Credit: Gene Trindl/TV Guide/NBC/Courtesy of the Everett Collection, Paul Skipper/JPI, Courtesy of the Everett Collection, NBC/Courtesy of the Everett Collection, Brian Lowe/JPI
One of a Kind
After Dr. Marlena Evans hung her shingle at Salem’s University Hospital in 1976, her romance with attorney Don Craig hit a snag when her jealous twin sister Samantha stole first her identity, then her man. Though Marlena eventually was able to reclaim both — and forgive Samantha — her subsequent marriage to Don couldn’t survive the death of their newborn, DJ.
Move Over, Dr. Ruth
Marlena was having a blast hosting her own radio show — that is, until she started receiving calls from the Salem Strangler. On the plus side, the danger in which she suddenly found herself introduced her to new love Roman Brady (then Wayne Northrop), the detective assigned to protect her. On the minus side, before the murderer was stopped, he mistook Samantha for Marlena and killed her!
Let’s ‘I Do’ It
Although the arrival in Salem of Roman’s estranged wife Anna briefly put a crimp in his and Marlena’s wedding plans, they finally managed to exchange vows in February of 1983. But the honeymoon was cut tragically short when, not a year later, the groom was (cough) fatally shot by the nefarious Stefano DiMera.
While trying to help an amnesiac going to the name John Black recover his memory, Marlena became convinced that he was Stefano… and then Roman… and then Samantha. Just kidding about that last one. Once she settled on Roman, the “widow” remarried the man that she believed was the husband that she’d promised to love until death did them part.
Death Becomes Her
After “dying” with all the finality that Roman had, Marlena was reunited with the fellow that she still believed was her true love, only to have the real McCoy turn up alive and well courtesy of — who else? — Stefano. Torn, Marlena recommitted herself to Roman but had so much trouble resisting John that… Well, ladies and gentlemen, that’s how Belle came to be.
On the contrary, it went down in 1995, the year that Stefano’s messing with Marlena’s mind laid out an unintentional welcome mat for a demon to come on in and stay awhile. Thankfully, John was a priest at the time — what? It could happen! — and was able to prescribe the possessed an “exorcise” program that sent the devil packing straight back to hell.
In the late 1990s, everyone who was anyone tried to keep apart Marlena and John, from a “dying” Roman (as if) to John’s new squeeze, conniving Kristen DiMera, to his angsty teenage son, Brady. But, as it always does, love won, leading to the supercouple’s first marriage — with each of them knowing who the other was, anyway.
You Twin Some, You Lose Some
Marlena couldn’t have guessed when she once again took over her duties as the Frasier Crane of Salem radio how much she’d tick off her predecessor’s fans. One in particular, Hattie Adams, just happened to bear so striking a resemblance to the doc that a little plastic surgery was all it took for her to pull a Samantha and swipe her life.
Even more shocking than the way that the Salem Stalker laid waste to the town’s population was the reveal that Marlena, of all people, was the culprit. Except, of course, that she wasn’t really. She’d been brainwashed by Andre DiMera and, in fact, hadn’t killed anyone: Her friends and loved ones were still alive and well on Melaswen, the island replica of Salem (whose name was New Salem spelled backwards).
Hit Me With Your Best Shot
Over the years, Marlena fought to get past one roadblock (crazy Dr. Charlotte Taylor) after another (John’s paralysis) after another (his marriage to “Princess Gina”/Hope Brady) to build a life with the man she loves. But even she was ready to throw in the towel when she learned that he’d attempted to seduce old flame Kristen (then Eileen Davidson) in hopes of busting up her relationship with Brady.
Just Tossing It Out There
Even after Stefano died-died, he wasn’t done with the object of his obsession. Henchman Wilhelm Rolf implanted in Steve Johnson his master’s “essence,” thereby allowing him — at least for a time — to continue to pursue Marlena from beyond the grave.
Jingle Hell Rock
When the devil booked a return trip to Salem, he couldn’t resist making a pit stop in his favorite host body long enough to partake in some avant-garde tree-trimming on his way to possessing Ciara and Ben Weston’s baby, Bo. Because what demon’s endgame isn’t a plane full of creamed spinach headed for the hangar and a mild case of diaper rash?
Name Your Poison
No sooner had Satan been sent back to hell than Orpheus, partaking in every supervillain’s favorite pastime, sought revenge on John, Steve and Roman by kidnapping and drugging their lady loves, Marlena, Kayla Brady and Kate Roberts. Once they were rescued and cured, everyone thought that that was the end of it. But then Kate died. And so did Kayla. And… uh-oh.
You Could at Least *Knock* on Heaven’s Door First
Since Kristen withheld the orchid that would’ve saved Orpheus’ victims, Marlena was ushered by the bouncer at the pearly gates straight into the afterlife. Which, as has been well-documented, looked like a White Party that was attended by the cast of The Walking Dead.
Tune in Tomorrow
What calamity will befall Marlena next? From what hardship will she emerge with her grace and radiant spirit still intact? There’s only one way to find out, and the headline on this caption is it!