Luciano Eduardo "Luke" Snyder is a fictional character from the American daytime drama As the World Turns. Actor Van Hansis is most recognized for his portrayal of Luke from his debut in December 2005 until the series finale in September 2010.
Luke was born to Lily Walsh and Damian Grimaldi, and was subsequently raised by Lily and Holden Snyder (see Holden Snyder and Lily Walsh). When Luke became a teenager, he came out to his parents Lily and Holden that he was gay. Eventually they accepted him. He is also part of soap opera's first gay supercouple, Luke Snyder and Noah Mayer, also known as "Nuke" (Noah, Luke).
The role of Luke Snyder was acted by several child actors from his debut in 1995 until 2001, when the character was SORASed with actor, Christopher Tavani. In March 2005, actor Jake Weary stepped into the role of a once again SORASed character of Luke.
Weary announced his decision to leave the series; this announcement led to rumors of the actor and his mother, Guiding Light actress Kim Zimmer leaving due to the character's upcoming coming out storyline. Zimmer denied such rumors, simply stating that Weary, who at the time was 15, wouldn't be able to dedicate the time needed for the storyline. He instead decided to focus on his school work.
On December 14, 2005 Van Hansis stepped into the role of Luke, replacing previous actor Jake Weary. Hansis would continue his portrayal until the series finale in 2010.
Luke is extremely honest, forthright and occasionally sarcastic. At best he's passionate, assertive and perceptive. At his worst he's overbearing, irrational and moody. He values his relationships highly and is very considerate, often putting the needs of others before himself. He's comfortable in both the privileged world of the Walsh and Grimaldi families and the more down-to-earth atmosphere of the Snyder family.
Despite being confident in his sexuality, Luke has shown himself to be extremely insecure at times, several times irrationally so. This is especially noticeable when it comes to his relationship with Noah Mayer. Luke came out as a gay teenager, dealt with bullying, and eventually gained the support of his parents and family. However it has left him very sensitive about his sexuality. Several people have said that he tries to make himself into a martyr for the cause and he takes no greater offense than to someone bashing homosexuality. Any derogatory comments about homosexuality, even ones not intended to be derogatory, Luke takes as a personal offense.
After a somewhat tumultuous long-term relationship with first love, Noah Mayer, that relationship ended. Luke began developing feelings for neurosurgeon, Dr. Reid Oliver, who was in town because Luke had blackmailed him to treat Noah. However, this was complicated by Noah wanting to restart his relationship with Luke. The show was cancelled before this storyline could play out.
When Luke was born, his mother Lily Walsh did not know whether his father was her then-spouse Damian Grimaldi or her lover Holden Snyder. Although Damian proved to be the father, the two men struggled over possession of the boy for years before Holden – who had married Lily some years earlier – adopted Luke. When Luke was a teenager, he confessed to the murder of Julia Larrabee, who he blamed for breaking up his parents' marriage, to protect his mother, who he thought was guilty of the crime. When the true killer was found to be somebody else, his life did not return to normalcy; as his mother began dating another man, Keith Morrissey, Luke became an alcoholic. Following her son's kidney failure, Lily was blackmailed into promising to marry Keith by his promise of a new kidney for Luke, but after Luke's passionate appeal to Keith he released her from her vow. Luke's family was left intact, but Luke's problems were not over, as he continued seeing destructive friends and accidentally hit a pedestrian, Jade Taylor, with his car.
Luke trusted Jade, who claims to everyone that she is Luke's cousin, enough to reveal his deepest secret to her – his romantic love for Kevin – she turned out to be a fraud, forcing him to pretend to be in love with her. Unfortunately, this destroys his relationship with Kevin. A desperate Luke comes out to his friend Will Munson before, on Will's advice, revealing his secret to his family. While a pregnant Lily can't accept her eldest son's sexual orientation, the rest of his family supports him.
