- Marlena Evans
Marlena Evans Black Deidre Hall as Dr. Marlena Evans Black Days of our Lives Portrayed by Deidre Hall Duration 1976–1987, 1991–2009, 2011-present First appearance June 21, 1976 Created by Pat Falken Smith Profile Nickname(s) Marney
Doc, Pretty Lady, Blondie
Queen of The Night
Aliases Salem Stalker Gender Female Occupation Psychiatrist (non-practicing)
- Former Member of the Board of Directors of Titan Publishing
- Former Psychiatrist at Salem University Hospital
- Former Psychiatrist at Bayview Hospital
- Former talk show host
Title Dr. Residence Penthouse
Relationships Parents Frank Evans
Sibling(s) Samantha Evans
(twin sister; deceased)
Spouse(s) Alex North
(invalid/divorced/married; 1986–1991; 1999–2005; 2006–2008; 2009-present)
Romances Don Craig
(lovers/kissed/one night stand)
(forced kiss: May 2003; deceased)
(one date: Sept 2008; deceased)
Children Unnamed Child
(with Alex; presumed deceased)
D. J. Craig
Belle Black Brady
Grandchildren Will Horton
Aunts and uncles Robert Evans First cousins Trista Evans
Dr. Marlena Evans Black (formerly Craig, Brady and Bradford) is a long-running fictional character on the NBC daytime drama, Days of our Lives, a long running serial about working life in the fictional town of Salem. She was played by actress Deidre Hall since 1976, with a few minor breaks in between from 1987 to March 1991 and again in January 2009. 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, making her the fourth longest running actress on the serial, surpassed only by Frances Reid (Alice), John Clarke (Mickey), and Suzanne Rogers (Maggie). After a brief two-year absence, Hall once again reprised her role as Marlena on Monday, 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 and 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 storylines. 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.
Creation and casting
The character was brought in as the psychiatrist of already established character – Mickey Horton. This was originally intended to put her in contact with the soaps core family, the Hortons. 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 Hortons. She bore two children with him: Sami Brady, and Eric Brady. In addition to her children with Roman she is the mother of Belle Black.
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 Hortons. 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, 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 was quickly reunited after Drake returned and shipped off 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 will reprise 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."
Deidre Hall has won many awards for her portrayal of Marlena. She has won three Soap Opera Digest Awards for outstanding lead actress in 1984, 1985, and 1995. She won an Outstanding Contribution Award by a Lead Actress/Actor in 1986. Hall also received an award with Drake Hogestyn in 2005 for "Favorite Couple: John and Marlena". She has been nominated for a Daytime Emmy in 1980, 1984, and 1985 respectively. She has however, never won an Emmy.
Marlena has been the subject of many high-profile storylines, including possession by the devil, a romantic relationship, and a serial killer storyline.
In 1995, Marlena was featured in a supernatural possession storyline. Marlena is the first soap character in the 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." ”
Salem Stalker and Melaswen Island
Days of our Lives had been losing viewers in early 2000. 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 were shocked to see long-term veteran James Reynolds (Abe Carver) shot at his front doorstep by a strange cloaked figure. Next, viewers saw Jack Deveraux (Matthew Ashford) attacked, and killed with a brick by the same cloaked figure that killed Abe. 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 Tony DiMera. Tony is dying at the hospital and 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. Marlena subsequently murders Alice by chocking 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 makes its craziest decision yet. All the victims are brought back alive 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 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.
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) sudser. 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.
