Thinking Fans Comment Update: James sees Deidre’s departure as another nail in Days’ coffin … and more. See Comments below.
By Patrick Erwin
I’ve watched Deidre Hall as Dr. Marlena Evans on Days of Our Lives since Marlena came to Salem in 1976. By some miracle of good living and genetics, Hall looks almost the same now as she did then. (I, on the other hand, have far more crow’s feet and far less hair than I did then!)
Like all good soap opera viewing habits, I got hooked on DAYS because it was one of Mom’s favorites. Her two favorite characters were a study in contrasts. There was Julie, whose ability to suffer was so all-encompassing it was almost operatic in nature. And then there was Marlena, whose combination of cool intelligence and warm sensuality was hard to ignore. It’s no wonder the character, and Hall, became an instant hit.
It’s actually a testament to Hall’s tremendous popularity and appeal that Marlena became the linchpin of the show. After all, characters like Erica on All My Children and Viki on One Live to Live have been carefully woven into the canvas since day one. Even Guiding Light‘s Reva has some deep roots with the Lewis family on that show’s canvas.
But Marlena had virtually no family (other than sister Samantha). Today’s soap writers might do well to take note that Marlena came on as a friend and colleague of Mickey Horton. Since we cared about Mickey, we came to care about Marlena, too. No matter how crazy the storyline became (demonic possession, anyone?) Hall played Marlena with grace and consistency. And she and Drake Hogestyn (John) still have amazing chemistry.
Marlena has always remained a smart and savvy character, but I do think that the DAYS supercouple machine may have blurred Marlena’s edges as an individual. When and if Hall and Marlena return to Salem, here’s hoping the show finds a way to remind us why we love Marlena on her own as well as part of the iconic love she shares with John.