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Lucas Cross was one of the main antagonists of the novel Peyton Place, and its film adaptation. In the movie, he was played by Arthur Kennedy.
Lucas Cross lived in a tar paper shack in the New Hampshire community of Peyton Place, along with his second wife, Nellie, and their children, Paul, Selena and Joey. He was considered to be a woodsman; although he was also skilled as a cabinetmaker. He believed that since he paid his bills and minded his own business, that allowed him to behave as he pleased, especially in his abuse of his family.
Throughout the novel, he beats his wife and molests the 14-year-old Selena. He also threatened to kill his youngest son, Joey, should he ever have gone to the Sheriff about his criminal actions. When she gets pregnant, Dr. Matthew Swain examines her and finds that Cross is the father. Cross, for his perfidy, is eventually driven out of town.
He later joins the Navy (how or why he did was never revealed). Upon his release, he returns to Peyton Place and tries to rape Selena again. Panicked, she grabs the nearest blunt object and clubs him over the head, killing him. She and Joey bury him in the sheep pen.
Selena is placed on trial for his murder, but with the help of Dr. Swain, she is acquitted. The only ally he really had, after his death, was selfish Marion Partridge who thought Selena should have been convicted, but not for justice; but because she only thought of what she got from him (he made their kitchen cabinets).