From the moment Days of our Lives' executive producer Ken Corday announced that the show was planning a special tribute to Frances Reid (Alice Horton), many fans wondered if Alice's wayward sons, Tommy and Bill, would return for the memorial and, if so, who would be cast. Parts of those questions now have an answer. John Martin has been cast as Bill Horton.
Ironically, Martin is not a stranger to Salem. In 1985, he appeared on Days of our Lives in the short-term role of Robert Brennan. Of course, fans are most likely to remember Martin from his longer stints on other soaps such as One Life to Live (ex-Jon Russell, 1986-1992), Sunset Beach (ex-Hank Cummings, 1997-1999), and The Young and the Restless (ex-Frederick Hodges, 2002-2005).
Martin's casting not only brings Bill back to Salem, but also reunites him with Days of Our Lives co-executive producer, Gary Tomlin. The two worked together on Sunset Beach from 1997 to 1999. During his tenure on the NBC/Aaron Spelling soap, Tomlin served as Executive Producer and Director for the show's entire run while Martin appeared as family patriarch Hank Cummings.
Despite Martin's familiarity with Days of Our Lives and Tomlin, casting the role of Bill proved to be a challenge. All three of the actors who had previously played the part had unfortunately passed away. Paul Carr, who originated the role in 1965, died in 2006.
The next actor to play Bill would be Edward Mallory, who, having played it the longest, is perhaps the actor most commonly associated with the role. His tenure lasted from 1965 to 1980. He would again revisit the role in 1991 and 1992. Mallory passed away in 2007.
Christopher Stone took over the role from Mallory in 1987. His stint lasted until 1988 and, when Bill was next seen, Mallory was back in the role. They swapped again and, in 1994, Stone returned as Bill. Sadly, Stone would pass away the next year.
Although Martin's casting also marks the first time in 16 years an actor will tackle troublesome Bill Horton, this will be his second trip to Salem this year. The character returned in January to attend the funeral of his brother, Mickey, but the role was not cast. Bill remained off-screen, "in the other room," during his stay.
While Martin will portray Bill, it remains unclear what the show has planned for role of the Tommy, Alice's eldest son. During his entire stay in Salem, Tommy was played by John Lupton, who sadly passed away in 1993. Tommy was last seen in Salem in 1979 and little has been mentioned about him since.
Martin first appears on-screen Tuesday June 16, 2010.