17 ‘Days of our Lives’ stars we’ve loved the most and why

“Days of Our Lives” premiered on November 8, 1965 on NBC. Created by  Ted Corday and  Betty Corday, the daytime drama follows the lives, loves, careers and crises of the citizens of Salem. And though it was part of an NBC family of soaps over the years that included “Another World,” “The Doctors,” “Generations,” “Santa Barbara” and “Sunset Beach,” it has been all alone on the NBC lineup ever since “Passions” was cancelled by the network in 2007.

The series has proven resilient, weathering myriad changes in the television landscape over more than half a century on the airwaves. So we asked our readers who they’ve loved the most on the soap and why. Scroll down to see who they picked, and  who would be on your list of “Days” faves, past or present.

“Days” originally centered on the Horton family led by doctor Tom ( Macdonald Carey) and his wife Alice ( Frances Reid). It later introduced a rivalry between additional core families the Bradys and DiMeras, whose good-vs.-evil battles fueled myriad storylines ever since. The show has tackled a wide variety of storylines from the realistic to the outlandish — remember when Marlena ( Deidre Hall) was the victim of demon possession in the 1990s, or the Salem residents who were supposedly offed by a serial killer but were actually kidnapped to the secret island of Melaswen in the 2000s?

But there have also been beloved romances, from the adventures of supercouples Bo and Hope ( Peter Reckell and  Kristian Alfonso) and John and Marlena ( Drake Hogestyn and Hall) to the groundbreaking gay love story between Will and Sonny ( Chandler Massey and  Freddie Smith). It’s characters like that, and more, who have kept the show alive for so long. Below are a few examples.

Photo : NBC

Kristian Alfonso as Hope Williams Brady

youngsoapfan: “Kristian Alfonso is someone who can deliver, also underrated in daytime, another key member of the Horton family, with Bo not coming back, it is time that she finally get some happiness in her life, and just be hope, no more Princess Gina, no night-time alter ego. The show needs to focus on a more procedural police department, run by Hope, and less having to compromise her values, when it comes to family committing crimes, she needs a fitting partner, without an alterior motive.”

Photo : NBC

Matthew Ashford and Melissa Reeves as Jack Deveraux and Jennifer Horton

youngsoapfan: “These two were a power couple back in the early ’90s, and departures and returns have gotten in the way, but these two are also a huge part of the Horton family, and need to be more in the spotlight, as well as keeping Kate Mansi as Abigail Deveraux, and Billy Flynn as Chad DiMera around, to keep things interesting.”

Photo : Bravo

Eileen Davidson as Kristen DiMera, et al.

Daniel Montgomery: “Davidson’s portrayal of Kristen and her multiple doppelgangers made her one of the great villains in the show’s long and storied history. Her stint in the mid-1990s was iconic, and she returned in 2012 for another classic storyline that finally won her the Emmy she so richly deserved. After Davidson left the role of Kristen was taken over by the impressive Stacy Haiduk, but we’ll never forget the actress who made Kristen famous.”

Photo : NBC

Billy Flynn as Chad DiMera – and ALL the DiMeras

youngsoapfan: “More DiMeras are needed on the show. Chad needs more family around him, Like Tony and Anna Dimera. Most of the current DiMeras are DiMeras by marriage, such as Kate and Gabi, and Abigail, all of whom should still be on canvas, linking the storylines between other key families in town.”

Photo : NBC

Deidre Hall as Marlena Evans

EmmyLoser: “While Marlena has been part of two immensely popular supercouples (first with Roman Brady, then with John Black), she is a character who stands solidly on her own. Over the course after 40-something years on the show Marlena has just about seen and done it all. What makes her a riveting and essential character is the dignity and grace with which she handles even the most trying of situations and the deep bonds she’s developed with her friends and family as they’ve worked through their troubles.”

Photo : NBC

Drake Hogestyn as John Black

youngsoapfan: “John and Marelan are a classic supercouple, and even if they don’t have superhero storylines anymore, they definitely need to be around.”

