You don't get to legendary soap opera status without a few legendary stories, which Deidre Hall has had plenty of as Days of our Lives' Marlena Evans. And now her important place in entertainment history is even more cemented following a ceremony in which she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Soap Central caught up with the celebrated actress to get the scoop on what the honor of receiving the famous sidewalk star meant to her and her family, as well as her thoughts on reuniting with John de Lancie (ex-Eugene Bradford), working with her twin sister, Andrea Hall (ex-Samantha Evans/Hattie Adams), the possible return of former controversial character Valerie Grant, losing all her on-screen children, and much, much more.
soapcentral.com: Congratulations on receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame! I imagine that must have been a really wonderful moment for you, both leading up to it and the moment it actually happened.
Deidre Hall: You know you're right to say it that way, because there have been a number of moments that have just been extraordinary.
soapcentral.com: Is this something you dreamed about when you first decided to become an actress?
Hall: I fell into acting. I didn't plan it, I didn't design it, I didn't have any illusions about it. I mostly wanted to be a hairdresser, and I got to L.A. and was doing some modeling, as I had done in Florida, just to support myself. And then it just turned into, "How can I make more money? Well, do commercials." So I did commercials. And then I got into acting frankly because it paid more. I was still working my way through college, and that was how it began. The DAYS job came along in '76, and I kept having to drop classes because I couldn't get to them. And finally I just said, "Well, I'll do this acting thing until I have a career," and then I woke up one day and thought, "Wait a minute. I think maybe I do have a career!" So it's a thing I had never planned on and had never dreamed about. And there it was.
soapcentral.com: Despite maybe not dreaming of being an actor, is there anyone you're excited or happy to share "sidewalk company" with?
Hall: Wow! You know what, I haven't actually walked the stars that much. Does [Katherine] Hepburn have a star? I assume she does. I don't know [an answer to that question], but I know that everyone who is there has worked very hard and made a contribution to this business. You don't get there by accident. They have certainly earned the right and earned the honor.
soapcentral.com: Many soap fans are happy to see you next to other soap opera legends Eric Braeden (Victor Newman, The Young and the Restless) and Susan Lucci (ex-Erica Kane, All My Children). They say that's exactly the company you belong in. How do you feel about it?
Hall: I'm happy to hear that, and I'm glad they're thrilled.
soapcentral.com: You had a lot of costars and fans and reporters who came. How did it make you feel to get so much support and love during the moment?
Hall: I felt completely embraced. As I said, my family was there, my brother had flown in from Florida, and my sister had flown in from Virginia. It was embracing. Could it have been better? My parents could still be alive. Do you know what I mean? But short of that, it was completely embracing.
soapcentral.com: Was there anyone who showed up that completely surprised you?
Hall: I didn't know that John De Lancie (ex-Eugene Bradford) was coming, so that was great fun. It's an invitation event, so everybody that was there had been on my guest list. And sadly, there were a number of actors and staff and crew that I would have loved to have had there that are part of my every day that had to be working that day. But they watched it back at the studio, I'm told. So yippee!
soapcentral.com: I saw on your website that you created mini replicas of your star. Was that your idea?
Hall: The people that make them came to us and asked if we wanted to do it, and I thought, you know, there are so few times in your life that you have something that is that tangible. So you can definitely let the fans know, because we haven't been able to get the word out yet. They're available on DeidreHall.com. It's kind of a special little thing; you can use them for coasters or wall hangings and they come in several sizes. They're pretty cute.
soapcentral.com: I feel like this past year has been so special for you, because it was the show's big anniversary, you've all gotten exciting storylines, and now you received your star. Have all the good moments been a bit overwhelming?
Hall: It's just a good time, you know? [Our co-executive producer] Greg Meng, I hold him personally responsible for every good thing that happens to me and to the show. [And co-executive producer] Ken Corday obviously is the master of goodness. I suspect luck has nothing to do with it. It's just a million details attended to that come together and make a masterpiece.
soapcentral.com: I actually wanted to ask you about a casting tidbit we've heard. You were a large part of Will (Guy Wilson) and Sonny's (Freddie Smith) wedding, which was a first for daytime, so I'd love to hear your thoughts about the possibility that Valerie Grant could be coming back to Salem. She was involved in one of the first interracial couples on DAYS back in the 70s when her character started dating Julie's son, David Banning (Richard Guthrie). The news hasn't been confirmed yet, but what would you think if the show actually did bring Valerie back?
