What The Days Of Our Lives Original Cast Looks Like Today

Since 1965, just like sands through the hourglass, "Days of Our Lives" has been spinning out hour-long episodes to its millions of fans all over the world. The Daytime Emmy-winning show is the longest-running drama on NBC, and the show's patriarch MacDonald Carey, who played Tom Horton, captured the win for Outstanding Lead Actor at the very first Daytime Emmys in 1974. The show has also won 4 People's Choice Awards, and in 1984, when the first Soap Opera Digest Awards were held, "Days of Our Lives" won every daytime category!

The show, which highlights the lives of the Bradys, Hortons, DiMeras, and Kiriakis' in the small, fictional, midwest town of Salem, has given the soap opera world some of our most unique and beloved characters. Ones who are heroes, villains, and many times both the hero and the villain, committing dastardly deeds one minute and redeeming themselves the next by saving the day — like the infamous Sami Brady played by Alison Sweeney or possessed by the devil Marlena Evans, played by Diedre Hall. 

Many of these outstanding characters — and the actors who have played them — have stood the test of time, being showcased in the early years of the show and returning again and again, proving just how loyal fans are to the show, the characters, and the actors themselves. Keep reading to learn more about some of the original cast of "Days of Our Lives" and what they look like today.

Deidre Hall

Deidre Hall, who portrays resident psychiatrist Marlena Evans, first showed up in Salem way back in 1976 and is still appearing on the show today. Of course her character wasn't on "DOOL" continuously for the last 46 years, but her presence was always felt. No matter what the writers put her through, be it kidnapping, explosions, or demonic possessions, she always persevered.

And Hall hasn't limited herself to the soap opera world. She's appeared in several television series like her regular role on "Our House" and "Electra Woman and Dyna Girl," as well as "Wiseguy." She also appeared in a string of TV Movies in the late 80s to mid-90s like "Woman on the Ledge" and "Night Sins."

But Hall's fans didn't want her to be gone from Salem for too long, and she always seemed to make her way back. After a two-year hiatus starting in 2009, Hall returned as Marlena "Doc" Evans in 2011 and has stayed ever since. Ten years later, the writers decided to bring back one of the craziest storylines in soap opera history: her possession by the devil. Thankfully, Satan was once again exorcized — after jumping from Marlena to a few other Salem residents — and all is well with Dr. Marlena Evans and Salem — at least for a little while.

Drake Hogestyn

In 1986, Drake Hogestyn joined the cast of "Days of Our Lives" known only as The Pawn, an amnesiac covered in bandages who eventually chose the name John Black. Not long after, it was revealed that he was Roman Brady, whom everyone thought was dead. At the time, Roman was married to Marlena Evans so the two reunited and lived as husband and wife. But, it turned out, the mystery man was actually not Roman, and the real Roman had been held hostage and returned to Salem, leaving "the pawn" to search for his identity. Of course, John and Marlena couldn't just turn off the feelings they'd developed during their time together, and though John had other women in his life, he couldn't stop thinking about Marlena. So began a torrid love affair between the two, even producing a child — Belle — from their tryst.

After finally reuniting with his precious "Doc," John Black made it his mission to fight Stefano DiMera and any other bad guys that dare show up in Salem. Unfortunately, the cost of that was a slew of harrowing, life-threatening incidents that tore the couple apart again and again. No worries, though, because every "DOOL" fan knows what happens when couples reunite after a catastrophe — yes, a wedding! And just how many times have John and Marlena walked down the aisle. That would be six, according to a 2018 Entertainment Weekly article.

Kristian Alfonso

Well, they didn't have a "ship" name like "Bope" or thankfully not "Hobo," but there's no doubt one of daytime's first supercouples was Bo and Hope. The princess and the rebel have been a long-time favorite of soap opera fans for decades. Hope Williams — eventually Brady — first showed up on "Days of Our Lives" in 1983. Played by Kristian Alfonso, Hope basically grew up on the show starting in her teens — though Alfonso herself was 20 at the time. Only a year into her role, one of the most memorable scenes in "DOOL" history occurred when Hope was set to marry another man, and Bo rode in on a stolen police motorcycle, kidnapping Hope. Of course, they eventually married themselves, worked side by side to catch the bad guys, had children, and eventually grandchildren over the years, before Bo sadly passed away.

Like many actors on the show, Alfonso had some gaps where her character was not in Salem, and the actor made excellent use of her time, appearing on several other popular televisions shows And some TV movies, to boot. From 1988 to 1990, Alfonso had a recurring role on "Falcon Crest" and from 1993 to 1994 she appeared on the Aaron Spelling drama, "Melrose Place."

