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Marlena Evans
Marlena Evans
Days of our Lives
Portrayed by Deidre Hall
Current status Present, Contract
Duration 1976–87, 1991–2009, 2011–present
First appearance June 21, 1976
Created by Pat Falken Smith
Introduced by Betty Corday
Profile
Nickname(s) Doc (by John and Roman)
Queen of the Night (by Stefano)
Alias(es) Salem Stalker (2003–04)
Gender Female
Born October 7, 1951 (Originally October 7,1956)
Age 73
Occupation Psychiatrist
Residence Townhouse 715 Pinewood Avenue Salem, Illinois
Relationships
Family Evans family
Parents Frank Evans †
Martha Evans †
Siblings Samantha Evans
Spouses Alex North(Before 1976–2006)
Don Craig (1979–81) (invalid)
Roman Brady (1983–94) (invalid)
John Black (1986–91) (invalid)
John Black (1999–2005) (invalid)
John Black (2006–08) (invalid)
John Black (2009–12) (invalid)
John Black (2018–present)
Children D.J. Craig
Eric Brady
Sami Brady
Belle Black
Brady Black (step)
Paul Narita (step)
Grandchildren Will Horton
Johnny DiMera
Allie Horton
Sydney DiMera
Claire Brady
Mackenzie Horton
Tate Black (step)
Rachel Black (step)
Great-grandchildren Arianna Horton(via Will)
Unnamed child(via Allie)
Aunts and uncles Robert Evans
First cousins Trista Evans

Dr. Marlena Evans is a character on the soap opera Days of Our Lives, portrayed by actress Deidre Hall since 1976, with a few minor breaks in between from 1987 to March 1991 and again from January 2009 to September 2011. Marlena was created by scriptwriter Pat Falken Smith and executive producer Betty Corday, as one of Days of our Lives' most well known characters. Hall made her debut on the soap on June 21, 1976, currently making her the second longest running actress on the serial, surpassed only by Suzanne Rogers (Maggie). After a brief two-year absence, Hall once again reprised her role as Marlena on September 26, 2011.

Throughout the course of her existence on the program, she has experienced what some consider to be the most outrageous circumstances of any character in soap opera history. These would include possession by the devil; a plummet from a 30-story-window (which she survived); being used as a surrogate for genetically engineered babies, Rex and Cassie, during a four-year coma; being mind-controlled to believe she was a serial killer; and becoming pregnant late in life and suffering a miscarriage, which caused her to have hysterical amnesia. She has also been kidnapped numerous times over the past 30 years. She is a doctor, wife, mother, twin, grandmother and great-grandmother.

Marlena was a staple in the US press during her time on Days of our Lives, a representative of the symbiosis between American's soaps and tabloid soap magazines. Widely read tabloids, such as Soap Opera Digest and Soap Opera Weekly, would routinely publish forthcoming developments in Marlena's story-lines. Marlena was well received by critics, and is notable for her popular pairing with John Black. The character is well-known even outside of the show's viewer-base. In 2010, Sheri Anderson (a former head writer for Days) began writing books about off-screen characters from the soap. John and Marlena were included in one called A Secret in Salem.

Background

The character was brought in as the psychiatrist of an already established character – Mickey Horton. This was originally intended to put her in contact with the soaps core family, the Horton's. In the '80's, Marlena eventually established her place on the show when she became romantically involved with Roman Brady – whose family by then had become another core part of the show, secondary only to the Horton's. She bore two children with him: Sami Brady, and Eric Brady. In addition to her children with Roman she was mother to Donald "D.J." Craig Jr. with husband Don Craig who died three months after his birth and to Belle Black Brady with on/off husband John Black. She is also the longtime step-mother/mother figure of Brady Black and Carrie Brady Reed.

Casting

Marlena was introduced as a guest character in June 1976, by executive producer Betty Corday. The show decided to cast actress Deidre Hall, who was already known in the soap world for her role as Barbara on The Young and the Restless. The character was brought in as the psychiatrist of already established character – Mickey Horton. This puts her in close contact with the soap's core family, The Horton's. This also allows her to meet her first new lover in Salem, Don Craig (Mickey's assistant). Specifically, she played a key role in a storyline involving her twin sister, Samantha Evans (who was played by Hall's real life twin, Andrea Hall) at the same sanitarium Mickey was committed to. The character proved to be popular, and they decided to put her on contract. Marlena eventually started a relationship with Roman Brady, who established her to a core family on the show, the Brady family. In the 1980s, Hall had decided to explore primetime. She landed the lead role on the family oriented series, Our House, and guest starred on other prime time hits such as Wiseguy and Columbo. She left Days of Our Lives after her primetime and daytime schedule became too hard to balance. In 1991 (after the primetime series ended), Hall began to miss daytime's creative outlet. She made an ultimate return to the show that same year. Her return prompted a 10% increase in the Nielsen ratings for the soap.