Shortly after his surprise reappearance in their lives, Luke's birth father Damian tries to send Luke to a gender re-alignment camp. When Lily realizes the nature of the camp, she tries to reassure Luke that she will accept him, but thinking her the sole responsible party he lashes out angrily at her for her betrayal, inadvertently knocking her down the stairs. She lapses into a coma. Holden will not accept Luke's explanation for what happened, and Luke takes shelter from his adoptive father's anger with Damian. He grows closer to Damian especially when Damian claims to be dying...but it all falls apart when he later discovers the truth of his father's health. He severs ties with his birth father, changing his name, but yields his share in the Grimaldi family fortune to Damian before he goes.
Back home, Luke comes out to his friends. While Kevin has difficulty at first, he reconciles with Luke after Luke saves his life. Lily, who gave birth while in her coma, finally emerges to also reconcile with Luke and, to everyone's surprise, Jade turns out not to be a fraud after all.
While interning at WOAK, Luke meets and falls for Noah Mayer. Noah is dating Luke's friend Maddie Coleman, but soon after Luke reveals his feelings to Noah begins to struggle with his own attraction. Eventually, he acknowledges that he is also gay, although he fears revealing this to his father. Unfortunately, Colonel Mayer learns the secret when he catches them in their second kiss and rejects Noah before devising a plan to murder Luke. His efforts leave Luke paralyzed for a time, although physical therapy eventually puts him back on his feet. In spite of Colonel Mayer's plans, he and Noah remain a couple.
Their relationship is challenged when Noah, to save a young Iraqi woman with connections to his father from deportation, decides to marry her. Although he weds Ameera Ali Aziz, Noah reassures Luke of his steadfast love, but the relationship eventually instigates a break-up of the pair after Colonel Mayer is seemingly killed in a kidnapping plot and Ameera arrested. Noah blames Luke for the events, and Luke is angry that Noah requests time apart. The pair reconcile after a visit from Cyndi Lauper, who dedicates a performance of the song "True Colors" to them.
When Damian returns a portion of Luke's inheritance to him, he decides to start a charitable foundation, run by Brian Wheatley, who encourages Luke to be more discreet in his homosexuality to avoid alienating the philanthropic community. He also enters politics, running against his old friend Kevin for President of the Student Government at Oakdale U. He winds up cheating to overcome a dirty campaign by Kevin and is expelled. When Noah leaves him because of this, Luke begins drinking again and while drunk is kissed by Brian, who has married Luke's grandmother Lucinda. Later, when Luke is living at Holden's house and Brian and Lucinda must come to stay with them, does Brian confess that, while attracted to Luke, he loves Lucinda.
In spite of their agreement, this will not remain secret long. Luke and Noah are struggling to reconnect, but when Luke is jealous of Noah's continued relationship with Maddie, he kisses Brian himself. Noah, who sees this, is angry with Luke for some time, and Lucinda is soon angry as well when Jade blurts out the secret. Ostracized, Brian comes very close to suicide before Luke and Noah can intervene, but after their intervention he makes peace with Lucinda and his own homosexuality before leaving town.
Luke turns his Luke Snyder Foundation to LGBT rights after he and Noah are discriminated against in their housing search, but his personal life is complicated when Damian returns, ostensibly to make amends, and when a couple of men he takes on as volunteers for his Foundation prove to be con-men after money, kidnapping first Noah and then Luke. Damian saves them both and remarries Lily, but flees the country mysteriously soon after.
After Noah is blinded in an accident at film school, he breaks off with Luke, feeling a need to be independent. Luke falls in love with neurosurgeon Reid Oliver, who is working to save Noah's sight, and is torn when Noah eventually wants to reunite with Luke and move to Los Angeles where Noah is attending film school. He decides he cannot go. Tragically, Reid is mortally injured when his car is struck by a train When Reid dies, Noah returns in spite of himself to comfort his love, but while he is willing to remain in Oakdale with Luke, Luke urges him to pursue his dream. They agree that they will visit and one day may finally unite.
After a 54-year run, As The World Turns was cancelled as of Sept 17, 2010.