First Run (1976–1987)
Dr. Marlena Evans makes her debut in 1976 as one of Mickey Horton's psychiatrists at the University Hospital in Salem. This puts her in close contact with the soap's core family, the Hortons. This also allows her to meet her first new lover in Salem, Don Craig (Mickey's assistant). In 1977, a prominent storyline quickly started involving Marlena's jealous twin sister, Samantha, (played by Hall's real life twin, Andrea Hall). Samantha comes to Salem as an out of work actress with a serious drug problem. Samantha impersonates Marlena and has her institutionalized. Marlena makes a quick attempt to escape and contact Don, but Samantha catches on. Samantha (impersonating Marlena) orders shock treatments on her sister to keep her under control. Don, noticing an extreme personality difference in Marlena, starts suspecting that something is up. With the help of Laura Horton he releases Marlena, and has Samantha arrested. He proposes to Marlena, and the two are married later that year. During this time, Marlena flies to Samantha's prison to make peace with her. The two share a heartfelt reconciliation. Marlena gives birth to a premature son they called DJ. He died of SIDS, which caused a rift between the couple. Don had an affair and the couple divorced soon after.
In 1981, Marlena begins spending a lot of time with Kellam Chandler. After Marlena refuses Kellam's advances toward her, he rapes her. Kellam is killed by his son Todd hours later and at the trial that followed, Marlena testifies that Kellam had raped her that night, helping Todd's case. Following this, Marlena received some hasty rape counseling. Later that year, Marlena is given her own radio show. Marlena begins to receive threatening phone calls and letters to her and her radio show. While being stalked by the Salem Strangler, Marlena meets Detective Roman Brady, who becomes her bodyguard and then her beau. The Salem Strangler breaks into Marlena's apartment and kills her twin sister Samantha, mistaking her for Marlena. Soon afterward, the Salem Strangler attacks Marlena and is killed by Roman Brady.
After Marlena mourns the loss of her sister, she resumes her relationship with Roman and the two become engaged. Roman's estranged wife Anna arrives in Salem in the fall of 1982 with their young daughter Carrie. Anna causes trouble for Roman but eventually she grants him a divorce. Roman receives custody of Carrie and is free to marry Marlena. Roman Brady and Marlena Evans are married in February 1983. The following year, shortly after she delivered their twins, Sami and Eric Brady Roman is shot by Stefano DiMera, and is presumed dead by everyone. Marlena, who once thought that she had fatally shot Stefano, is kidnapped several times over the years.
In 1986, Marlena takes in John Black as her patient; he has amnesia and she is determined to help him recover his past. John and Marlena spend a lot of time together, and the pair fall in love. However, John seems to know a lot about Stefano DiMera, leading Marlena to suspect his real identity is Stefano DiMera, especially after she sees a Phoenix tattooed on his back. Later, Marlena finds a file of a plastic surgeon which contains before and after shots of both Roman and John. Marlena becomes convinced that John is Roman, and over time John took on the role of Roman. Marlena is later trying to talk down a suicidal jumper when she falls from a window ledge. Marlena lays in a coma, near death for a month. When she finally recovers, she and "Roman" renewed their vows on August 22, 1986. In his years with the ISA, Roman worked with a man named Orpheus. Roman accidentally killed Orpheus' wife while on assignment. To get back at Roman, Orpheus kidnaps Marlena and fakes her death. Roman shoots and kills Orpheus, but before he could rescue Marlena, she is killed in a plane crash. No body is recovered.
Second Run (1991–2009)
In reality, Marlena had survived the plane crash and was in a coma. Sometime during this period, Stefano Dimera gets possession of Marlena and hides her on an island. Marlena is kept in a drug induced coma where she would awake from for brief periods of time. She is impregnated with genetically engineered twins which she gives birth to on the island. The twins are taken away from her shortly afterward. Marlena has no recollection of this experience until 2003. In the summer of 1991, she finally awakes from the coma and eventually makes her way back to Salem. She and "Roman" are reunited for the first time in years, but she also has memories of Roman being with her on the island. To complicate matters, Roman has become engaged to Isabella Toscano, the daughter of crime lord Victor Kiriakis, who is pregnant with his child. It is revealed that the man everyone believed is Roman from 1986–1991, is in fact a brainwashed victim of Stefano. The real Roman has been held captive in a jungle prison, but he makes his way back to Salem and Marlena. She is conflicted about her feelings for Roman and his substitute, who goes back to his real name, John Black. Marlena and Roman are reunited, while John goes on to marry Isabella Toscano. Isabella soon gives birth to a son that she and John name Brady.
