For Tom Horton – Days of Our Lives defacto leading man – his wife, his family, and their happiness were the only things that mattered in life. He sacrificed for them, he lied for them, and he suffered greatly for them. But he was rewarded tenfold with their constant love and support and in the ensuing years, the character would become one of the most beloved patriarchs in all of soap opera history.
Who Is Tom Horton?
Tom had come from an impoverished background and he worked his way through medical school, championed by his bride Alice Grayson. The two had been high-school sweethearts and had married in a simple ceremony at City Hall.
While Alice dutifully ensured that Tom was cared for and prepared for his exams, he encouraged her to pursue interests of her own, form personal opinions on topics and express them, and above all be her authentic self – an admirable trait that was rare in men of Tom’s generation.
By the mid-1960s, Tom was an established doctor with a medical practice set up in his home and a tenured teaching position at the local University Hospital. He and Alice were the proud parents of a large brood (five in all) who had all left the nest, save for their youngest child, Marie.
But of course, in the years to come, Tom and Alice would welcome their granddaughters Julie and Jennifer into their home and reared them like one of their own.
In the late 1960s, Tom found himself stymied by an onslaught of patients exhibiting signs of severe dysentery and tumor-like growths. After Julie became ill with the same symptoms, Tom and Rusty Lincoln – a colleague at University Hospital – were able to pinpoint the cause of the illness.
A well – and in fact the surrounding river – in nearby Woodstock was being poisoned by polluted runoff from a soap factory owned by a conglomerate called Woodstock Industries. Together with his son, Mickey (Woodstock Industries attorney), Tom was instrumental in helping the factory clean the spillage and prevent further contamination.
Legal Troubles on Days of Our Lives
Despite being one of Salem’s leading physicians, Tom would find himself at the center of four medical malpractice lawsuits. The first case alleged negligence on Tom’s part in the handling of Carl Sawyer’s illness that resulted in death. In late 1965, Tom diagnosed Sawyer as suffering from a stomach ulcer and counseled him on proper management techniques.
However, Sawyer did not heed the warnings and his ulcer hemorrhaged, leading to death by internal bleeding. The issue surrounding the case hinged on the fact that Sawyer’s wife had called the Horton home on three separate occasions requesting that Tom come and attend to her ailing husband and when Tom finally deemed to arrive – three hours later – he was too late.
Tom suffered in quiet silence and adamantly refused to offer an explanation as to why he was detained and unable to administer life-saving aide. Just as the final summations were being made in the courtroom, Marie arrived and asked to be allowed to take the stand.
Once seated, she revealed that her father had not been able to leave the house because she had purposefully taken an overdose of sleeping pills and he been trying desperately to keep her awake and expel the deadly dose. Marie’s testimony absolved Tom of all wrongdoing but he would stand accused of giving lethal aid to a man in his care over two decades later.
That incident concerned a man named Paul Selejko, who was critically injured in an explosion that destroyed his place of employment – Anderson Manufacturing – and had stumbled into the path of a car driven by Tom. Tom tried to save the stranger and in the process, he injected him with morphine.
However, Selejko was allergic to the substance which killed him. The inquest concluded that Sleejko had not been wearing his medical alert bracelet which attested to that fact, so Tom was again cleared.
Subsequently – as University Hospital’s new Chief of Staff – Tom would be named in two further suits. The first in relation to the death of Dean Lombard at the hands of medical intern Chip Lakin and the second concerning the serial murders orchestrated by Vivian Alamain.
Medical Maladies of Tom Horton
Although Tom remained relatively healthy into late middle age he would eventually develop heart trouble and suffer a series of severe angina attacks. His condition would ultimately result in his death in 1994.
In over 50 years of marriage, Tom had never given Alice cause for (real) concern. But suddenly, in 1988, he began to sneak out of the house and when confronted, he refused to divulge where he was going during his nocturnal outings.
Suspicious – and losing a battle with the green-eyed monster – Alice crept behind her husband one night and followed him to Calliope Bradford’s nightclub, the Beat Bar.
But, rather than indulging in a spot of hanky panky with the establishment’s proprietress, Tom was actually taking to the performance area and – under the guise of Norm de Plume – reciting original compositions in the form of love poems dedicated to his missus.
Community Outreach and Legacy
In the early ’90s, Tom and Alice remolded their home and used the addition to open The Horton Center, which catered to runaways and or families in need. Although Tom and Alice have long since passed, their memory lingers in Salem.
Their visage is emblazed on a memorial prominently placed in the town square, insuring that they and their contributions will never be forgotten. Days of our Lives (DOOL) airs weekdays on NBC. Check your local listings for airtimes.