In 2020, Alfonso was off the show again, but she did appear in "Beyond Salem," a "DOOL" spin-off mini-series in 2022. However, she told Soap Opera Digest that her appearance does not mean she's returning to the regular show.

Peter Reckell

As the quintessential dark-haired love interest, Bo Brady, played by Peter Reckell, arrived on scene in 1983 as the youngest Brady sibling, with a leather jacket and full beard, riding a motorcycle and tantalizing the ladies with his wide smile. His rebellious days didn't last long, though, as his character went from rebel to vigilante to upstanding hero. Despite finding out he was the illegitimate child of Victor Kiriakis, Bo had a good run, marrying his "fancy face," as he called Hope, becoming a detective, and raising a family. Unfortunately, Bo died of a brain tumor in 2016, devastating not just his family, but all the fans of the show who loved Peter Reckell as Bo Brady.

While "Days of Our Lives" is no stranger to bringing characters back from the dead, typically that involves them either being alive again or everyone learning that they weren't actually dead. In Bo's case, he came back as an angel for two episodes, just when his family and Salem needed him most: when the devil returned to Salem. 

Like Kristian Alfonso, Reckell appeared in "Beyond Salem." Reckell told TV Insider he was excited to get to play Bo again. "Anybody who's watched the show since we've been on and since '83, you will love this because you'll go, 'Oh, I remember that, oh I remember that,'" Reckell shared with the publication.

Mary Beth Evans

Kayla Brady Johnson is another long-time fan favorite character on "Days of Our Lives." Though the role first belonged to Catherine Mary Stewart in 1982, Kayla has been portrayed by Mary Beth Evans since 1986 when she met Steve Johnson aka Patch, played by Stephen Nichols, and became his "Sweetness." In terms of drama and harrowing experiences, this couple gave Bo and Hope a run for their money — one storyline had Kayla attacked and losing her hearing, and Steve learned sign language so he could communicate with her.

But no one gets to be happy for long in Salem, and eventually Kayla moved away in 1992, which meant Evans was off the show for what ended up being 14 years. And according to her IMDb page, she made incredible use of her time. First, Evans went from Salem to Port Charles, appearing as Katherine Bell on "General Hospital," a grittier role than the sweet Kayla. That was until Katherine died in 1999. She also appeared in the spin-off "Port Charles" as well as "As the World Turns."

Evans also opened an apple pie business in 2005, the year before she returned to "DOOL" to resume her role as Kayla, but her appearances didn't always pair up with those of her on-screen partner Steve, and that was difficult for the character as well as the actor. "We talked and would do lunch a lot during the time he was off, but it never feels the same to me when he's not there," she told TV Goodness.

Stephen Nichols

One of the most iconic and lovable characters on "Days of Our Lives" is Steve "Patch" Johnson, thug-turned-PI and devoted husband. With his signature patch over one eye, Steve, played by Stephen Nichols, joined the cast in 1985. In 2020, Soap Opera Digest published a #TBT article from 1988 in which Nichols shared how he developed the role of Steve, adding to the rebel image his own touch of humor and unique vocabulary. His work took the character from stereotypical to exceptional. "'Days of Our Lives' is that way," he told the publication. "They follow the actor's lead. They bring in a person for a small part, and if that person is creating something that really stands out, they go with it."

More than 30 years later, fans still love Patch, and the powers that be continue to bring him back. During Nichols's breaks from the show, he appeared on other soaps like "General Hospital" as Stefan Cassadine and on "The Young and the Restless" as Tucker McCall.

But it would seem "DOOL" is home for Nichols just as Salem is home for Steve. The actor, who started his life on the path to becoming a monk, is just as fond of his co-star Mary Beth Evans, as she is of him. He told "After Buzz TV" in 2017, "From the very beginning, she and I were just made for each other, as acting partners. I've never had a partner like her ever in all of my career."

Josh Taylor

Josh Taylor is a "Days of Our Lives" veteran, having started on the show way back in 1977. But while he's currently playing former police chief and owner of The Brady Pub, Roman Brady, he actually started on the show as a different character. For ten years, Taylor played the character of Chris Kositchek, a lawyer and, ironically, manager of a bar called Shenanigans. During Taylor's stint as Chris, Roman Brady was introduced in 1981, played by Wayne Northrop.

