Assaulted Phillip Spaulding [June 27, 2000]
Took out a house loan from Tony Santos to finance his gambling problem [November 10, 2000]
Jim Lemay arrived in Springfield, in early 1999, in pursuit of his daughter, Susan. After the death of her adoptive mother, Susan had run away in search of her biological mother. Her search led her to Harley Cooper Spaulding. When Harley was reunited with the girl that she had named "Daisy," she and her husband, Phillip Spaulding, called Jim to let him know where she was. When Jim finally arrived to get her, Susan begged him to stay for a while so that she could get to know her mother. Jim agreed but after some time in Springfield, tensions began to rise between Jim and Phillip. Jim saw the Spaulding exec as a rich snob who used his money to get whatever he wanted, which was why he initially refused an offer from Phillip to work at Spaulding Enterprises. After Phillip explained that he was just trying to make Harley happy by finding a way for Susan to stay in town, Jim agreed to stay and work at Spaulding.
After Susan's attempts to strike up a romance between her father and Harley were thwarted by Harley's pregnancy, Jim began dating Phillip's ex-wife, Beth. Susan hated Beth from the very beginning and made no effort to conceal her true feelings. When Josh Lewis requested Jim's help in rescuing his wife, Reva, from the island of San Cristobel , Jim willingly went along with the plan. Having been confused about his relationship with Beth, Jim was glad to get away for a bit. On the island, things quickly turned dangerous and a group of Springfield residents, including Jim, faced a firing squad. Thankfully, they were saved in time and Jim was left with a new outlook on life and the realization that he was truly in love with Beth. After returning home, Jim and Beth continued on in their happiness together. Later, when a deal between Spaulding and Lewis Oil went bad, the couple was forced to take sides. Beth chose to stay at Spaulding while Jim felt he couldn't go on working for a company that, in his mind, performed an underhanded takeover of Lewis Oil. Jim was now unemployed, but happy.
Though Susan was still reluctant to accept Jim and Beth as a couple, she backed off after spending some time at summer camp. Later, Jim, Beth, Harley and Phillip agreed to spend Thanksgiving together as guests of Harley's best friend, Cassie Layne, and her fiancé, Prince Richard Winslow, on the island of San Cristobel. While preparing to celebrate the holiday, Phillip and Beth were unexpectedly called back to Springfield on a work emergency. Jim agreed to fly them in a private plane so that they could return as quickly as possible. What they didn't know was that Richard's villainous brother, Edmund, had rigged the plane in an attempt to kill his brother. The plane crashed into the mountains, leaving the three victims stranded. The least injured of the three, Jim volunteered to go off and get help. While he was gone, Phillip and Beth comforted each other. Overcome with emotion and convinced they were facing certain death, the two made love.
Amazingly, Jim was able to return with a rescue team and brought Beth and Phillip back unharmed. Not long after, Beth agreed to marry Jim. Soon after, Beth learned that she pregnant but kept it a secret for a while. When Susan found out about the pregnancy, she angrily leaked the information to her father. Taken back at first, Jim quickly became delighted at the idea of having a family with Beth. Jim's enthusiasm was hampered when his stepdaughter, Lizzie, was diagnosed with leukemia. Though Jim tried to be supportive of the family, his main focus remained on the health of Beth and their unborn child. When it was learned that the child Beth was carrying could save Lizzie's life through a bone marrow transfer, Jim was hesitant to risk the child's life by agreeing to have the child delivered prematurely. After arguing with Phillip, Jim learned a horrible truth: the child Beth was carrying wasn't his, but Phillip's! Though furious at first, in time, Jim forgave Beth and after witnessing the birth of her son, he decided to give the marriage another try.
Jim tried to put Beth's indiscretion behind him and agreed to raise her son, James, as his own, despite opposition from Susan. Tragically, just when Jim and Beth's marriage was on track, he died in a fire while saving his family.