In 2009, after struggling in the ratings for years, Days of Our Lives received a two-year pickup. However, the soap's budget was decreased by 40%. To make do with the new restrictions, executive producer Ken Corday was forced to fire Deidre Hall and Drake Hogestyn. Marlena's on screen love interest, Drake Hogestyn, had been fired in early 2007 as a way to clear money in the budget. However, he was brought back in 2008 for storyline purposes and to please fans. The couple were quickly reunited after Drake returned; and then they traveled to Switzerland to treat John's physical disability. Fans were furious with the way the writers wrote John and Marlena out. In an interview with Nelson Branco, Deidre said, "Yes. There was enormous upheaval. I wasn't following a lot of the brouhaha but I was told fans and critics were upset. But it is what it is. Yes, it feels good to hear that fans miss Marlena. People are deeply attached to her."

After a brief two years off the canvas, Hall reprised her role as Marlena beginning in September 2011. Marlena's return was one of the many changes brought about by the soap in order to please old viewers and as an attempt to draw in some new ones. Her return was brought about in extreme changes on the soap, with characters coming and going. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Hall dished on her return saying: "It's dramatic, romantic and involves the entire town. They brought in two new head writers who really believe in things that our core audience believes in. They like romance. They don't like people buried alive, they don't like who's your daddy. For a couple like Marlena and John - who endured bouts of paralysis, amnesia, false deaths and mind control - that should come as a huge relief." It was also confirmed in July 2011 that Drake Hogestyn, who portrays Marlena's on-screen love interest John, will also return to the soap in September as well. Executive producer Ken Corday issued this statement, saying: "We are thrilled that Deidre and Drake are rejoining the show. I know their return will excite loyal fans and intrigue new viewers. We are gearing up for some amazing cast surprises and guest stars visiting Salem in the fall, launching a grand event airing on September 26."

Possession

Marlena possessed

In 1995, Marlena was featured in a supernatural possession storyline. Marlena is the first soap character in history to ever be possessed by the devil. The storyline caused huge controversy and garnered a lot of attention to the soap. The head writer at that time was James E. Reilly, who was known for his outrageous storylines.

Marlena goes to Louisiana in search of John, but is captured by a criminal mastermind, Stefano DiMera. He forces her to call her husband, Roman Brady, and tell him that she is with John Black. This is the final end to Roman and Marlena's marriage. John and Marlena escape, but Stefano also returns to Salem. He begins giving Marlena mind-altering drugs. Marlena completely switches personalities, and it is soon revealed that she has been possessed by the devil. John Black, who was a priest at the time, is forced to perform an emergency exorcism. In an interview, Ken Corday says he regrets doing the storyline.

Sometimes we jump into something that's a total failure and those numbers come back pretty quickly, and we'll bail. No—it's kind of tough to regret. We did do Marlena was possessed. Remember, The Exorcist was only about 25 years old at the time, and [writer] Reilly walked into my office and said we're going to do a storyline with Marlena possessed. And I said we're going to do The Exorcist? He said, "That's right." I said, "We're going to do a feature film?" And he said, "No, we're going to make it great. It's a serial." It was supposed to last three months, starting somewhere around Halloween and ending with a Christmas miracle. And he dragged it into Easter, and he ended it literally with John Black just standing over her saying one "Our Father," and that story was over. People remember because the effects were so strange. Here's this wonderful, goddess of beauty, wisdom, and light, and she's floating around with green eyes doing horrible things. That's an eye opener."

The Salem Stalker and Melaswen Island

Days of Our Lives as well as every other soap opera experienced ratings erosions in the early 2000s. The show managed to lure back James E. Reilly, who had left the show in 1997 to create his own soap opera, Passions. NBC said at the time that the show "needed a fix, and we had the fix right here." James E. Reilly began crafting a big story for the 2003–2004 season. Viewers saw Jack Devereux (Matthew Ashford) attacked, and killed with a brick by a strange cloaked figure. Viewers were shocked to see long-term veteran Abe Carver (James Reynolds) shot at his front doorstep by the same cloaked figure that's killed Jack. It was official, James E. Reilly was crafting a "whodunnit?" murder storyline. Next, viewers saw 34-year veteran recovering alcoholic Maggie Horton (Suzanne Rogers) get bludgeoned to death with a wine bottle. The next murder is Caroline Brady (Peggy McCay) who is poisoned. Viewers then saw bad girl Cassie Brady (Alexis Thorpe) fall out of a Halloween pinata with stab wounds. Marlena's ex-husband, Roman Brady (Josh Taylor) is murdered at his wedding to Kate Roberts. At the Horton circus, the serial killer releases a tiger (named Horton), and sets him loose on Andre DiMera, who at the time was posing as Tony DiMera. As “Tony” is dying at the hospital, much to the fans surprise, the killer is revealed to be Marlena. Marlena's next victim is Doug Williams (Bill Hayes) who has been her friend for years. She kills him at Tom Horton's grave after he finds out she is the killer. The most shocking murder occurs shortly after. Alice Horton (Frances Reid) finds a bloody note at her husband's grave with Marlena's name on it. Subsequently, the evil Marlena murders Alice by choking her with her world-renowned donuts. Marlena confesses, and is arrested by her husband, John Black. She is shot and killed on the prison rooftop. The storyline allowed Days of our Lives to reach #2 in the Nielsen chart for soaps.

