‘Days of Our Lives’: Deidre Hall celebrates 5,000 episodes

Spending more than 45 years portraying the same character on daytime TV? For “Days of Our Lives” actor Deidre Hall, “it doesn’t get better than that.”

Hall, who plays psychiatrist Marlena Evans on NBC’s long-running daytime drama, will celebrate her 5,000th episode on Friday — a milestone she said took her by surprise.

“When we start a contract with a daytime show, we’re given 13 weeks at a time,” she told The Times on Thursday. “I was hoping for, ‘Can I have four weeks? Can I have six months?’ And that was over 40 years ago, so I couldn’t have dreamed [of this].”

In 1976, “Days” introduced Hall into the drama of its core family, the Hortons. Since then, Hall’s Dr. Marlena has saved lives, survived a plane crash and been possessed by the devil — twice.

Before landing her “Days” role, Hall said, she simply wanted a job that she could look forward to and to “do it for as long as I want.” Marlena was exactly that.

Hall made her entrance as Marlena sharing the screen with Macdonald Carey (“I was gobstruck”), Frances Reid and the “lovely” Mary Frann, who portrayed Amanda Howard.

According to Hall, her first scene “slid off the tracks.”

Deidre Hall in the 1994 “Days of Our Lives” episode “Marlena’s Exorcism.”


“I enter the scene and Macdonald Carey, Tom Horton, introduces me to everybody and he says, ‘This is Dr. Evans,’” she recalled. “And I said, ‘Oh, please call me Amanda.’ And everybody stopped … finally Mac reached over and said, ‘Darling, she’s Amanda. You’re playing a character named Marlena.’”

Hall’s Marlena quickly became a “Days” staple, but the series didn’t feel quite like home until it was continually renewed, her contract was extended and she was granted the privilege to film outside the studio on location.

“To be the person they took on location was, ‘Oh, you like me, you really like me,’” Hall said. “They had realized that this character was a fan favorite, and I sort of realized [Marlena is] a fan favorite. You like her!”

A woman and man sit on sand at the beach and laugh.

Deidre Hall and Wayne Northrop on “Days of Our Lives.”


During her time, Hall has traveled to Mexico and Carmel to film scenes with co-stars including Wayne Northrop, Drake Hogestyn and Jed Allan.

Hall, 75, has also acted alongside her twin sister, Andrea Hall, and late daytime legends Joseph Mascolo and John Aniston, who portrayed Stefano DiMera and Victor Kiriakis, respectively.

With 5,000 episodes under her belt, Deidre Hall prides herself on the connections she’s made over time — from the late fan whose letters she keeps in a box in her attic to the “deep and abiding friendships” with the people on her “Days” team.

“We know each other so incredibly well, and we know their details, their joys, their heartbreaks,” she said.

Peacock, which now streams the soap, spotlighted that camaraderie this week. On social media, co-stars including Leann Hunley, Stephen Nichols, Mary Beth Evans and Thaao Penghlis celebrated Hall’s achievement.

“You are a legend, you are daytime royalty. Thank you so, so much for being a part of our show for so long,” co-star Lucas Adams said in a video. “Five thousand episodes, that is something that we as actors would be looking forward to in our careers, and thank you so much for showing that it’s possible.”

For her work on “Days of Our Lives,” Hall has received three Daytime Emmy nominations, won five Soap Opera Digest Awards and was honored in 2016 with her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

“Playing Marlena has been a gift to me in so many ways,” Hall said.

Hall’s 5,000th “Days of Our Lives” episode streams Friday on Peacock.

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