Spanning an incredible 50 years and 13,000 episodes, Days of Our Lives is one of TV’s longest running shows. The soap, which follows the exploits of families in the fictional U.S. city of Salem, has won wide viewership and racked up an impressive 43 Daytime Emmy Awards.
But though its daring storylines have earned the most acclaim, the show’s colorful cast have ensured its lasting power. And with many famous faces coming and going throughout its half-century run, we think it’s high time to revisit some of Salem’s most recognizable former residents.
20. Christie Clark (Carrie Brady)
Following the 1986 departure of original actress Andrea Barber, Christie Clark took up the role of Carrie Brady until 2012. And the star, who was lauded for her chemistry with colleague Patrick Muldoon, received one Soap Opera Digest Award and two Daytime Emmy nominations to boot. Since her character’s move to Switzerland, though, Clark has kept relatively quiet; she will, however, return to the soap in 2017.
19.Peter Reckell (Bo Brady)
Though some may recognize Robert Kelker-Kelly as Bo Brady, most fans know the police officer through Peter Reckell’s portrayal. After a nine-year stint in the role, Reckell left in 1992 before eventually returning for 11 years in 1995. And following his role in web series The Grove, the actor once again returned in 2015 – remaining until Bo died in his ex-wife Hope’s arms.
18. Patrick Muldoon (Austin Reed)
After an appearance in Saved by the Bell, Muldoon joined Days of Our Lives as Austin Reed in 1992. And his role lasted until 1995 when he left to pursue a successful career in films, including Starship Troopers. Besides a brief return to the role in 2011, though, Muldoon now mainly works behind the scenes as Eclectic Pictures’ VP of development.
17. Austin Peck (Austin Reed)
Austin Peck took over the role of Austin Reed after Patrick Muldoon’s departure, and he proved a fittingly steamy substitute. Indeed, the actor – who played the part between 1995 and 2006 – won a Soap Opera Digest Award for Hottest Romance alongside co-star Christie Clark. Since then, Peck has appeared in similar soaps like As the World Turns and One Life to Live.
16. Renée Jones (Lexie Carver)
During her 20-year run as Lexie Carver, Renée Jones gained considerable recognition, including five Image Award nominations. But despite her praise, Jones became disillusioned with the acting world and even once admitted to TV World, “I just don’t want to do this anymore.” Subsequently, she left the show – and her profession – in 2012.
15. Krista Allen (Billie Reed)
Before Lisa Rinna reclaimed her role as troubled Billie Reed, Krista Allen took on the part between 1996 and 1999. And following her departure from the series, Allen had a recurring role in Baywatch and also guest starred in shows like Friends and Smallville.
14. Darin Brooks (Max Brady)
Appearing in Days from the age of 21, Brooks managed to stand out as Max Brady thanks to his youthful appearance. Today, the now 32-year-old looks just as fresh-faced as ever and – since ending his five-year run as Brady in 2010 – remains a staple of U.S. soaps via a role in The Bold and the Beautiful.
13. Brody Hutzler (Patrick Lockhart)
Following a five-year run in The Young and the Restless, Brody Hutzler switched soaps and landed a part in Days of Our Lives in 2004. Cast as Patrick Lockhart, Hutzler would last three years before his character was sent to prison. His career has since seen him appear in the likes of NCIS and Hot in Cleveland.
12. Ashley Benson (Abby Deveraux)
Ashley Benson got her big break as Abby Deveraux in 2004 and has since shot to international fame. In particular, her role in TV series Pretty Little Liars – which she gained three years after her 2007 Days… departure – earned her multiple Teen Choice Awards and countless fans. Additionally, in 2012 she also appeared in the hit indie film Spring Breakers.
11. Jack Coleman (Jake Kositchek)
Better known as the “Salem Strangler,” Jake Kositchek was one of the show’s major villains in the 1980s. And after his character’s 1982 death, actor Jack Coleman gained a major role in rival soap Dynasty as the trailblazing gay protagonist Steven Carrington. His career would further explode in the new millennium following his casting as Noah in hit show Heroes.
10. Jensen Ackles (Eric Brady)
For his role as the virtuous Eric Brady, Ackles gained three Daytime Emmy nominations and one Soap Opera Digest Award. However, his status as a soap mainstay was cut short in 2000 – after three years with the series – when he was offered a development deal with ABC. In the following years, he’s starred in shows like Smallville and Supernatural.
9. Eileen Davidson (Kristen DiMera)
While she played multiple roles in Days of Our Lives, Eileen Davidson really set her herself apart as the delightfully devilish Kristen DiMera. Indeed, her performance has seen her reap great acclaim, including a Daytime Emmy win in 2014. And though she departed the series in 2015 after 22 years, Davidson can still be seen on screen in The Young and the Restless.
8. Farah Fath (Mimi Lockhart)
Despite only being 15 at the time of her original audition, Farah Fath proved herself experienced enough to play the role of Mimi Lockhart for eight years. Immediately after her 2007 departure from the show, though, Fath starred in rival soap One Life to Live; she also recently appeared in the mystery series Murder, She Baked.
7. Mark Hapka (Nathan Horton)
First cast as Johnny DiMera in 2007, Mark Hapka would return to play Nathan Horton in 2009. Unfortunately, though, although he was a solid actor, Hapka reportedly fell afoul of the soap’s creative team – leading to him being written out of the show in 2011. Since then, however, he has kept busy through short films and minor feature roles.
6. Leann Hunley (Anna DiMera)
Alongside Thaao Penghlis’ Tony, Leann Hunley’s Anna DiMera was one half of TV’s hottest super couple. Hunley originally joined the cast in 1982 and received a Daytime Emmy in 1986 for her work, before jumping ship to Dynasty later that year. However, she later returned to her star-making role between 2007 and 2010.
5. Kyle Lowder (Brady Black)
Kyle Lowder joined Days… as the spoiled Brady Black in 2000. However, after earning a Soap Opera Digest Award for his role, he moved on from the show in 2005 and later settled in The Bold and the Beautiful. Furthermore, although Black was later written back into the show, Lowder’s part was ultimately recast with Eric Martsolf. As a classically trained singer, Lowder released his first – and last – album in 2011.
4. Billy Warlock (Frankie Brady)
Billy Warlock – yes, that’s his real name – first came to Days… as Frankie Brady in 1986 before leaving to pursue other projects after just two years. Following his departure, the actor appeared in the cult horror flick Society as well as having a recurring role in Baywatch. Nonetheless, he returned to Days… twice: between 1990 and 1991, then from 2005 to 2006.
3. Kirsten Storms (Belle Black)
Before Martha Madison took up the mantle of Belle Black, Kirsten Storms played the character between 1999 and 2004. However, after five years playing the ingénue – the fifth actress to do so – Storms eventually left to appear in the series Clubhouse. She would later garner a Daytime Emmy nomination for her work in General Hospital.
2. Kevin Spirtas (Craig Wesley)
Scheming Craig Wesley earned few fans due to his terrible treatment of his wife Nancy. Nevertheless, actor Kevin Spirtas became a fixture of the show and would make several appearances between 1997 and 2009. Since calling quits on the character, though, Spirtas has found work in One Life to Live and Winterthorne.
1. Jay Kenneth Johnson (Philip Kiriakis)
After character Philip Kiriakis was rapidly aged by ten years in 1999, fans quickly became accustomed to Jay Kenneth Johnson in the newly adult role. Upon taking a break from the show in 2002, though, Johnson had a recurring role in Scrubs; he would eventually return to Days… in 2007 for four additional years.