In 1992 a jealous, crazed Stella Lombard, who is convinced that Marlena wants to steal her husband, Roger, holds Marlena captive in the boiler pit of an abandoned warehouse. John saves Marlena before the warehouse is demolished. After John's wife dies of cancer, John decides to leave Salem. Before doing so, he and Marlena give into their love and have a one-night tryst that produces baby Belle. When Belle's paternity becomes known, Roman divorces Marlena and leaves town. By then, however, John is involved with Kristen Blake. Kristen tells John that she is pregnant with their child, and Marlena decides to keep the secret of Kristen's involvement with Stefano, for fear that Kristen might miscarry. It takes months for Marlena to discover that Kristen had miscarried and is using a pregnant look-alike named Susan Banks to deceive everyone. The baby that Kristen and John are supposed to raise is really Little Elvis, Susan's child by Stefano DiMera. Before Marlena can reveal the truth, she is locked in a secret room by Kristen, who in turn finds herself locked in there by Susan. This time, Marlena's good friend, Laura Horton, comes to her aid, and rescues them both. The truth is revealed, and John and Marlena get engaged. John and Marlena are set to marry in the summer of 1997 but before they are married, Kristen returns to Salem with Roman Brady, who had supposedly died.
Marlena learns that Roman is dying, and that Kristen had told him Marlena was no longer involved with John. Once cured, Roman discovers the truth, and despite his efforts, Marlena and John reunite. The couple takes over a year to get married due to Kristen's apparent murder, and Sami being on death row. Marlena finally marries John Black on July 5, 1999, and the couple leave Salem for a romantic honeymoon in Hawaii. After appearing to drown, John is brainwashed and has sex with Hope Williams Brady, who is brainwashed into believing she was Princess Gina. After recovering, John and Marlena travel to Africa and John's son Brady moves in and causes problems for the couple. Marlena takes a job as a radio talk show host and hires Nancy Wesley as her assistant, though she had bad ratings. When she couldn't go on the air one day, Nancy takes over for her and brings in excellent ratings. The couple faces another strain when John reveals that he fathered Hope's baby, though it turns out that Bo was in fact the baby's father. By 2002, John and Marlena had sorted out their problems and decide to renew their vows. The couple are happy until Tony DiMera returns from the grave, and the Gemini Twins, Rex and Cassie, seemingly fall from the sky. Marlena counsels Tony, as she attempts to unravel the truth about the twins' origin. It is finally revealed that Marlena had given birth to the twins during the time she was in a coma. She comes to believe that she and Tony are their parents, though it turns out she was only their surrogate mother, as Kate and Roman are their biological parents.
A specialist named Alex North is brought in to care for Marlena, and she appears to fall in love with him. When John confronts Alex, Alex reveals that he and Marlena had once been married over 30 years ago, but he had been presumed dead in Vietnam. Marlena falls victim to selective amnesia upon learning the news, causing Alex to specialize in treating amnesiacs. Alex also reveals that he and Marlena had a baby, but never reveals what happened to their child. The name, gender and whereabouts of this child have never been revealed to this day. It is later learned that there was never really a child, and that Alex had lied. Since Alex and Marlena's marriage has never been dissolved, Marlena's previous marriages to Don, Roman, and John were all invalid. Lois Banks, an acquaintance from medical school, comes to town and tells John that Alex is an abusive husband. John becomes suspicious of Lois, and uncovers a plot between her and Alex to kill Marlena. Alex manages to murder Lois and renew his wedding vows with Marlena. By the time that Alex is proven to be a fraud, he had taken Marlena away on a honeymoon. Alex tries to kill John in a cabin explosion, but Marlena is injured and briefly regains her memory before Alex drugs her to erase it. Alex takes Marlena to Morgan Island but John soon finds them and, after a shootout and scuffle, Alex falls over a cliff and is presumed dead.