Hall: Our writers are so smart about what's going on in this country and about the pulse of the audience, and we seem to be a little bulletproof in our storytelling. We did the gay wedding in our storytelling, and people were thrilled. And I think the credit for that goes to our writers, who found characters that were beloved and told that story so gently, and wove it in so carefully, and by the time the wedding rolled around, you were thrilled. There was no, "Wait a minute, you can't do that." The audience was thrilled to see Sonny and Will have their day and have their moment. I thought the shows were wonderfully, tastefully handled. And if we do [an interracial] story, we'll do it with that sort of taste and elegance.
soapcentral.com: Is there anything else you can think of from Salem's history that you'd love to see re-explored? A storyline or a distant character?
Hall: I loved the Eugene Bradford stuff. To me, that was so much money in the bank, having such an eccentric on the show, because you never knew what Eugene would do, and you never knew what John de Lancie would do. That was great fun, and I would love to have that revisited. And Wayne Northrop (ex-Alex North) is one of my best friends, so it would be great fun to work with him again. But you know what? The writers really have their hand on the pulse, and I think whatever they decide to do is probably the best road to take.
soapcentral.com: I would love to see your twin sister return. I wasn't old enough to be watching when she came on as Samantha, but I heard it was really spectacular, and I'm sure fans would love to see your sister, Andrea Hall, return, as well.
Hall: Yeah, she was a brilliant Samantha and also a wonderful Hattie Adams. She played a curmudgeon in the diner who had a crush on Roman (Josh Taylor), and they brought her in, put her in a fat suit and gave her a big, ol' honky nose. And she was side-slapping funny, irreverent, and hilarious.
soapcentral.com: I would so love to see that. But maybe this time she can return and steal your Walk of Fame star in a classic evil twin fashion!
Hall: [Laughs] And dig it out with a nail clipper, I don't know. Funny idea.
soapcentral.com: Speaking of family, I'm wondering how you feel now that Marlena has lost all of her children from the canvas? Alison Sweeney's Sami, Greg Vaughan's Eric, and Martha Madison's Belle.
Hall: You know, odd you would say that because I'm sitting in the press department and looking at a cast picture and thinking, "Oh, Sweeney, I miss you!" And Martha Madison, my gosh, Greg Vaughan. How much do I love my children?! They've all been a brilliant piece of casting, lovely actors and lovely human beings, and I miss them more than I can say. I think there's a dimension to that, when you lose them all on the canvas.
soapcentral.com: Do you think there might be someone that Marlena pulls under her wing because she doesn't have her children around?
Hall: Not at the moment, but that is a direction they could take. And another thing I'm loving is Lauren Koslow and I are social friends, and Marlena and Kate are unassuming and unlikely friends in Salem, and I think that's fertile ground to plow. They're so different, and they have such a famous history, and they share grandchildren. And I love female friendships.
soapcentral.com: I agree, and we don't really get to see too many of them! Is there anything else you'd like to add about storyline or your star ceremony before I have to let you go?
Hall: One thing that was special to me was we had a little ceremony afterwards, and the NBC crew was there to take reactions and do interviews, and I got to hear my boys stand up and speak their minds about their mom. And that's not a moment most people get to have. They're not there to toast you at your wedding, and when they're born, they're not so articulate. So it was especially thrilling, and I can't wait to see that video. I found them articulate, interesting, and I was deeply moved.
soapcentral.com: Do you remember anything they said? Or were you caught up in the moment?
Hall: You know, I wouldn't even begin to recapture what they said. But it'll be available, that footage should be available. But it had to do with being a child of mine and what it was like growing up, and they referred to my childhood home that we would go back and visit all the time. It's been a long road for all of us.
How do you feel about Hall receiving a Walk of Fame star? What do you think about her comments regarding Valerie Grant, John de Lancie, and her twin sister, Andrea? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.