Chris went off the show in 1987, and Taylor scored some pretty impressive television roles. He played Michael Hogan in the popular primetime sitcom "The Hogan Family," originally titled, "Valerie." He also played Dylan McKay's father on "Beverly Hills 90210." Then, in 1997, executives threw "DOOL" fans for a major loop when they brought Taylor back to "Days of Our Lives," but recast him in the role of Roman Brady, eldest of the Brady siblings. Prior to this, Roman had been played by Drake Hogestyn for a few years, but it was discovered that he wasn't actually Roman, so Northrop stepped back in to reprise his role from 1991 to 1994. At this point, it seemed anything goes, not just in Salem, but on set.

The gamble paid off and after a bit of growing pains, Taylor's version of Roman Brady was accepted and has stood the test of time with fans. As Taylor shared at the 50th anniversary of the show, the fans are an important part of it all, adding, "Our fans have always been incredibly loyal."

Suzanne Rogers

In 1965, when "Days of Our Lives" first started airing, the Horton family was the main focus of the show. When Maggie Simmons, played by Suzanne Rogers, married Mickey Horton in 1975, she became a Horton and has been a staple of the show ever since. Like many "DOOL" characters, she's experienced a lot of drama, including being paralyzed, alcoholism, memory loss, and attempts on her life.

While Rogers doesn't hold the record for the most episodes under her belt, her character is definitely one of the most consistent, appearing in every season since she started. In 1984, Rogers had to leave for a short time due to her diagnosis of Myasthenia Gravis, a rare muscular disease that affected her facial muscles. When she returned, she asked that her diagnosis be written into the show for Maggie in order to spread awareness of the disease. This was another opportunity for Maggie to persevere, as well. That is, until she was killed off in 2003 by the Salem Stalker. But don't worry, it was an elaborate hoax, and in a controversial move, the writers brought back everyone who was killed.

In 2010, Mickey Horton died and the writers thrust Maggie into an opposites attract scenario with ruthless Greek businessman Victor Kiriakis. This was a win-win as Victor was able to show his soft side due to his love for Maggie, whereas Maggie got to test the limits of her typically by-the-book persona.

Susan Seaforth Hayes

Holding the top spot for most senior actor on the show, Susan Seaforth Hayes is about as close as you will get to an original cast member of "Days of Our Lives." While the first episode aired in 1965, Hayes's character, Julie Olson, didn't appear until 1968. But considering that means she's been on the show for 54 years, that's nothing to sneeze at. And when Julie met Doug Williams in 1970, they become American soap opera's first "supercouple" both on and offscreen. You see, Bill Hayes married Susan in 1974 and Doug and Julie tied the knot in 1976.

Seaforth Hayes actually had quite the television career before she landed "DOOL," appearing in a couple dozen TV shows starting in 1953, such as "The Danny Thomas Show," "The Young Marrieds," and "Dragnet 1967." She also manned a recurring role on "Young and the Restless," which didn't always match up with her breaks from "Days of Our Lives," so the actor was pulling double duty.

Certainly Seaforth Hayes has seen incredible change over the course of the show — the storylines, the actors coming and going. In 2018, along with Bill Hayes, Seaforth Hayes won the Daytime Emmy Lifetime Achievement Award. She shared with TV Insider her reaction upon hearing about the award. "Truly stunned, because we have been on the show forever, but we haven't necessarily been in the limelight for quite a while, so it was just a great surprise," she said.

Bill Hayes

Bill Hayes first appeared on "Days of Our Lives” in 1970. Like his wife, Susan Seaforth Hayes, he also had a burgeoning career in television prior to being on the show, appearing in movies like "Little Women” and "Kiss Me, Kate," and TV series such as "Decoy" and "True Story." But Hayes also had success in theater and as a singer. His rendition of "The Ballad of Davy Crockett," became a #1 Billboard hit, selling more than three million copies. Over the years, Doug and Julie would often belt out a tune during celebrations or at Doug's Place — later renamed Julie's Place —the restaurant the fictional couple owns in Salem.

One of the most amazing aspects of Bill Hayes's run on "Days of Our Lives" is the fact that he's well into his mid-'90s and is still appearing as Doug Williams in current episodes of the show. In fact, in 2021, he even had a storyline where he was possessed by the devil. And that's saying something, considering how much more rigorous their schedule is compared to when he first started. After winning the Daytime Emmy Lifetime Achievement award in 2018, Hayes shared with TV Insider, "We used to tape one episode a day. Now, the other shows probably work the way we do, but we do eight shows in five days. It's very intense."

