On the 28th Anniversary of Mary Beth Evans’ Shocking Soap Swap, We Look Back at How General Hospital Soured Days of Our Lives’ ‘Sweetness’ — Plus, a Show-Hoppers Photopalooza
ABC/Courtesy of the Everett Collection, Bernard Boudreau/NBC/Courtesy of the Everett Collection
The Emmy winner couldn’t have taken on a character that was further removed than the one for which she’d become known and loved.
July 20, 1993, is a day that lives in infamy in daytime: It marked the debut of Days of Our Lives leading lady Mary Beth Evans (Kayla) as Katherine Bell on General Hospital.
The soap swap was a big gamble for the Emmy winner, who’d first lathered up on Rituals in the mid-1980s. Her new character was as different from her beloved old one as night and day. Whereas Kayla would choke if she so much as tried to lie, conniving Katherine saw the truth as something that was made to be bent. Evans played the difference between her roles to the hilt, bringing to the fore a mischievous side that Days of Our Lives fans might never have guessed she possessed.
Eventually, General Hospital even hired her former leading man, Stephen Nichols, to try to capitalize on the longtime co-stars’ popularity as Kayle and Patch. “One year, I brought him to the Daytime Emmys with me when I was still on General Hospital,” she told SoapHub in 2021, “and then they brought him on as Stefan.”
It didn’t quite work out, though. “The characters weren’t the same. We were written differently,” Evans said. “I loved working with him there, though.” And the gothic romance of Katherine and Stefan did attract an ardent following.
Ultimately, the soap-hopper’s character was “killed off” and thrust into an affair with Stefan’s boyish nephew, Nikolas. “When the whole [fling] thing started,” she recalled to Soap Opera Digest in 2018, “I said [to Tyler Christopher], ‘Listen, you call me Mommy, and it’s over.’”
Alas, when Katherine was killed off for a second time, it really was over for Evans at General Hospital. But on this memorable anniversary, join us, won’t you, in poring over photos of other stars like her who have scored on more than show.