Collage of Thaao Penghlis as Tony and André DiMera on Days of Our Lives

Photo: Courtesy of Everett Collection; Paul Skipper/JPI; NBC

The rise of the DiMeras began on November 6, 1981.

Mere weeks after James Reynolds celebrated his 40th anniversary with Days of Our Lives, Thaao Penghlis marks his debut anniversary. The Aussie actor brought Tony DiMera to Salem 40 years ago today. His legendary father, Stefano, would soon follow, and then, shortly after that, Penghils added Tony’s lookalike cousin turned brother André to the mix. Whether pulling double duty as both characters or playing each one off and on, it’s been a wild ride ever since.

Of course, there was a time when the audience thought Penghlis was playing Tony, but it turned out, Tony was actually being impersonated by André. If you’ll recall, Tony languished on a deserted island for twenty years while Andre wreaked havoc in his brother’s name. Most notably, by sending half of Salem to Melaswen Island.

His portrayal of Tony, André, and André/Tony has kept Penghlis in and out of Salem romancing Anna and plotting with — and against — the DiMeras over the course of four decades. He even managed to redeem both his alter egos. In case you forgot, Tony was far from an angel when he first arrived in Salem — just ask his first wife Liz — but he did manage to find a soft spot in the hearts of viewers as both DiMera brothers.

The characters are clearly in Penghlis’ heart as well, as the actor has been tweeting about new and old Days of Our Lives memories over the past few months. Just look at some of his tweets below.

Who remembers Quinn Redeker the shady Alex Marshall? (You might also remember Redeker from The Young and the Restless as Rex Sterling.)

Though Tony’s romance with Anna has been one of the character’s main throughlines for much of his run on Days of Our Lives, Penghlis’ scenes opposite the late Joseph Mascolo’s Stefano were always a highlight. Not just for fans, but the actor as well.

While soaps couldn’t survive without adding new characters, Penghlis reminded his followers that vets are the backbone of the genre. And it was a delight to see so many of them cross over to Beyond Salem, as Penghlis’ Tony and Deidre Hall’s Marlena did.

What have been your favorite Tony and André moments? Tell us after looking through our photo gallery of Tony’s life in Salem below.