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Days of our Lives Moments In History: Salem Strangler Kills ‘Marlena’

DAYS salem_strangler Marlena

It was back in the summer of 1982 when Days of our Lives presented a riveting murder mystery as the Salem Strangler was knocking off Salemnites such as Lorie Masters, Denise Peterson, and Mary Anderson.

Days of our Lives Moment In History

The masked strangler also tried to take care of Renee Dumonde, but she managed to elude his killing hands three times.

But on May 24, it appeared that the Salem Strangler had claimed his most notable victim, as Dr. Marlena Evans (Deidre Hall) was found dead in her house, after making numerous calls to her radio show.

Roman Brady (Wayne Northrop) and Don Craig (Jed Allen), Marlena’s former husband, both were in shock and the look on their faces as each came to the house and learned the truth was devastating.

Fans were in an uproar. People picketed outside the DAYS studio demanding that Marlena return and angry calls flooded NBC expressing their anger that the fan-favorite was gone.

But the next week, Marlena popped up alive and well as it was revealed that it was her twin sister, Samantha Evans, who was on the other end of the killer’s death strangle.

While fans still believe their appeal worked, the writers have said Marlena was never the intended victim. Jack Coleman, who played Jake Kositchek (the man revealed as the Salem Strangler) even Tweeted earlier this year that it was always Samantha, confirming the truth.

Eventually, Jake tries to off Marlena once again, but Roman comes to a heroic rescue, killing him in the process.

The storyline was one of the great serial killer mysteries of all-time and set in motion the love story between Marlena and Roman. It also introduced us to the wacky Eugene Bradford (John De Lancie), who was once a suspect but wound up becoming Marlena’s best friend.

DAYS found such success with the storyline that it would repeat the idea with the Salem Slasher, The Riverfront Knifer, and the Salem Stalker—all of which would impact Salem forever. Do you remember this moment? Let us know in the comments section below.

Days of our Lives (DOOL) airs weekdays on NBC. Check your local listings for airtimes. For more about what’s coming up in Salem, check out all the latest that’s been posted on DAYS spoilers, and for an in-depth look at the show’s history, click here.

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