On Monday, September 26’s Days of Our Lives, Hope & Bo (Kristian Alfonso and Peter Reckell) successfully surprised everyone attending the dedication of the newly renovated Horton Town Square by announcing the return of Carrie and Austin (Christie Clark and Patrick Muldoon), two of DAYS most popular younger couples. Just as the episode was ending, more surprises came when longtime fan favorites, John and Marlena (Drake Hogestyn and Deidre Hall) were revealed as the ultimate special guests. When DAYS airs the continuation of the celebration on Tuesday, September 27, John and Marlena reveal yet another surprise.
To celebrate the return of John and Marlena, a not-so-brief history of their characters and the actors who play them.
Deidre Hall joined DAYS as Dr. Marlena Evans on June 21, 1976, just a decade after the show itself premiered. She was first introduced to viewers as one of Mickey Horton‘s psychiatrists at Bayview Sanitarium. It wasn’t long untilMarlena‘s twin sister, Samantha drugged her and had her committed to the sanitarium. In a daytime TV first, Marlena‘s evil twin was played by Hall‘s real-life twin sister, Andrea.
Eventually, Don Craig figured out the switch, freed Marlena and had Samantha arrested. Marlena and Don married, became pregnant and she gave birth prematurely. The baby died of SIDS and the two separated.
Marlena‘s first mega-storyline came in the early 80s when she became the target of the Salem Stranger. During this time, she began working with the Salem Police, most notably, Detective Roman Brady, to help crack the case.
Roman and Marlena‘s relationship began, but was waylaid when Roman‘s first wife, Anna returned to Salem. Roman and Marlena married, had twins Sami and Eric and then Roman was killed by Stefano. Marlena shot Stefano and he fell to his death. Having killed Stefano, Marlena was charged with murder, but a technicality freed to good doctor.
In the mid-80s, Marlena began dating Richard Cates, a former colleague of her dead husband. It was soon discovered that he was a cop on the take and Marlena ended their relationship. About this same time, John Black arrived in Salem, in a typical soap twist, John Black was, in fact, Roman. It seems the also the un-dead Stefano had held Roman captive, during which time, Roman‘s appearance was altered by extensive plastic surgery and he was given the new identity of John Black.
Marlena and Roman renewed their wedding vows, but their bliss was short-lived whenMarlena died in a bomb explosion. It was quickly seen that Marlena wasn’t dead, but was kidnapped by and taken to a remote island. Roman witnessed Marlena‘s next death when her plane exploded in route.
Following a few years’ hiatus from DAYS Marlena returned to Salem. Upon her return, she and a revenge-seeking Roman went in search of those responsible for her long absence. What they found instead was the real Roman Brady. Learning the man she had thought to be Roman after plastic surgery, was in fact, a priest named John Black.
Marlena and the real Roman reunited, she was kidnapped by the jealous wife of a patient. John decided to leave town to give Roman and Marlena a chance, then they had break-up sex. Marlena and Roman were overjoyed when she became pregnant, but baby Belle turned out to be John Black‘s, so she and Roman called it quits.
It was about this time that Marlena became embroiled in one of daytime TV’s most popular/outgrageous storylines. The Possession of Marlena. That’s right, she became possessed by the devil! Lucky for her, Father John was there to help her through the ordeal.
Roman and Marlena divorced, leaving her free to pursue John, but John‘s latest fling, Kristin had other ideas. She became pregnant with John‘s baby, only to lose it and fake her pregnancy for moths. She was eventually found out and John went back to Marlena on what would have been his wedding night to Kristin. Roman left town and rejoined the secret government agency, the ISA. He later was reported dead during a failed mission.
Turn-about is fair play in soaps, so Kristin showed up at Marlena and John‘s wedding with news of an un-dead Roman who was seriously ill. Remembering her hippocratic oath, Marlena hid her engagement to John from Roman and vowed to nurse him back to health. Only problem was, evil Stefano held the only key to a cure, which was located in a remote jungle. John, Hope, Kristin and Stefano went in search of the cure while Marlena remained in Salem with Roman. Roman and Marlena were set to marry, just as John interrupted their wedding with a cure. The truth of John and Marlena‘s relationship came to light and Roman stepped aside.