After dwindling ratings again, the show made its craziest decision yet. All the victims were brought back together life on the tropical Island of Melaswen (New Salem spelled backwards). The fired actors (James Reynolds, Suzanne Rogers, Matthew Ashford, Alexis Thorpe, Josh Taylor, Peggy McCay, Frances Reid, and Deidre Hall) all returned to their original roles. There was also another twist, the killer wasn't Marlena. Stefano DiMera's nephew, Andre (posing as Tony DiMera) had kidnapped them and made Marlena think she was killing off her friends and family. The storyline was incredibly controversial, and garnered the soap a lot of press. This allowed Days of our lives to reach #2 into the Nielsen charts again, before Reilly left the soap again in 2006.

Exit (2009)

Drake Hogestyn was fired in 2007 as a way to shrink down the budget. Later, in an attempt to stabilize ratings, he was brought back in 2008. As a result, it provided many storyline opportunities for the couple. However, with a vastly shrinking budget things didn't pan out as planned. Days of Our Lives was renewed in 2008, but the budget was slashed severely by 40%. To make do with the new restrictions, executive producer Ken Corday was forced to fire his two highest paid actors, Deidre Hall and Drake Hogestyn. Critics slammed the show for their firings, with TV Guide's Nelson Branco saying in an interview, "The show became uglier after Hall and Hogestyn left the airwaves. Many claim it was the beginning of the end for our industry. You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who would disagree with that statement." Matt Mitovich said their exit was, "Truly the end of an era, as daytime television says goodbye to 'Days of Our Lives' John Black and Dr. Marlena Evans on Friday, Jan. 23. Drake Hogestyn and Deidre Hall, aka John and "Doc," have nearly 12,000 Days appearances between them over the past 32 years. As such, they will leave behind many memories for fans of NBC's long-running (and now only) sudsier. The iconic couple will create another magical moment when they say goodbye to Salem and loved ones following this week's hospital bedside wedding ceremony."

John begins seeing Dr. Charlotte Taylor to regain his memories. Charlotte is the daughter of Marlena's mentor, and Marlena watches as she and John grow close, but it doesn't take long for Marlena to see that something was off about Charlotte. John's recently returned son Brady Black helps Marlena discover that John is remembering, but Charlotte is actually keeping him from doing so entirely. Charlotte comes to Marlena's apartment and tries to kill her, and explains that she is jealous of her because of how her father seemed to favor Marlena over Charlotte. However, John bursts in at the last minute (after he himself discovers what Charlotte is trying to pull), and she ends up stabbing him with a syringe. Charlotte is arrested while John is rushed to the hospital, and it turns out he is paralyzed. Kayla Brady tells Marlena that they can't treat him in Salem, and when John wakes up, he gets his memory back completely. John and Marlena reunite, get remarried, and then head off to Switzerland to treat John's paralysis on January 23, 2009.

Storylines

Dr. Marlena Evans first appeared in 1976 as one of Mickey Horton's psychiatrists at Bayview Sanitarium. After Mickey was released, she ended up getting a job at Salem University Hospital. Marlena starts interacting with the Horton family. She meets and falls in love with Don Craig, who was Mickey's business partner. In 1977, Marlena's twin sister, Samantha Evans, came to Salem. Samantha was an out of work actress, who had problems with drugs and alcohol. Samantha was jealous of Marlena, and impersonates her. As Marlena, Samantha has Marlena institutionalized. Marlena managed to make contact with Don, but Samantha caught her, and ordered that she be given shock treatment. Don grew suspicious of Samantha, and eventually learned the truth. Laura Horton helped Don get Marlena released, and Samantha was arrested. Don proposed to Marlena and they got married. Marlena flew out to where Samantha is, and visited her in prison where they talked out their issues and reconcile. Marlena gave birth to Don Craig, Jr., but the baby died of SIDS. Marlena and Don couldn't cope with losing their son and eventually divorced when Don had an affair.

