Credit: NBC/Courtesy of the Everett Collection (2), John Paschal/JPI, Chris Haston/NBC/Courtesy of the Everett Collection, Paul Skipper/JPI
A Star Is Born
After entering a talent search in the early 1980s, Drake Hogestyn was among the 30 contestants out of 75,000 to be shortlisted for stardom. His breakout role? As one of the McFadden siblings on CBS’ short-lived adaptation of the 1954 musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, which also featured a young River Phoenix, former General Hospital heartthrob Richard Dean Anderson (ex-Jeff) and future thirtysomething star Peter Horton. Of course, bigger things were in store for Hogestyn…
Once the John Doe who’d arrived at Days of Our Lives’ University Hospital was un-bandaged, Marlena Evans did what any person with perfect vision and an active libido would have and decided that the so-called John Black, aka the Pawn, was actually her “late” husband, Roman Brady. He wasn’t, but it pretty much didn’t matter. The “widow” was enamored, and so was the audience.
The fates proved fatal all too soon after “Roman” and Marlena said “I redo.” The bride was kidnapped by the supposed groom’s old enemy, Orpheus, and owing to Deidre Hall’s desire to focus on her primetime career, killed off. Which of course needed to be in quotation marks, because the deaths in Salem that actually take are fewer and farther between than the New Year’s resolutions to which we actually stuck.
The Second Time Around
Following Marlena’s “death” — see, those are the appropriate quotation marks — “Roman” — also in quotation marks; so many quotation marks! — not only fell for, he got engaged to Isabella Toscano. But it was right about then that Wayne Northrop returned as the Roman who didn’t need any quotation marks around his name — a rarity, obviously. In no time, not only was Roman’s identity ascertained, but Marlena was reunited with him, and John — who decided to just say “To hell with it!” and go with John — committed himself to Isabella.
As a matter of fact, John more than merely married Isabella, he started a family with her. Unfortunately, not long after she gave birth to their son Brady, she succumbed to pancreatic cancer. Which might explain why the teenage version of the character (Kyle Lowder, who later returned to the soap as Rex Brady) looks so glum here. You never stop missing your mom, even if you barely got to know her.
Death Becomes Her
After Isabella’s demise, John, who had come to believe that he was Forrest Alamain, tried to deny his lingering feelings for the resurrected Marlena. It didn’t go well. Her earrings sparkled, for Pete Jannings’ sake! So she cheated on Roman with John and conceived their daughter, Belle… and also, in a way, set the stage for their lives for decades to come.
The Perfect Family
Judging from this photo, John and Marlena’s only child together — daughter Belle (originally Kirsten Storms, now Maxie Jones on General Hospital) — wasn’t scarred for life by the fact that shortly after she was born, she was almost given up for adoption. Not by her parents, it bears mentioning, but by her half sister, Sami, who had found out about John and Marlena’s affair and didn’t want an adorable reminder of it hanging around spitting up on everything.
Shaken *and* Stirred
A typical blended family was never really in the cards for John — not since that family included Roman and Marlena’s daughter, Sami, who grew from the kind of teenager that every parent fears theirs will be to… well, the kind of adult that every parent hopes their teenager won’t become. She was, is and always will be… a handful!
On the Rebound
Regretting how many people his rendezvouses with Marlena had hurt, John gave moving on the old college try — with, of all people, Stefano DiMera’s daughter, Kristen Blake. But their relationship was no walk in the park. On top of the fact that she was revealed to be a grade-A conniver, John briefly believed himself to be a priest — and handily enough, the one padre who could exorcise possessed true love Marlena.
Following John and Marlena’s 1999 remarriage, they lived happily ever after. Just kidding. They only made it as far as their honeymoon before he vanished and, having been brainwashed by Stefano, aka the master of mind games, slept with Hope Brady, who at the time had been convinced that she was Princess Gina. It was a whole thing.
On the Rebound, Part Two
After the Salem Stalker was revealed to be Marlena — as if! — and she was “re-killed” trying to flee from the authorities, John hooked up with, of all people, Roman’s “widow,” Kate Roberts. The couple, of course, wound up breaking it off when all of the Salem Stalker’s victims turned out to be “dead,” not dead.
Speaking of “dead,” not dead… No sooner had John emerged from the coma into which he slipped after being shot by Stefano’s son, EJ, than he was hit by a car and died in Marlena’s arms. Sorry, “died.” He was actually alive and, well, newly reprogrammed as a super soldier by the Phoenix, whose half brother he’d come to believe he was. As you might imagine, John almost missed being in that coma.
The Doctor Is In… Tense
After Marlena filed for divorce — if John couldn’t recall her, what was the point? — the amnesiac sought the help of Dr. Charlotte Taylor to regain his memory. He really should’ve looked her up on Angie’s List first, though, because she turned out to be more interested in keeping his mind a blank slate than rewriting his history on it. Worse, her botched attempt to kill Marlena wound up restoring John’s memory… but leaving him paralyzed. D’oh!
‘How *You* Doin’?’
Instead of simply accept that they were lifers, John and Marlena split up again after he went so far as to try to seduce scheming old flame Kristen. Not for fun, mind you, but to get her away from Brady, into whom the vixen had sunk her claws so deeply, it was a wonder she hadn’t drawn blood. Later, John would get put in yet another coma while trying to separate Brady from yet another troublemaker, Theresa Donovan.
It’s a Boy
In 2015, John learned that he’d become a father again. That is, he had become one again some twenty-odd years earlier when Tori Narita had given birth to his son, Paul, a baseball player who upon arriving in Salem scored a home run with Pop’s grandson Will Horton, all but striking out his marriage to Sonny Kiriakis. Thus concludes our use of all the baseball euphemisms we know.
Identity Crisis… Resolved?
Three decades after arriving in Salem, John finally learned not only his given name — John Robicheaux — but also that his late father Timothy was, but of course, “dead,” not dead. It turned out that a tour of duty in the Korean War had left him so mentally shattered that he’d adopted a new identity and formed his own radical spy group called the Phantom Menace Alliance.
At a time when John and Marlena should have been enjoying a relatively peaceful stretch of togetherness, they couldn’t, not really, because an aneurysm had turned him into an emotional wreck — and we don’t just mean that he cried at only modestly sad movies, either. He became so unstable that, whereas everyone else at what were supposed to be the nuptials of Belle and ex-husband Shawn Brady only thought about strangling wedding crasher Jan Spears, John actually did it!
No sooner had John gotten his wits about him again than the devil repossessed Marlena, transformed itself into Kristen (the old version, not the current one, oddly) and set about turning life in Salem into a living… well, you know.