By Michael Maloney for SoapHub. To view the original article, click here.
The soap honors Deidre Hall who is celebrating 5,000 episodes as Marlena.
Time flies when you’re having fun. That’s how Days of our Lives star Deidre Hall must be feeling today. She’s celebrating her 5,000th, episode as Dr. Marlena Evans. Soap Hub sat down with the delightful Hall to take a look back at how she started on the show, where she is today, and more.
Deidre Hall: The Doctor is In
Hall made her debut on DAYS in 1976 as Mickey Horton’s (John Clarke) psychiatrist. Marlena did more than help get Mickey the help he needed. She hit the ground running. Because she was helping Mickey, audiences were already predisposed to liking her. “Wow! Listen to you!” Hall enthuses to Soap Hub about our reasoning for what contributed to Marlena being an instant success. “Yes, I was brought in as Mickey’s therapist…of course, they were pulling for her.”
The Cop and the Doc
While Marlena’s marriage to Don Craig (Jed Allan) didn’t last, she soon found love again with Det. Roman Brady (Wayne Northrop; now, Josh Taylor), when he was assigned to protect Marlena from the Salem Strangler. The storybook romance and marriage took a tragic turn when Roman plummeted to his apparent death in November of 1984 while fighting Stefano (Joe Mascolo).
“Wayne’s basically a cowboy,” Hall shares. “He has a ranch in Northern California. TV was the thing he loved, but he really loved being a cowboy. It was heartbreaking [when he left] because we created such an amazing couple. ‘The Cop and the Doc.’ It was magic.”
Deidre Hall: From the Penthouse to Our House
Roman was resurrected when Drake Hogestyn joined the cast in 1986 as the mysterious John Black. Well, it turns out he wasn’t, but Marlena certainly thought John Black was Roman. In 1987, Hall exited DAYS to focus full-time on her role as Jesse Witherspoon on the NBC drama Our House, which starred Wilford Brimley as Gus, Jessie’s father-in-law. Hall says she leaned on Brimley to help advise her if he ever observed her stepping into an acting skill set that was better suited for daytime drama.
He never had to, right? Wrong, says Hall! In a scene in which Gus gave Jesse some horrific news, he said to her when the cameras weren’t rolling, “I’m going to tell you something…you’re in danger of going to that place,” Hall recalls. “He told me a personal story about his life…and how he behaved. He said that’s what I want to see. [I learned] from the master.”
Soap Hub also chatted with Hall about her return to DAYS after Our House ended. Marlena emerging from the fog and reuniting with Roman (actually, John) remains a fan favorite scene. Hall also talked to Soap Hub about the famous possession storyline from the mid-1990s written by DAYS late, great head writer James E. Reilly.
When Hall first started on the show, actors had early morning call times, and it wasn’t unusual for daily taping days to run long. Now, there’s an economic business model in place that requires soaps to shoot expeditiously. “It does feel a bit like live [TV],” Hall muses of the show’s pace. How was DAYS able to adapt? She credits former co-executive producer/executive in charge of production Greg Meng with forward thinking.
“Greg Meng was able to come in and say, ‘Okay, we can do this…we can cut it down…we can cut it back. We can do it faster,’” Hall says. “We literally got kept on the air while other people were trying to figure out [the business logistics] of what it took to get a show produced.”
Deidre Hall: 5,000 Episodes
Hall says that DAYS ties in her 5,000th episode appearance with John asking Marlena how many patients she’s seen over the years. “He says, ‘5,000?’” Hall previews. “I say, ‘It could be!’ We continue the 5000 wordplay from there.”
The actress has a “family shoutout” to the folks who continue to bring DAYS to life — Ken Corday (executive producer), Ron Carlivati (head writer), and all production departments, including the crew on the stage, the makeup room team, and everyone else. “It’s everyone pulling as hard as they can in the same direction,” says Hall, who cheers “the fans who have followed us to Peacock — my deepest gratitude and thanks.”