In true soap fashion, happiness was fleeting when John‘s past came into question again. Princess Gina entered the picture, taking control of John‘s mind, basically hypnotizing him into sleeping with her. Turns out Princess Gina was a fake, but that didn’t change things for John, as the real Gina pursued his as well.
Yet more potential obstacles arose when A) Hope temporarily thought John was the father of her son;B) Marlena discovered she had given birth to two genetically created twins during one of her former kidnappings; C) Marlena was thought to be responsible for the supposed serial killings that landed several favorites on the island of Melaswen, that’s New Salem spelled backwards; D) the alleged return of her first husband; E) discovering that John was, in-fact Stefano‘s brother; E) At different times in their recent pasts, both Marlena and John were injected. Marlena‘s resulted in a temporary coma, while John‘s brought on a stroke.
Prior to leaving Salem a few years back, John began recovering from his stroke, but was left paralyzed. If the previews of Tuesday’s episode reveal anything at all, it looks like John andMarlena have returned to Salem just in time to share with their friends and family the fact that John is fully recovered and will walk once again.
About the actors:
Even thought she is often reluctant to talk about it, my first memories of Deidre Hall were from her brief stint as half of the Saturday morning superhero team, Electra Woman and Dyna Girl, but she appeared in a number of series prior to landing even that gig. Hall was first seen in a string of single episode appearances in everything from San Francisco Airport to Rod Serling’s Night Gallery and Adam 12. In 1972, she she landed her first medically-themed recurring role as Nurse Sally Lewis on TV’s Emergency!. Contrary to what you might think, Days of Our Lives wasn’t Deidre‘s first soap opera. She was seen in 1973 in the very first episode of The Young and the Restless as Nurse Barbara Anderson, a role she played for two years. A couple more singular appearances followed and then she first appeared as Electra Woman on the pilot episode of The Kroft Supershow on September 11, 1976. For sixteen weeks, Hall and co-star Judy Strangis thwarted crime with the help of their wrist-watch-like elecracoms and their faithful assistant, Frank Heflin (played by Norman Alden).
Beginning in 1986, Hall did double-duty by not only starring as Marlena on DAYS, but also heading the primetime cast of Our House, a family drama co-starring veteran actor Wilford Brimley, and then-unknown child actors Shannen Douherty, Keri Houlihan and Chad Allen. She took her first hiatus from DAYS midway through Our House‘s run in 1987. Following the cancellation of Our House, she landed a four-episode semi-recurring role on Wiseguy as Claudia Newquay during a story arch that centered around the music industry.
As fellow-soap diva, Susan Lucci had done before here, TV movies were next on Hall‘s horizon. She starred in a string of made-for-TV movies during her break from DAYS, as well as after her 1991 return to daytime. Among her TV movies are: Perry Mason: The Case of the All-Star Assassin; And The Sea Will Tell, based on the book by Vincent Bugliosi; For The Very First Time, co-starring Corin Nemec and Madchen Amick; Woman on The Ledge, and a primetime episode of DAYS titled Night Sins. In 1995, she turned the true story of her own struggle to become a mother into the TV movie, Never Say Never: The Deidre Hall Story. Just last year, Hall and Lynn Parmiter Bowman teamed to release Hall‘s first book, Deidre Hall’s Kitchen Close-Up.
Prior to landing his role as John Black on DAYS, Hogestyn made his TV debut in 1982 as Brian McFadden in the first-and-only season of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, a drama/adventure series very loosely based on the popular 1954 musical movie that starred Howard Keel. He also appeared in a single episode of the all-but-forgotten short-lived series, Otherworld in 1985. That same year, Hogestyn was featured in the TV movies, Generation, co-starring Richard Beymer and Priscilla Pointer and Beverly Hills Cowgirl Blues, starring James Brolin and Lisa Hartman, before joining DAYS. Hogestyn has been nominated for five Soap Opera Digest Awards, winning two for Hottest Male Star in 1994 and 1995. Along with his on-screen love, Hall, the two were also awarded 2005’s Favorite Couple at the annual Soap Opera Digest ceremony.
Hall has been nominated for eight Soap Opera Digest Awards. In addition to her team-win with Hogestyn in 2005, Hall took home Outstanding Actress Awards in 1984, 1985 and 1995. She was also the recipient of a special Soap Opera Digest Award in 1986. Hall has also received three Daytime Emmy nominations for her work on DAYS.
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