James Reynolds

Another character who has been on "Days of Our Lives" consistently for over 40 years is Abraham "Abe" Carver, played by James Reynolds, who joined the cast in 1981. Abe, who went from police officer to police chief to commissioner and then mayor of Salem is one of the rare characters on the show who actually doesn't have a dark side. While many of the "heroes" have crossed the line between good and evil many a times, Abe never wavered. And yes, he had plenty of opportunities. Especially when he was married to Lexie Carver, daughter of Italian crime lord, Stefano DiMera. Lexi sadly died in 2012, leaving Abe a widower.

Reynolds, a former marine and Vietnam vet, has been nominated for several NAACP Image Awards, and in 2018, he won the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. Given this was his first Emmy, even though he'd been on the show for more than 30 years, Reynolds shared that the moment definitely lived up to the hype. "It was a great honor and it felt wonderful. It meant a great deal and it represented a lot. I couldn't be happier," the actor told Digital Journal in 2021. Reynolds also mused about his success in the industry and what it takes, telling the publication that actors sometimes need to make difficult decisions as well as say "no" sometimes.

John Aniston

John Aniston started his acting career in the 1960s, appearing in television shows like "I Spy," "Mission: Impossible," and "That Girl." His first stint in the soap world was actually on "Days of Our Lives” in 1970, where he played Dr. Eric Richards for a brief time. From 1980-1984 he was Martin Tourneur on "Search for Tomorrow," and the following year in 1985, he rejoined the cast of "Days of Our Lives” as Greek — and suave but sometimes grumpy — businessman who has been known to break a law or two, Victor Kiriakis. The actor, well into his twilight years, is still sharp as a tack and continues to be featured on the show, shared with The Television Academy Foundation that he clearly remembers his very first scene, which was an auction for a picture. "'One million dollars.' That was Victor's opening line," he said in 2019.

Aniston, who is Greek like his character, shared with Flicks and the City Clips in 2015 that his favorite scene from his time on "DOOL" was getting to shoot on location in Greece for Adrienne and Justin's wedding.

In 2022, he won the Daytime Emmy Lifetime Achievement award. His co-star Suzanne Rogers presented the award, and his daughter, "Friends" legend Jennifer Aniston paid tribute to her dad in a special video message. "His career is literally the definition of lifetime achievement," Aniston said.

Leann Hunley

Beautiful socialite Anna DiMera has been played by Leann Hunley since 1982. She arrived in Salem, looking for her then husband Roman Brady, but eventually ended up marrying Tony DiMera. The couple has had some serious ups and downs, including divorce and Tony "dying" in 2009 — but "DOOL" fans know how well deaths stick in Salem. Hunley had over a 20-year hiatus from the show starting in 1986, the year she won Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series at the Daytime Emmy Awards. During that time, she appeared in such TV shows as "Murphy Brown," "Gilmore Girls," and a regular role on "Dawson's Creek" as an English Teacher.

While both Hunley and Thaao Penghlis, who plays Tony, were brought back in 2007, it was only for a short time and then it would be another hiatus before they were brought back together for a final time in 2019. But the actors were not concerned about recapturing that old Tony and Anna chemistry after so long. In a joint 2021 interview with Soap Opera Digest, Penghlis said, "We learned how to feed off of each other's energy and highs and lows and work like a married couple, really." For her side of things, Hunley told the publication in 2019, "Thaao and I really like each other, and I think that helps with our chemistry."

Thaao Penghlis

Thaao Penghlis is one of those lucky and talented actors to be cast as two different characters on "Days of Our Lives" — one evil and one not so evil. Well, Tony DiMera is no angel, but compared to his cousin Andre, he seems like he's on the side of good. Interestingly, these two are identical even though they are not twin brothers. Tony first appeared in 1981 when he was originally thought to be Stefano DiMera's son. And though it was later revealed that the gardener was actually his father, Stefano adopted him and treated him like a son. Meanwhile, Andre, who was thought to be Stefano's nephew, turned out to be the son. Confused yet?

Don't feel too bad, as many folks in Salem were often caught off guard by the old switcheroo that kept happening with Tony/Andre. At one point in the early 2000s, Penghlis was on hiatus for 10 years from Tony and eight from Andre. It seems reprising roles might be this actor's thing. In 2014, he rejoined "General Hospital" as Victor Cassadine after more than 30 years! He's also appeared in "Santa Barbara" and "Mission: Impossible."

Of course, in 2019, he returned to the role that seemed to be made for him, as Stefano's son Tony. Interestingly enough, Penghlis told "Slasher Scotty" in a 2022 interview that he is the one who suggested Joe Mascola for the role of his father, the iconic Stefano DiMera.