Thinking Fans Comment Update: John says “Deidre’s Marlena is imo the greatest soap heroine ever” … though Alan Ryan prefers the Dr. Marlena Evans of the 70s and 80s … and more. See Comments below.
By Marlena De Lacroix
In 1986 I was given an assignment by a major women’s magazine to interview Deidre Hall, the star of Days of Our Lives, who had just premiered in a primetime show called Our House.
I had been a Days fan for a long time, and had always been fascinated by how perfect, even-tempered and all-American Deidre seemed, both on and off the screen. (There was certainly no one who looked or acted like Dr. Marlena in ethnic Queens where I grew up!) The angle of the story I proposed was to find the “real” Deidre Hall. So I went to Los Angeles, where I followed Dee for two weeks. She was not very enthusiastic about talking to me. Quelle disaster! Boy, was I naïve in those days. I went home without a story.
But 22 years later I finally understand why Deidre did what she did. She did it to protect her image. To be a great star, to stand at the very pinnacle of the whole genre, one has to project regal munificence and perfection, so fans will worship you
A great, great star, she’s delivered the goods for 32 years. Has Ken Corday really fired his biggest star, Deidre Hall, for good?
and follow you — for decades. Having been a very hard working professional for decades now, I can finally see and respect all the work Deidre has put into maintaining an image and a career.
Like Susan Lucci, the other great female superstar of soaps over the last forty years, Deidre has to be on at all times, a full-time star. Deidre has had to represent Days at public appearances and network functions. She’s had to be kind and treat her fans right, doing endless publicity in her screen persona. And that’s in addition to 32 years of frontburning storylines as one of the show’s lead characters. Deidre is very, very, very smart, both politically and personally. She has done all of the above to perfection, and no soap star has treated her fan club better. She has worked very hard. Like Lucci, no one has ever questioned that soap fans absolutely love and adore her.
And look at all she has brought to Days over 32 years She is gorgeous and no soap character has been more compassionate than Dr. Evans. Marlena can be kind, loving, maternal, loyal. Deidre can play a believable scene with just about anybody. She also has a great sense of humor, and as demonstrated in her relationship with the virile Don, played by Jed Allan, and her early relationship with the original Roman, played by Wayne Northrop. She is wonderful at being playful and has real comic charm. Few soap couples have been as charming or as versatile as Don and Marlena. What they brought us was so rare; their characters and their relationship were so supremely adult. Days in the 70s was so great!
And when the late headwriter Jim Reilly came along in 1992 and turned her Marlena into someone who needed an exorcism, Hall went along with it smartly. She took a big risk, but the story’s notoriety gave her career an instant rebirth. In private conversation, Reilly would rarely comment about his actors. If you said an actor was bad, he said, “hello?” like he certainly knew that already. If he agreed with something you said he would reply with “I’m telling ya.” Or would he just laugh to confirm your observations. One time I told him that I liked the work Deidre had done in a storyline. It was the only time I ever heard him utter a full sentence about an actor: “When you have the best, you use the best.”
So really, fans, what difference does it make what Deidre Hall is really like privately? A great, great star, she’s delivered the goods for 32 years. Has Ken Corday really fired his biggest star, Deidre Hall, for good?
Remember, in show biz, nothing is ever what it seems to be.