All My Children's Francesca James in Real-Life Soap Battle Over Estate of Knots Landing's Julie Harris

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Even the most acclaimed soap opera writer couldn't spin a plot twist as shocking and macabre as this one! The New York Post has published a disturbing feature alleging famed All My Children actress and producer Francesca James insinuated her way into the life of Knots Landing alum and Broadway legend Julie Harris, who died of congestive heart failure on Aug. 24. 

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The article's sources liken James (real name Francesa Rubino) to Eve Harrington in All About Eve, the classic flick about an interloper who strives to steal the life of her Broadway veteran rival. Here's an excerpt:

The role of Eve Harrington, her friends say, was played by Francesca Rubino, a minor soap-opera actress who goes by the stage name Francesca James. Several friends and longtime employees, who were fired by Rubino — including a housekeeper, a gardener and Harris’ lawyer, Herbert Nass — say she “wormed” her way into Harris’ life, took control of her medical and business affairs, and “isolated” Harris from her son, Peter Gurian.



The attorney for Harris' estate denies the allegations, however, Harris' former houskeeper had this to say about James/Rubino:

“Francesca was very alluring but very manipulative,” says Kathryn Bowden, Harris’ housekeeper for eight years until Rubino fired her — and barred her from entering Harris’ house — in 2009. “She worked her way into Julie’s life, and then she took it over and got rid of everybody who was close to her.”

The article goes on to say the bulk of Harris' $10 million estate was left to her son Peter Gurian, however, there is reportedly a codicil to the will stating if Gurian "physically assaults, threatens to assault, or otherwise harms, harasses, or intimidates myself or any of my friends . . . including Francesca R. Rubino . . . my trustees shall treat him as if he had predeceased me."

Allegedly, James/Rubino took out a harassment prevention order against Gurian three years ago. Gurian lives, according to the article, "like a hermit" on Harris' Cape Cod estate. James/Rubino was reportedly named co-executor of Harris' estate.


Photo credit for Julie Harris: ATAS