|Days of our Lives|
|Portrayed by||Shawn and Taylor Carpenter (1995–2002)|
Darian Weiss (2002–03)
Christopher Gerse (2003–08)
Dylan Patton (2009–10)
Guy Wilson (2014–15)
|Current status||Former; Recurring|
|First appearance||November 16, 1995|
|Last appearance||December 30, 2020|
|Created by||James E. Reilly|
|Introduced by||Ken Corday and Tom Langan (1995)|
Ken Corday and Gary Tomlin (2009)
|Fullname||William Robert Horton|
William Robert Reed
William Reed Roberts
William Bill Horton II
|Born||November 16, 1992 (Originally November 16,1995)|
|Died||October 9th, 2015 (Resurrected in November of 2017)|
|Cause of death||Strangulation (By Ben Weston/The "Necktie Killer;" Resurrected)|
Pub worker (Former)
Business intern (Former)
Political campaign staffer (Former)
Journalist (For "The Spectator")
Memphis, Tennessee (former)
Los Angeles, California (former)
Identical twins Shawn and Taylor Carpenter originally played Will. They were only six weeks old when they started, and they portrayed Will from babyhood until six years old (1995 to 2002). In 2002, Days decided they wanted a trained young actor playing Will, and nine-year-old Darian Weiss was cast, and the character was rapidly-aged three years. A year later (2003), Christopher Gerse took over as Will. Gerse was able to attend regular school whilst working on Days, including playing on his school's basketball team, just like his character. In 2005, Days were again planning to rapidly age Will, and were "actively seeking out a new actor to play the role" — but the plans were shelved when new storyline for the younger Will "became available", and Gerse was retained to "preserve the believability of Alison Sweeney and Bryan Dattilo as his parents". Will was not aged again, and Gerse continued until 2007 when Will was temporarily written out (by having the character go to live with his uncle and aunt in Switzerland). In addition, for one episode in January 2008, Gerse provided Will's voice for a phonecall.
In 2009, Will now sixteen, was reintroduced with actor Dylan Patton. In 2010 the role was again recast with Chandler Massey, the first adult in the role, reportedly to facilitate a new storyline. Before he started, Massey watched as many old episodes as he could find to familiarize himself with the character. In 2013, his younger brother Christian played Will in flashbacks for the episode of February 8. In June 2013, after Massey's second Emmy win, he told reporters he would vacate the role to return to university when his current contract expired. Executive Producer Ken Corday said, "I wish he would stay. I keep telling him to change his mind, don't go away .... The door will always be open here to Chandler. We are not going to recast Will, but I wish him well". Massey said he supported a recast, saying "I don’t want Will and Sonny to break up. I want them to be together forever and go off and get married", and "I want what is best for WilSon!"
In August 2013, it was reported Massey had left Days, and the show had recast due to the character's current storyline "and the timely discovery of new talent"; and in September 2013, it came out that Guy Wilson was cast in the role of Will. Wilson later revealed that when he tested for the role with his costar Freddie Smith, Smith did not know that Wilson was reading for the role of Will, saying "I wasn't supposed to tell him". Wilson said "the whole experience was a soap opera, because everyone knew something that someone else didn't know." Smith said the on-screen switch between Massey and Wilson would happen as quick as the news of the recast, saying, "If you blink and open your eyes, you’ll be like, 'Wait, there's a new Will?!' ... It’s literally just 'BOOM!'" Wilson first appeared on January 8, 2014, and his last airdate was October 13, 2015, with the character portrayed as dead.
On May 8, 2017, Entertainment Weekly announced that Massey was reprising the role of Will, airing in September. Massey told the publication: "I am so excited to be bringing Will back [...] I can’t wait for the fans to see what we have planned"; and Wilson expressed "joy" about Will's revival, and happiness that Massey was "back in the saddle as the steward of such an important LGBTQ icon". Massey made his return in the episode of September 15, 2017. In February 2020, it was revealed that Massey was let go from the serial, with his last expecting appearance scheduled for September 18, 2020.