Photo : NBC

Victoria Konefal and Robert Scott Wilson as Ciara and Ben

youngsoapfan: “These two have such a flawless connection, and are really a new-age Bo and Hope. Yes Ben did make some mistakes, and as Ciara has stated, he was ill back then and has changed, clearly proven. It will always be a struggle for him, as proven, but he is a strong character. Also with links to other characters such as Marlena, his therapist.”

Photo : NBC

Lauren Koslow as Kate Roberts

EmmyLoser: “Kate is both the ultimate soap survivor and the ultimate free agent. Unlike most soap characters, she’s rarely had the security of a loving relationship to keep her warm, so she constantly seeks fulfillment elsewhere, mostly in meddling in her children’s lives and climbing the various corporate ladders available to her. With few friends and even fewer scruples, Kate is always willing to take sides where she needs to for her own best interests and worry about the collateral damage later. Unlike most of Salem’s corporate upper echelon, Kate has earned her way into every executive position she’s gotten by being good at what she does, without the advantage of being able to claim some sort of birthright. And she’s never to be counted out — just in 2019, after being shot, she dug her way out of a shallow grave and walked into the ER for treatment.”

Photo : NBC

Kate Mansi as Abigail Deveraux

EmmyLoser: “As a character, Abigail has had a rough history, both in terms of some off-the-wall behavior (it still breaks my heart to remember the scenes where she enticed EJ into cheating on Sami) and the inconsistency of her writing. But after a lot of questionable decisions and overcoming some very serious struggles with mental illness, Abigail has blossomed into an unapologetic, in-your-face crusader for whatever cause she believes is right at the moment. She confrontational and ‘difficult,’ which I love about her.”

Photo : NBC

Eric Martsolf as Brady Black

alokin: “If forced to choose just one favorite character on ‘DAYS’ (very tough, as I have many!), it’d likely be Brady Black. No matter what the circumstances, he remains loyal to his family and tries to act on their needs first. And when he loves, he loves hard. I also admire how bravely Brady (portrayed by the ridiculously talented Eric Martsolf) faced and fought past battles with drug addiction and alcoholism, picking himself back up time and again and refusing to let his weaknesses define or defeat him.”

Photo : Broadimage/REX/Shutterstock

Chandler Massey as Will Horton

EmmyLoser: “Will represents a lot of what I and many others love about soaps: He’s part of the fourth generation of Hortons (the founding family of Salem) and Bradys (salt of the earth working-class family), with connections that run throughout the town. He has a history of major mistakes with some scheming and duplicity, but has shown he’s got a really good heart. He was part of an historic moment for the show as part of the first wedding of two men on daytime. And he’s played by a terrific and charismatic actor.”

Photo : NBC

Suzanne Rogers as Maggie Horton

youngsoapfan: “She is mainly the matriarch left in the Horton family (the family which originally started the show). She is a past Emmy winner, and we love her and how she can still bring it after all these years.”

Alison Sweeney as Sami Brady

youngsoapfan: “We have loved this character for almost 30 years, she is the character we love to hate, and one of those most underrated actresses for Emmy consideration. She is one of the key members of the other main families in Salem, the Bradys. She is also the mother of Will Horton (Chandler Massey), who also should be staying on the show, along with Sonny Kiriakis (Freddie Smith) who belongs to a supporting family on the show.”

Photo : NBC

Paul Telfer as Xander Kiriakis

EmmyLoser: “All good soaps have a character the fans love even though they shouldn’t. On ‘Days,’ that character is Xander, whose list of offenses include smuggling diamonds, numerous assaults, kidnapping, attempted murder, and baby swapping. But Xander has come a long way from the cutthroat criminal who first arrived in Salem to a man risking it all for love. Xander is danger, humor and the possibility of redemption all rolled into one beautifully chiseled, incredibly charming package.”

Photo : NBC

Arianne Zucker as Nicole Walker

Daniel Montgomery: “Nicole has schemed, lied ahd cheated, but it’s a credit to Zucker’s performances over 20 years that Nicole grew into one of the show’s most complex, flawed, and moving heroines. You root for her, not despite her struggles but because of them.”

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