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Soap Hub Flashback Friday: Suzanne Rogers Recalls Maggie’s Murder

Suzanne Rogers remembers Maggie going to that great soap opera in the sky.

suzanne rogers days of our lives flashback friday.Suzanne Flashback remembers Maggie's death on DAYS.

Suzanne Rogers, who recently celebrated 50 years as Maggie on Days of our Lives, thought at one point this golden moment would never happen. That’s because 20 years ago, on her 30th anniversary, DAYS killed Maggie off in a gruesome way. Rogers chatted with Soap Hub about this critical time for this week’s Flashback Friday.

Suzanne Rogers: Maggie’s Fate

Head writer James Reilly, who had a popular turn on DAYS in the 1990s, returned to the show in 2003 and was tasked with bringing the ratings up. He set out to do this, in part, by creating an edge-of-your-seat murder mystery in which DAYS favorites were being knocked off by the Salem Serial Killer. First, Abe (James Reynolds) met his maker, and then, Jack (Matthew Ashford) was killed off.

Maggie was next, and it became clear that the killer was someone she knew based on how her final scenes were shot. She answered the door to her home and welcomed her unseen (to the audience) visitor, later revealed to be Marlena (Deidre Hall), with another twist to follow. Not suspecting anything was wrong, Maggie chatted with the good doctor but was stunned when Marlena clubbed alcoholic Maggie to death with a whiskey bottle.

Viewers didn’t know yet that the killer was Marlena (that came later when Marlena killed Tony), but Rogers recalls Hall shooting the scenes with her anyway, even though the camera was always on Maggie. “It was awful,” Rogers recalls of Maggie being murdered in such a gruesome way by someone she considered a friend. “I couldn’t believe it. They were going to kill Maggie.”

Rogers says being let go from DAYS after 30 years was emotionally and financially difficult and that Maggie dying in such a cruel way was painful in more ways than one. “They had [fake] blood running down [my] face, and it got in my eyes,” Rogers recalls. “I couldn’t see. The final blow was when all the blood came out of her. Maggie had been talking to [Marlena] as if it were a regular visit. Maggie couldn’t believe that someone she knew would hate her that much. She gave up.”

Say Hello, Maggie Horton

Rogers was touched that her longtime leading man, John Clarke (ex-Mickey), who was retiring around the time that Maggie was killed off, suggested the show bump off Mickey instead of Maggie. “[John] did say that,” Rogers recalls. “He said, ‘She wants to stay. I’m ready to go!’ I didn’t want to go. I didn’t want any of us to go. John knew I was upset. I was on the verge of tears every day at work.”

Maggie may have given up and succumbed to her injuries (or so it appeared), but DAYS hadn’t given up on Rogers or any of the other actors who played characters that had been killed off. In a surprise move, they were all invited back to the show months later; Maggie and the others, including Alice (Frances Reid) and Roman (Josh Taylor), had been kidnapped and taken to the island of Melaswen (“New Salem” spelled backward). Marlena wasn’t the killer at all; it was revealed to be a DiMera hoax.

Suzanne Rogers: Ready for Her Close-Up

Adding to the surreal sadness that Rogers was feeling about leaving, her final episode (which turned out not to be final) was screened for fans of the show, press, and other invited guests at the famed Cinerama Dome movie theater in Hollywood on Sunset Blvd at a nighttime media event. Rogers attended the screening event decked out in an all-white ensemble. “I was very touched by that,” Rogers says of the support fans threw her that night. And viewing herself and the show on the big screen? “It was hard to see yourself seven feet tall!” she chuckles.

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