Will is born to Sami Brady via Caesarean section. Sami has convinced herself, and everyone else, that Austin Reed is the father, and Austin welcomes Will as his own. But when Will has an accident as a child, his blood is tested, and Sami then realizes that Lucas Horton must be Will's real father. In order not to lose Austin, Sami says nothing, and changes hospital records so no one knows – but her brother Eric Brady and sister Carrie Brady uncover the truth, just before she is to marry Austin. The wedding is stopped, and over the following years, Will is centric to several custody battles between his parents. In addition, he is caught up in the bitter feud between Sami and Kate Roberts, who is the mother of both Austin and Lucas. Despite his turbulent upbringing, for many years Will is a quiet, eager to please little boy. He loves both Austin and Lucas, and he gets upset when he cannot see them, and when his father Lucas is in a coma after a fire. However, after Lucas takes him on holiday to Africa in the summer of 2002, Will becomes spoiled, bold, and at times obnoxious. He cheekily talks back to his parents and calls them by their first names. He also starts to play rough with other children and ends up hurting his cousin Abigail Deveraux on more than one occasion. Everyone worries that his unstable home life is the cause of his antics. Eventually his childish behavior subsides. But when a serial killer (the Salem Stalker) begins offing his relatives he gets afraid - and it doesn't help that both his parents are, for a time, suspects! Will comes home from school one day with a black-eye, after he has gotten into a fight defending his parents honor. Will does everything he can to get his parents together, so that he can be like "other kids" with a father and mother who live together. Several times it seems that Will's dream is going to come true, but Sami, or his grandma Kate, usually manage to throw a spanner in the works. So when Lucas marries Sami's sister Carrie, and Sami gets engaged to Austin, Will is happy, as he loves both his aunt and uncle, and his parents. But when Sami jilts Austin at the altar, Will cannot cope and runs away to Chicago. Sami fears he has been kidnapped and goes onto the news to plea for his safe return. When Will returns, he is surprised to find out the kerfuffle he has caused. Carrie has an affair with Austin and they leave Salem together, and Lucas moves back in with Will and Sami. Will is pleased to have his parents together once more, and to his delight, Lucas and Sami become engaged. They marry despite Kate's attempts to stop them, and Will is over-the-moon that his dream has finally come true. But his happiness does not last, as crime lord Stefano DiMera tells Sami she has to divorce Lucas and marry Stefano's son EJ DiMera to end the longstanding Brady-DiMera feud. When she refuses, Sami's step-dad (Will's "grandpa John") is killed (or so they think). Sami gives birth to twins, and the girl (Allie Horton) is Lucas's, but the boy (Johnny DiMera) is EJ's – and this is due to EJ having raped Sami on a night she made love to Lucas. Sami decides that the only way she can protect the lives of her family is to marry EJ, but Will is furious that his family is being torn apart by EJ. He is so upset that he does something very rash, that is only revealed years later. After Sami and EJ are married, Will is brought home to Lucas by a police office who finds him underage-drinking. Will doesn't want to be in Salem any more – and wants to go live with his Uncle Austin and Aunt Carrie in Switzerland. His dad agrees to this, and Will leaves America. Six weeks later, Sami phones Will to tell him that his dad has been arrested for the shooting of EJ.
After his dad is released from prison, and his mom divorces EJ, Will returns to Salem in February 2009. Disappointed his parents are not back together, Will is stunned when his mom tells him she has adopted a new baby – Grace DiMera. Sami is lying to Will, as in truth, she got pregnant by EJ, and after divorcing EJ, gave birth to a daughter – and the "adoption" is Sami's way to keep EJ from knowing. Will meets and befriends Mia McCormick, who like Will, is a new student at school. Mia encourages Will to accept Grace as his sister. Mia and Will start dating, but Will realizes she is keeping secrets. Eventually, it comes out that Mia herself had a baby in secret after getting pregnant by an ex-boyfriend, Chad DiMera. She gave away her daughter to Nicole Walker, the new wife of EJ DiMera: the plan being that Nicole, who had just miscarried EJ's child (and not told him), would pass the baby off as hers and EJ's. Will and Sami are distraught when Grace contracts meningitis and dies. Will is further hit when Sami tells Will that Grace was his biological (half) sister. Five months later, everyone is shocked to find out Nicole had surreptitiously swapped Mia's baby with Sami's baby (who she knew was EJ's child) just after their births, and has been bringing up Sami's daughter (named Sydney DiMera) from the start. Mia learns her daughter, Grace, is dead. And Sami is re-united with Sydney; and Will meets his new sister. After a break, Will and Mia start dating again, but when Mia two-times Will with Chad, Will breaks up with her. Despite starting out as rivals for Mia's love, Will and Chad become friends. Chad also befriends Will's best mate − Tad "T" Stevens. Will's mom marries the former FBI agent and policeman Rafe Hernandez, and Will loves living with them and his three young siblings as a family. His friend Gabi Hernandez is Rafe's young sister, and Will begins dating her. They graduate high school together, and on graduation day, they meet Sonny Kiriakis, who has just returned to town after traveling the world. Will and Sonny quickly become friends, and Will learns Sonny is gay. After befriending Sonny, Will