In 1981, Marlena became close with Kellam Chandler. Kellam developed feelings for Marlena, but she spurned his advances, so he raped her. Kellam's son, Todd Chandler, murdered his father soon after, and Marlena testified on Todd's behalf, telling the court that Kellam had raped her. Marlena was given rape counselling, and later got her own radio show. Marlena started getting threatening phone calls and letters sent to her and her show. Marlena met Roman Brady during the time the Salem Strangler started stalking her. Roman became Marlena's bodyguard, and they fell in love. Samantha was released from prison and returned to Salem to visit Marlena, but she was killed by the strangler when they mistook her for Marlena. Eventually, the Salem Strangler attacked Marlena, but Roman shot and killed him.

Marlena put her relationship with Roman on hold while she mourned Samantha's death. Marlena and Roman eventually got engaged, but Roman still had to declare his first wife legally dead. Turned out, his first wife, Anna Fredericks, was alive and had been sold into white slavery. Anna showed up in Salem with their young daughter, Carrie, and started causing trouble for Roman by refusing to grant him a divorce. Anna eventually granted Roman a divorce, and he was given custody of Carrie. Roman and Marlena got married, but Roman was also investigating crime lord Stefano DiMera, who conspired with his nephew André to frame Roman as the Salem Slasher. After Marlena gave birth to the twins, Sami and Eric Brady, Roman and Stefano faced off on one of Stefano's island where Stefano shot Roman and he fell from the cliff. Marlena held Roman in her arms as he died. Stefano subsequently developed an obsession with Marlena, calling her his "Queen of the Night", and kidnapping several times to try and get her to fall in love with him. Marlena ended up shooting Stefano, who fell off a catwalk and into a raging fire below.

In 1986, Marlena met and befriended John Black, who was suffering from amnesia. Marlena was determined to help John remember his past, and they eventually fell in love. John seemed to know a lot about Stefano DiMera, and Marlena began to think he was Stefano with plastic surgery. Marlena only became more suspicious when she saw a tattoo of a Phoenix (Stefano's symbol) on John's back. Marlena ended up finding a file that belonged to a plastic surgeon. The file contained images of both John and Roman, leading Marlena to believe John was Roman. Marlena accidentally fell off a roof when trying to save a suicidal jumper, and fell into a coma. When Marlena awoke, she renewed her vows with "Roman. Orpheus, Roman's old ISA partner, kidnapped Marlena and forced her to mother his two children. Orpheus hated Roman because he accidentally shot and killed Orpheus wife Rebecca during a mission. "Roman" killed Orpheus during a fight, but Marlena was presumed dead in a plane crash.

Marlena survived the plane, but was in a coma. Stefano found her, and took her an island where he kept her in a drug induced coma. Marlena would wake up from time to time, and Stefano had her impregnated with genetically modified twins that she would give birth to. Stefano took the twins away from Marlena, who would manage to escape and return to Salem where she and "Roman" would reunite. Marlena didn't remember anything that happened on Stefano's island. "Roman" was engaged to crime lord Victor Kiriakis's daughter, Isabella Toscano. In 1991, A man that looked exactly like Roman showed up in Salem, and he was revealed to be the real Roman, who had been kept in a jungle like prison by Stefano. The man everyone believed was Roman for the past five years was a man that Stefano had brainwashed into working for him as an assassin. Marlena became torn between Roman, and John, but ultimately chooses Roman. Marlena and Roman get remarried while John married Isabella. Isabella gave birth to John's son, and named him Brady in honour of the Brady family, who still loved and accepted John as their own.


In July 2017, Marlena was drugged and kidnapped by Hattie Adams. Hattie had Marlena admitted to Bayview sanitarium under her name, and Marlena was put in a straitjacket. Marlena desperately tried to convince the orderly that she was Marlena, but he didn't believe her. When the orderly brought Marlena food, she talked him into letting her out of the straitjacket to eat. The orderly did so, and Marlena managed to swipe his phone and call John for help. Marlena was caught and put back in the straitjacket, but John became suspicious and followed Hattie to Bayview sanitarium where he found Marlena. John opened the door and reunited with her, but Hattie closed the door and locked them both in. John was then taken by the orderlies and also put in a straitjacket. He was next door to Marlena and they got themselves out of the straitjacket and formed a plan to escape. The plan backfired, and the couple were scheduled for ECT. Who's in the waiting room, they saw Andre being dragged in as well. Andre started throwing accusations at Marlena, and Marlena told Andre that Hattie was impersonating her. Andre tried his hand at trying to convince the orderlies to let them go, but he was soon dragged away, and John and Marlena were almost given ECT when Roman and Paul busted into the room, and had the procedure stopped.

Trivia

  • Lilacs are Marlena's favourite flower. (August 21st, 2018)

Gallery

Days Villain Ranks

Main Article: DAYS Villain Ranks

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