Mary Beth Evans began playing Kayla Brady on Days of our Lives 35 years ago this month. Beloved onscreen for her poignant portrayal of Steve’s “Sweetness,” Evans is known for being gracious to her fans and lends her name to charitable endeavors.
Mary Beth Evans – Through The Years
In the first of a two-part exclusive interview with Evans, the actress chatted with Soap Hub about her early DAYS and also her time as General Hospital’s Katherine and As the World Turns’ Sierra. In 2005, Evans was wrapping up her run in Oakdale. She and Stephen Nichols (Steve) attended DAYS’ gala 40th-anniversary party at the Hollywood Palladium.
Their attendance was serendipitous as Evans and Nichols hadn’t seen the last of Salem. First, she returned to Salem. Then, viewers learned yep, there was a reason Steve’s coffin was switched back in 1990. Read on for part two of this interview with Evans as she recalls more cherished memories.
Do you remember your first scene back when you returned to DAYS after being away for 14 years?
Yes. Kayla was calling her mother Caroline [Peggy McCay] and said, “Hi, it’s Kayla.” I thought, “Oh, my gosh — this is amazing.” Very quickly, you’re right back in the groove. Stephen came back too and we were there until around 2009. I was gone for about a year and then I came back and recurred. Kayla was working in the pub. Later, Stephen came back and Kayla was back playing a doctor. I’m so happy now. I love being a doctor on the show.
In 2016, you won not one, not two, but three Daytime Emmys all in the same weekend for playing Kayla and for playing Sara on The Bay and for producing The Bay, too!
It’s funny. My husband [Michael] kept telling me I should write a speech in case I won. Then, I won for The Bay [on Friday]. I’d done DAYS for so long and I couldn’t believe I was winning for The Bay, which I hadn’t done as long. I thought I had better come up with something to say [in case I won on Sunday]. So, I organized my thoughts. I keep my work life and my home life so separate, but he was there when I won and I called him “the love of my life.” It was amazing.
Your winning reel had scenes of Kayla talking to Bo (Peter Reckell) about his terminal illness.
I love Peter. We always had a great connection as brother and sister. I can’t believe he hasn’t come back already. He’s super sweet.
When I heard that Tamara [Braun] was reprising Ava, I thought it’s not only great that she’s coming back, but this means Joey (James Lastovic) will get out of jail!
Stephen and I were talking about this, recently. Joey went from 6 to 16 quickly! I love James. We had some great story with him. There was some dark stuff, but it was good stuff. I was happy when they got Joey out of jail. I hope he comes back. And even though Shelley Hennig has gone on to have this great career, she returned as Stephanie for a wedding a few years ago. When she came back, she said she was nervous because she wanted to do a good job.
Many feel that DAYS does romance better than other shows. Why do you think that is?
For the longest time, there was the supercouple thing that DAYS did and does so well. Shelley Curtis [former DAYS producer/director] was there with her way of doing things. She’d add more candles and blowing curtains to love scenes. She’s amazing. I think DAYS spends more time on “couple-dom.” Some [relatively newer] people on our show have been involved with multiple people, but some of us have really only been truly in love once. They tend not to mess with the couples from yesteryear.
DAYS was famous for playing love themes for its couples. Steve and Kayla had “The Rose.”
Finances played a role in changing all that. There used to be bigger budgets when they could afford songs. Marty Davich [former DAYS composer] is a good friend of mine. He did a lot of the music back then. The music had a definite vibe to it. There were some [melodies] that were for certain characters and couples.
Do you have any other shoutouts of gratitude on this momentous occasion of 35 years since your DAYS debut?
Ken [Corday, executive producer], for sure, for keeping the show on the air. He’s done an amazing job all these years. Ron Carlivati [head writer] and all our producers — Janet [Spellman-Drucker], Randy [Dugan], and Albert Alarr — are this amazing team. Everybody there is trying to get the best product out.
What would you like to see happen for Kayla next?
I just love working. I love the heartfelt stories. I’m just as happy as I was in the old days when soaps were about sitting on a couch having a cup of coffee and talking. I love the family stories.