avoids being intimate with Gabi, and she ends the relationship. Will catches Sami cheating on Rafe with EJ, and in an angry and upset mood, he goes to a party with Sonny, gets drunk and kisses a young man named Neil. Will talks about the kiss with his grandmother Marlena Evans, who promises him her support and love. His grandma Kate also supports and accepts him, saying she has known for a long time. Will confides in Sonny that he is not ready to come out as gay, and, trying to resist his sexuality, he has a one-night stand with Gabi that results in a pregnancy. As Will enters into a relationship with Sonny, Gabi, with Will's agreement, pretends that the baby has been fathered by her new boyfriend Nick Fallon, who is Will's second cousin. Will and Sonny split when the paternity of Gabi's baby is revealed, but soon reunite. Nick doesn't want Will involved in the coming baby's life because he is gay, and when Nick discovers that it was Will, not Lucas, who had shot EJ years before, he blackmails Will to sign away his parental rights. After Will and Nick are both attacked by a former prison-mate of Nick's, and Will is shot while trying to save Nick's life, Nick relents – and Will is correctly named as baby Arianna Horton's father on her birth certificate when she is born. When they leave hospital, Gabi and Arianna move in with Will and Sonny, and together they form a three-parent family, with Gabi, Will and Sonny bringing up Arianna together.
Will marries Sonny in April 2014. Gabi rekindles her relationship with Nick, who pressures Gabi to seek a court decision that will drastically limit Will's access to his daughter. Shortly after a court date is set, Nick is shot and killed. Thinking that Sonny did it, Will confesses to protect him. This causes Gabi, the real killer, to admit to killing Nick, who she felt was a threat to her and Arianna. Gabi accepts a plea deal and goes to prison, leaving Arianna in the care of Will and Sonny. In October 2014, Will and Arianna leave Salem temporarily with Sami, who is mourning EJ's death, but they return in December 2014. Will's absence and Sonny's financial troubles with his new club have strained their relationship. Will finds out that Sonny has spent all their money, and Will plunges himself into his work as a journalist. He is assigned to interview injured star baseball player Paul Narita, whom Will soon suspects is gay but closeted. Will sees an opportunity to get an important scoop about what it is like to be a gay professional athlete, and also to help another gay man to come out. Recognizing that Will is keen to confirm that he is gay, Paul seduces Will into bed with him. Will is immediately remorseful, but he continues to interview Paul and encourages Paul to come out to the world in his article, sharing his own coming-out story with him. What Will doesn't know is that Paul is Sonny's ex, to whom Sonny had proposed to before he had met Will, and Paul had only declined because he didn't think he could be an out gay athlete. Paul's athletic career is now at an end due to his injury, and unbeknownst to Will, he has already tried to get back together with Sonny. Sonny learns that Paul is Will's interview subject at the same time he hears about Will's infidelity, but he is stabbed in the park as he goes to confront them. Sonny's memory is impaired while he recovers, but when he remembers what Will has done, Sonny rejects Will and leaves Salem to convalesce. When he returns, they struggle to mend their relationship, but Will's infidelity is made public and the Kiriakis family turn against Will. Desperate to repair his marriage and terrified of losing Sonny to Paul, Will does all he can to get Paul to leave town. When this fails, Will tries playing match-maker to pair Paul with Derrick. To help things along Will shares his interview notes about Paul with Derrick, to help him win Paul's heart. But Paul realizes Derrick knows stuff he has only told Will. Sonny is furious when he finds out about Will's machinations, and leaves town again, ostensibly to take care of Kiriakis family business. Will is distraught, but he holds onto the hope that they will be re-united. Gabi is released from prison on a technicality, and Will and Arianna welcome her back into their lives. Ben Weston asks Will to be his best man in his upcoming wedding to Will's cousin, Abigail Deveraux. Will calls on Abby at the apartment she shares with Ben, to give her wedding venue information that Sonny had put together when they were engaged. Abby has to go out, but the cable guy is due to come, and Will offers to wait in the apartment. While there, Will reminisces about his own wedding, and calls Sonny (who is in Paris, and a different time zone) and leaves him an emotional voice message, admitting his fault in their breakup, and expressing his unconditional love. Afterwards, Will notices a red necktie in Ben's trash can, which makes Will think of the recent unsolved murders of two local women who were strangled with red neckties (found with their bodies). Ben arrives just as Will is holding the tie and thinking about this. Ben acts alarmingly, and Will realizes Ben is the Necktie Killer. Will tries to leave, but Ben knocks him out. Just as Will is coming to, Ben strangles Will with the tie. Will is apparently killed on October 9, 2015. Sonny is elated to get Will's message, and immediately gets ready to return to Salem, to reunite with Will. While packing, he is told Will has been murdered. Sonny is devastated, and he returns to Salem to bury his husband rather than reconcile with him. Meanwhile, Ben has made sure Chad is the prime suspect in the murders; but as Ben's relationship with Abigail self-destructs, he becomes increasingly violent and unhinged. After he nearly murders Abigail and Chad, Ben is arrested and publicly revealed as the Necktie Killer.
