Television icon Deidre Hall celebrates her 5,000th episode of Days of our Lives this Friday, May 12, 2023! The TV Watercooler caught up with Hall to discuss the milestone, which cast members she’d love to work with again and what being a mother means to Marlena.
Congratulations on 5,000 episodes! That’s a very impressive milestone!
Thank you! [Finding out] was a stunning revelation to me too! In the episode, John (Drake Hogestyn) talks about it and at one point asks, “How many patients have you had in your career?” And we do a gag where Marlena says that she’s had 5,000 patients.
The fans loved that bathtub scene that John and Marlena shared recently. Was it uncomfortable filming that?
It wasn’t uncomfortable, which is odd, because it should have been uncomfortable! Even though we’re not naked, we never feel that you are having our privacy invaded the moment when we’re getting into or out of the bathtub. It’s our crew – and a lot of prep goes into it. Our wardrobe team is also right there, helping us with it.
So, it was fun!
They had to keep blowing the bubbles [on the technical side of things] and came in with a blower.
Have you ever taken any of the advice that Dr. Marlena Evans has given to her patients? Or given it out to someone in your life over the years?
No, no… I’m trying to think what advice she might have given because we don’t usually see her in therapy. It’s rather rare… You have to be a serial killer or psychotic in some way in order to have [therapy] on screen!
I guess Marlena’s most recent patients have been played by Robert Scott Wilson (Ben/Alex). He’s your main client!
He’s my only client! I do think it’s a good device for viewers to find out what’s really going on with a character. What are they really thinking? Are they really dangerous?
45 years and 5,000 episodes, later are there any episodes or scenes that you reflect and go, “I feel like that was just yesterday!” We’ve already spoken about the possession stuff, but is there anything else?
When my sister, Andrea Hall-Gengler, was on the show the second time – she first played Marlena’s twin sister Samantha from 1977 to 1980 – she was this curmudgeon. She was now playing Hattie who originally had a hooked nose, buck teeth, and was overweight. She had to wear a fat suit. Someone recently posted a scene online where Hattie approaches Marlena and I just look at her and think, “Oh wow! There’s something about you…” And she replies something like, “You’re just a crazy person!” [Laughs]
That was wonderful stuff and I’m so glad that I got to see that scene again!
My sister came out of teaching in special education [to do the show back in 1977]. She was not an actress but was so free and could get up and do anything in front of anybody and not be embarrassed.
This was before my time, but I did read that there was fan outcry because when Samantha was killed off, the viewers thought it was Marlena! What was that like? This was before social media.
The word spread because when it aired in the East, they called their friends! By the time it aired in California, there was a picket line around NBC!
I’ve got an equal and opposite reaction to it. That was my sister whose character they killed off! I was not happy about that. So, it was upsetting.
But it was nice that the audience had a response to it, where they were concerned that it seemed like they were going to kill off a character, but didn’t. But they did kill off my sister, who had left her teaching job, so I wasn’t thrilled.
With Mother’s Day on Sunday, we love it when Marlena gets to be a mom to Carrie, Sami, Eric, Brady, Belle, and Paul – they are all her kids!
I don’t think we show her being a mom a lot, but I think the sense that you get of her being a mother is that they are all so terribly important to her and she would lay down her life for any one of them!
And that’s what moms would do!
Marlena may even get to be a grandmother again! Nicole (Arianne Zucker) might be expecting Eric’s (Greg Vaughan) baby.
Things are going well… [Laughs]
What can you tease about that?
It’s Ron [Carlivati; the head writer]. We’re gonna have lots of twists and turns in that storyline too!
Are there any cast members who you’d love to see come back and share scenes with again?
I love and adore Wayne Northrop (ex-Roman Brady, 1981-84, 1991-94; ex-Alex North, 2005-06). I think the audience adored him and I adored working with him. He was a crazy ass! Which kept you on your toes because you never knew what he was going to do!
It would be so great to have him come back.
We went to Mexico together, the three of us (including Drake), to do a location shoot down there and that was just fun! I mean, just getting out of the studio and being one of the “chosen ones” who got to go [on location] was always fun. It was so exciting.
Who else could come back? Maybe we were triples, and my sister gets to come back after all?
Elaine Bromka, who played Stella Lombard, became a very close personal friend and she’s coming out next week for a visit. She’s coming out to do a play, so I get to see her for a couple of days!
Can you tease what’s coming up for John and Marlena? She’s alive. They’ve reunited.
She’s happy, happy, happy!
She’s dealing with everybody around her kind of falling apart now and then. She’s there for everyone. You’ll never see a change in that! That’s who we know her to be and that’s who we’d like her to stay.
John Aniston (who played Victor Kiriakis) passed away in November. Such a loss for you all.
What a legend, and what a missed human being. [John Aniston] was just a joy to have on the set.
Fellow Sony soap The Young and the Restless recently celebrate its 50th anniversary! You appeared as Barbara on that very first episode.
I’m so proud of Sony for that. They’ve stood with us [both The Young and the Restless and Days of our Lives] and have hung in there with us. It’s great to be part of that family.
Is it too early to tell yet if the Writers’ Strike will have any implications on the 50th annual Daytime Emmy Awards on June 16? Days of our Lives has been nominated for best series, writing, and directing! Congratulations!
We’re always thrilled to be honoured and there’s so few [soaps] left on the air, that we’re a very small family now.
I don’t know what will happen with the strike, whether the show will air or not, but I’m wishing everybody well!
Are there any TV shows that you’ve recently binged?
I’ve gone back to The West Wing! It’s extraordinary television. It’s so good!
My youngest and I watch The Great British Bake Off!
I’m also a news junkie, so I also watch a lot of news.
When we last spoke, news had just broken that the show was moving to Peacock from NBC in the U.S. What’s it been like behind-the-scenes production-wise with this switch to streaming?
There has not been a change in any arena. We do exactly what we do, the same way we did it, and at the speed at which we do it. We’re doing the same thing. It just airs in a different place.
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Days of our Lives airs weekdays on W Network in Canada and streams on Peacock in the U.S. Canadian viewers can catch up on demand, on the Global app, STACKTV and on GlobalTV.com the next day.