ben and Eve, Amanda secretly paid Carter a princely sum to subsidize an art contract for Ben. Ross was handling Amanda's business affairs at the time and was quick to tell Lucille that Amanda was evasive about a sizable withdrawal of money from her account. Lucille rightly feared that the money was a loan for Ben, whom she continued to distrust and despise with a vengeance. Amanda continued to pursue Ben until he finally gave in to her romantic overtures. Ben was convinced that Amanda was now a strong woman with earthly desires, not the sheltered girl who retreated into a world of dolls. When Eve visited Ben at the Wexler cottage to ask him to consider reconciliation, it was too late -- Ben and Amanda had just married! Later, after rebuffing Vanessa Chamberlain's advances, Ben was shocked to learn that Amanda bankrolled his art contract! Ben, feeling emasculated, angrily confronted Amanda and later drove to Chicago to meet with Carter. Imagine Ben's surprise when he was arrested for transporting a minor. Eve, in Chicago visiting friends, bailed Ben out, and they became friends again, deciding to put the past behind them. When Ben and Eve returned to Springfield, a day later, they told Mike and Jennifer that the young minor in Ben's van was none other than Jennifer’s daughter, Morgan. In the meantime, Ben learned that Amanda was pregnant and decided to give her another chance. It now that a pregnant Amanda would receive a shock: she was the child of Alan Spaulding and Jennifer Richards! Shocked, Amanda lost the baby and tried to forge a relationship with her real parents.
Later, in 1981, Eve started receiving death threats. Though many suspected that the culprit was Amanda or Vanessa Chamberlain, the person behind it was actually Amanda’s demented uncle Chet who eventually kidnapped Eve. Fortunately Amanda and Ben were able to rescue Eve. The shock of what happened was too much for Amanda and she again reverted to her child-like state. Again Ben was able to snap her out of her and the two resumed their marriage. Unfortunately, Amanda’s preoccupation with her career put a strain on the marriage and they divorced. Not long after, Ben reconciled with Eve and, after remarrying, the pair left Springfield together.