Before she can reconcile with John, Marlena tells him that she needs a short separation so that she could get her life back on track. A person who is obscured from view except for one gloved hand, began playing cruel games with the entire Brady family, and Marlena receives a mysterious job offer to lead a women's empowerment program in New Jersey. Soon after arriving, Marlena mysteriously disappears and blood is found in her hotel room. John goes to search for her and soon finds her bound and tied up in a crate in a storage room. When Steve and Kayla are poisoned, Marlena and John fly to Canada to get a drug that might help them. When their plane began to lose altitude Marlena agrees to jump from the plane, and is rescued by Smokey Robinson who helps her reconnect with John. After saving Steve and Kayla, Marlena and John reveal that Elvis Jr., now going by the name EJ Wells, is the person behind the glove. The couple go to Italy to investigate the DiMera family after hearing that Stefano might be alive. After renewing their wedding vows, they find Stefano, who appears to be dying. When he gives John the Death tarot card, Marlena makes him promise not to get involved with the DiMera troubles again. John, however, decides to help Roman stake-out EJ, who put John into a coma after shooting him.
John's Death and Return
Marlena joins the hunt for the reasons behind the Brady/DiMera feud, while keeping John on life support. John then comes out of his coma, and helps Marlena and the others on their quest. John is hit by a car and seemingly dies on October 17, 2007. As is often the case in Salem, characters rarely die. On January 8, 2008, EJ discovers John in the basement of the DiMera mansion, being programed by Stefano to become a super soldier. After he is discovered by the police, Marlena struggles to help John remember. It is discovered that John is the child of Shawn Brady's sister Colleen, and Stefano's father, Santo DiMera, and that is the reason for the feud. After Stefano's father confesses his love, Colleen fakes her own death and he hates her family for the rest of his life and instilled that hate into his son. He becomes obsessed with becoming a full blooded DiMera; he moves into the DiMera mansion and asks Marlena to follow. Now, they live there with her daughter Sami, EJ Wells, and Sami's ex-husband, Lucas Horton.
Also in the house are Marlena's twin grandchildren Alli and Johnny, one fathered by EJ and the other by Lucas. There is now an even larger problem due to the fact that John has just been arrested for drug trafficking. Marlena doesn't know the new him very well, but she knows he would never do this. With EJ as his lawyer, they move on to a new chapter proving John's innocence and keep him out of prison. EJ succeeds in keeping John free, and Marlena continues to try to help him remember, but to no avail. Stefano wakes up from a coma (after Marlena purposely sends him into a comatose state in January 2008), and intends on getting revenge on Marlena and taking the DiMera empire back from John. He causes her to fall into a coma the exact way she did him. However, Marlena's deceased twin Samantha Evans appears to her, and helps her wake up. John relinquishes his control of the empire to Stefano, but their divorce and John's amnesia continued. After a three year absence from the show, Marlena is set to return to Salem with John on September 26, 2011.
At the time of her departure from the serial, Marlena was the fourth longest running Days of our Lives character. Her outrageous storylines and long suffering nature have led her to be labeled a soap legend and television icon. She is widely known even outside of the Days of our Lives viewer base. The character is a legend, and is known for reinventing the genre by adding a supernatural mix.
Deidre Hall has won many awards for her portrayal of Marlena. She has won three Soap Opera Digest Awards for outstanding lead actress in 1984, 1985 and 1995. She won an Outstanding Contribution Award by a Lead Actress/Actor in 1986. Hall also received an award with Drake Hogestyn in 2005 for "Favorite Couple: John and Marlena". She has been nominated for a Daytime Emmy in 1980, 1984, and 1985. She has however, never won an Emmy.
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- Character biography: Marlena Evans at soapcentral.com
- Dr. Marlena Evans at Soaps.com
- Days of our Lives character biography: Dr. Marlena Evans Profile at NBC.com
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