In 2017, it is revealed that Will did not die when he was strangled. When Will had entered Ben's apartment, he was being followed by Susan Banks, who was planning to abduct Will in an act of revenge against Sami, whom she blamed for her son EJ's death. When Ben slipped out after strangling Will, Susan and her associate Dr Wilhelm Rolf (who had revived Sami's step-dad John back when he was thought to be dead) secretly entered, and Dr Rolf found Will to be unconscious but breathing. He then injected Will with something that would make him appear to be dead. After Lucas and Sami had viewed Will in the morgue, Dr Rolf revived Will. It turns out that Will's family unwittingly buried an empty coffin at his funeral, and Will, who had lost all his memories, was taken by Susan, who took care of him, but made him believe that he was her son EJ. In the fall of 2017, Sonny and Paul Narita are to marry, and Ben escapes from Bayview Sanitarium, and crashes their double wedding with Chad and Abigail to announce that Will is alive. This is met with a high degree of skepticism, but Sonny, who thinks Will died thinking Sonny didn't love him, really wants to know the truth, and says he can't marry Paul until he knows. Sami returns to Salem to find out the truth. When investigation reveals that the claim that Will is alive originates from Dr Rolf, this ignites hope that it is true. The investigation leads to an address in Memphis, where they find Susan. Will is working at a local bar, and Lucas is the first to see him, but he is inebriated, and thinks he is hallucinating and does not realize he has really seen Will. Paul then sees Will, but is afraid to tell people in case he loses Sonny. Eventually he confesses to Sonny, and Sonny and Sami find Will, and discover that he does not recognize them, and does not believe that they are his real family. But John persuades Susan's partner Roger Fisher, whom Will trusts, to admit to Will what Susan has done. And Will, with some encouragement from Marlena, decides to return to Salem, to find out who he really is. Even meeting his daughter does not trigger Will's memory. Sami, learning that re-living a traumatic event can trigger memory, has Will assaulted and strangled again by Ben. Absolutely terrified, Will rejects his mom, and remembering; but then the intervention of Will's Uncle Eric helps bring about a rapprochement with Sami. Sonny realizes he wants to be with Will, and dumps Paul. Sonny endeavors to rebuild a relationship with Will, but Will does not remember their love. Instead, Will crushes on Paul. Will also likes Paul because he does not feel pressured to be the old Will with him, whereas he feels Sonny wants him to be someone he does not remember being. Thinking he may never remember, Will decides to divorce Sonny, believing it best for both of them. Will and Paul become friends, and when Paul suspects John of poisoning Will's Uncle Steve, they investigate together. Their adventure brings them close, and Paul develops feelings for Will. They start dating, and become a couple. Paul encourages Will to apply to be a journalist with the Salem Spectator, and Will gets the job. His first assignment is to investigate the drug that was used to revive him. Will discovers accounts of Dr. Rolf's resurrection experiments, and finds that Rolf was working on a formula to counter the amnesia side-effect. With Paul's help, Will gets the chemical synthesized, and Marlena injects it into Will at the hospital. Initially there is no effect, but later a brief memory of Will's early experience with Sonny flashes into his head. Will wants to take another dose, but the hospital board forbids it; so Will steals the remaining chemical. Worried for him, Paul is upset when he finds out Will intends to inject himself with more, but seeing Will's determination, he injects Will himself. Will gets a few more isolated snippets of memories, and then in August 2018, at the wedding of his grandma Marlena and John Black, he suddenly recalls Marlena marrying him and Sonny. Overwhelmed, he slips away from the wedding. Sonny runs into him, and Will experiences a cascade of memories of their wedding and their love together. Sonny encourages Will, and in an avalanche of recall, Will remembers his family, his love for them, and his entire life. Will remembers everything – and he and Sonny embrace and kiss.