Bittersweet DAYS: Nearly a dozen stars will return to Salem for a final farewell

Posted Friday, March 19, 2010 4:56:42 PM
Bittersweet DAYS: Nearly a dozen stars will return to Salem for a final farewell

Like the sand through the show's iconic hourglass, Days of our Lives will see a steady stream of familiar faces filtering through town later this spring. Nearly a dozen fan-favorite characters will return to bid their final farewells to Alice Horton.

There was a catch when Days of our Lives' executive producer Ken Corday revealed his plans for a special tribute to Frances Reid and her on-screen alter ego, Alice Horton. He promised a respectful and proper memorial befitting such legend, but he also informed fans that they'd have to wait until later this spring for those episodes to begin airing. Although the details of the storyline are still under wraps, Soap Central has learned that eleven former DAYS stars are set to return to the show -- and more could follow.

Jamie Lyn Bauer (Laura Horton), Maree Cheatham (Marie Horton), Christie Clark (Carrie Brady), Roark Critchlow (Mike Horton), Bryan Dattilo (Lucas Roberts), Mary Beth Evans (Kayla Johnson), Patsy Pease (Kimberly Brady), Melissa Reeves (Jennifer Deveraux), and Lisa Trusel (Melissa Anderson) will all be visiting Salem for the tribute.

Reeves marks the first return on June 10, followed by Cheatham on June 11. Bauer first airs on June 16 while Evans and Trusel both return on June 21. Dattilo is next on on June 23 while. Clark, Critchlow, and Pease mark the final returns on June 24. It should be noted, however, that most of the returns are not for a one-day farewell; the actors' returns are scheduled to last for several episodes.

Bauer was last seen as the long-suffering Dr. Laura Horton in 2003, when she returned for a brief visit to celebrate Jack and Jennifer's latest nuptials. Although the role was previously played by four other actresses, including Emmy winner Susan Flannery (Stephanie Forrester, The Bold and the Beautiful), Bauer was the first one to tackle the role in over a decade when she joined the cast in 1993. Aside from her role on DAYS, Bauer might also be remembered as Lorie Brooks on The Young and the Restless, as well as guest-starring roles on former primetime powerhouses Fantasy Island, The Love Boat, and Knots Landing.

An original cast member when Days of our Lives debuted in 1965, Cheatham will be returning to DAYS for the first time in nearly a decade. Cheatham, who boasts a staggering résumé that includes numerous daytime, primetime, and film roles, originated the role of Alice's youngest daughter, Marie Horton, during the show's first year. However, this will be Marie's second visit to Salem in 2010. The character returned in January for her brother Mickey's funeral -- but the return took place off-screen.

Clark has been on and off DAYS since taking over the role of Carrie Brady in 1986 at the age of 13. She last left the show in 2006, when her alter-ego moved to Switzerland with Austin Reed. In real life, Clark has been busy starting a family as well as running her official website and blog.

Critchlow left DAYS in 1999 at the same time as one of Clark's many exits. Their characters, Mike Horton and Carrie Brady, fell in love and moved to Israel to be near Mike's son, Jeremy. When Clark returned in 2005, Carrie explained that their love affair had ended, but Mike remained in the Middle East.

Although Critchlow is the 14th actor to play the role of Mike, he is one of the most remembered -- even more than a decade since his last airdate. Since leaving DAYS, Critchlow has appeared in numerous daytime and primetime shows. Most recently, he had guest-starring roles on The Mentalist, V, and Battlestar Galactica.

Dattilo's return comes only a few months after Soap Central reported on his somewhat controversial departure from DAYS. However, while many reports were made regarding Dattilo's exit, his character's fate remains a mystery. Lucas was last seen in February and has since vanished from the canvas with no explanation.

Like Dattilo, Evans' character, Dr. Kayla Johnson, gradually faded into the background before it was revealed that she and her family moved to a remote third-world country to open a medical clinic. With her return, fans are hopeful that Evans' visit will bring some closure to her popular role. Evans (and Kayla) was last seen in Salem in February 2009, and this will mark her first return in a "guest starring" capacity.

Unlike her on-screen sister, Evans, Pease has accumulated a number of guest returns since leaving her contract role on DAYS more than a decade ago. Ironically, most of her visits as the feisty Kimberly Brady have been for funerals. Kimberly last appeared in 2008 to mourn her father and, before that, in 2004 to mourn her mother (who ultimately would turn up alive and well a year later).

Reeves's wildly popular character, Jennifer Deveraux, was last seen in Salem in 2006. After reuniting with her not-so-dead husband Jack, the super couple took their children and headed to London. In a moment of art imitating life, Reeves and her family relocated from Los Angeles to Nashville. Her upcoming guest spot will mark the first time Reeves will reunite with her on-screen brothers, Critchlow and Dattilo, since 1995.

This will be Trusel's second visit to Salem this year. She last appeared as Mickey and Maggie's adoptive daughter, Melissa Horton, in January when the character returned home for her father's funeral. Trusel is not a stranger to guest spots, however. She previously appeared on DAYS in 1994, 1996, and 2002.

There is also hope among fans that Alice's seldom-mentioned son, Tommy Horton, Jr., will be recast and return for the tribute. Coincidentally, fans had the same hopes for Alice's other son, Bill, who last visited Salem in January for Mickey's funeral, but the character remained off-screen. The role of Bill has since been cast with soap vet John Martin, who will first air on June 16. However their remains no word on Tommy's fate, who was last seen in Salem in 1979.

It is said that the stars' returns will not be the typical one-day event; most will appear over the course of several episodes.

For more information on the actors and characters returning, check out Soap Central's Who's Who Character Profiles and Family Trees.

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