Although initially introduced as a mentally unbalanced man suspected of committing multiple murders, Eugene eventually emerged as one of Days of Our Lives’ most beloved characters — no doubt owing to his particular brand of goofy, offbeat humor (and John de Lancie’s acting). His pairing opposite Arleen Sorkin’s equally zany Calliope Jones would result in one of the most comical pairings in soap opera history.
Who Is Eugene Bradford?
As a distant relation of the criminally-inclined DiMera clan (thanks to a long-ago marriage), Eugene claimed Tony as a cousin. In his youth, he had married Bonita Jean but their union became strained due to his ongoing struggle with his mental health.
The marriage became characterized by its lack of intimacy and outbursts of violent rage on Eugene’s part, and he attempted to throttle his wife to death on at least one occasion.
A Special Patient
Eugene sought counseling with Dr. Marlena Evans but she couldn’t seem to make any progress with his treatment. When Salem became gripped by the serial slayings of young women — who were all strangled to death with a silk scarf — Marlena feared that Eugene was the person responsible.
An investigation into his background revealed that after canceled appointments with Marlena, Eugene’s wife had been found murdered — also a victim of the strangler.
Days of Our Lives: Eugene Bradford, A Man of Danger?
Nearing a full-on mental collapse, Eugene became consumed with the notion that he was indeed the serial killer and during a manic episode he kidnapped Marlena at knife-point. When confronted by the police, Eugene confessed to ‘his’ crimes.
However, the murders continued and it quickly became clear that the cops had the wrong man. When Jake Kositchek was revealed to be the perpetrator, Eugene once again became Marlena’s patient.
The Marrying Kind
Counting his first wedding to Bonita, Eugene would be married a total of five times during his tenure at Days of Our Lives. In 1983, he met Trista Evans (Marlena’s cousin), and their relationship eventually turned romantic. The two wed in Haiti but only lived together as a husband and wife for a few days.
In 1984, Eugene married Marlena — bigamously — in an attempt to make Stefano believe that she had accepted – and moved on from — Roman’s ‘death.’ Eugene intended to make Calliope Jones his fourth bride, but she would have to settle for eventually being wife number five. In the meantime, he married the wealthy Madeline Rutherford.
The Bradford Family Curse
Following the death of his great-grandfather — Haiti-based Reginald Bradford — Eugene feared that he had inherited a dreaded family curse. And his suspicions were certainly bolstered when almost every person he cared for succumbed to the grim reaper. The list included his beloved wife, Trista, and Aunt Leticia who became victims of the Salem Slasher.
A Haunting in Salem
Absolutely distraught over losing Trista, Eugene plunged headlong into a caper that involved faking Roman Brady’s death after he was framed for the Slasher’s crimes. Eugene offered Roman sanctuary in his basement, but he warned his friend that the house was haunted by his late wife’s restless spirit.
While investigating the claim, Roman realized that Eugene’s entire house was rigged with devices to simulate ghostly phenomena and traced them back to their source: Stefano DiMera!
Stefano was trying to get his hands on a mystery talisman (the Balka) that Eugene had retrieved in Haiti (believing it would keep him safe from the family curse), which was actually DiMera family property.
My Fair Lady
Though he mourned Trista’s death for quite a long time, Eugene eventually moved on with his life and fell under the spell of fellow eccentric Calliope Jones. The two bonded over their mutual love for strawberry soda and beef jerky and following a ridiculously delightful courtship, they made plans to tie the knot.
However, in order to collect on a long-overdue inheritance, Eugene had to marry a woman that could meet the standards of his high society mother, Vanessa Van Kessler.
Calliope took lessons in “being a lady” from Liz Curtis and actually received approval from Vanessa. But, we learned woman had actually squandered almost all of the reserved cash.
To keep the truth from coming out — which would earn Vanessa a tidy little prison sentence — and in order to replenish the coffers, Eugene married the very wealthy Madeline Rutherford. He also took a job at the newspaper Salem Today and wrote an advice column under the pen name Bettina Lovecraft.
In order to perpetuate his charade, Eugene took to dressing like his alter ego and making public appearances but hiding the truth weighed on his conscience. Then, when he caught Calliope in a (seemingly) compromising position with another man, Eugene decided that drastic action was necessary.
He donned his drag and then removed it during a charity function, revealing his true identity. He also stated that, despite his current status as a married man, he was still in love with Calliope. Subsequently, Madeline divorced him and the pittance left in the trust was used to pay legal fees stemming from a lawsuit filed by his magazine’s publisher.
To Boldly Go…
Eugene and Calliope were wed on New Year’s Eve 1985 and — following a honeymoon that took them from the stage of The Newlywed Game all the way to Finland — the couple settled into (raucous) marital bliss. With some free time on his hands, gadget-loving, robot enthusiast Eugene began working on a contraption that he believed would become the world’s first fully operational time machine.
And sure enough, his creation worked. It flung him into the far future where he was stranded for many years. To keep him company, he created an android that was the spitting image of his beloved wife.
The Traveling Man
Eugene was eventually able to return to his correct timeline, and he used Kimberly Brady’s basement as a base of operation. When enemies from the future tracked Eugene down, they attempted to confiscate the Calliope bot but instead kidnapped the real McCoy, so it was up to our intrepid hero to save the day.
Although he would disappear for the second time in his machine, Eugene would again reunite with his wife, whom he settled down with, in the bustling metropolis that is New York City. Days of our Lives (DOOL) airs weekdays on NBC. Check your local listings for airtimes.