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Wilford Brimley

Eric Pierpoint

Deidre Hall Biography

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Birth Name: Deidre Hall
Born: 10/31/1947
Birth Place: Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

Along with her identical twin sister Andrea, Diedre Hall was born on Oct. 31, 1947 in Milwaukee, WI, but she grew up one of five children in the small town of Lake Worth, FL. After graduating from Lake Worth High School, Hall moved to Southern California, where she married singer-songwriter Keith Barbour at the age of 21. The former Junior Orange Bowl Queen fell into show business while attending L.A. City College and working as a catalog model. Her agent pointed out that she could make more money in commercials, so she "tried it, liked it, and did rather well at it." Her first acting role was on the ABC courtroom drama series "Owen Marshall, Counselor at Law" (1971-74), after which she landed recurring roles on the popular primetime medical drama "Emergency!" (NBC, 1972-79), and the soap "The Young and the Restless" (CBS, 1973- ).

Hot on the heels of busting bad guys on the "Electra Woman and DynaGirl" segments of the Saturday morning kids' series "The Krofft Super Show" (ABC, 1976-78), Hall landed the role that catapulted her into lasting fame: Dr. Marlena Evans on "Days of Our Lives." She first walked onto the set on June 21, 1976, and made limited appearances until her role was expanded and the actress got to realize the true range of Dr. Evans, who she envisioned as a strong, powerful woman "who could do anything." Salem's durable doc proved herself virtually immortal by living through nearly every one of soaps' traditional joys and pains, including passing away four times, surviving her evil twin (played by real-life twin Andrea), hosting her own radio talk show, and being charged with murder. She was steadily rewarded by fans and the soap industry, earning Daytime Emmy nominations in 1980, 1984 and 1985 and winning Soap Opera Digest Awards for Outstanding Actress in 1984 and 1985.

In 1985, the well-established daytime talent began moonlighting, first starring alongside Peter Fonda and Rick Schroder in the TV movie "A Reason to Live" (NBC). Hall lost out on the role of Maddie Hayes on "Moonlighting" (ABC, 1985-89) that would go to Cybill Shepherd, but a year later, she became one of the first performers ever to star simultaneously in a daytime and a nighttime series when she was cast as widowed mother Jesse Witherspoon on NBC's drama "Our House." The wholesome family series co-starred Wilford Brimley and a pre-"90210" Shannen Doherty, and unlike her daytime gig, was hailed for its family values and believability. Meanwhile, her "Days" popularity remained unaffected; even soaring as Marlena and onscreen love interest John Black's (Drake Hogestyn) undeniable chemistry earned them the moniker of TV soap "super couple" in 1986. However, when the grueling demands of shooting two shows proved too much for the actress, she bid farewell to "Days" and Marlena entered a five-year coma, which essentially left the door open to a future return to the show.

"Our House" lasted two seasons, after which Hall remained busy on the small screen in movies-of-the-week, including "Take My Daughters, Please" (NBC, 1988), the Perry Mason movie "The Cast of the All-Star Assassin" (NBC, 1989), and NBC's "Columbo Cries Wolf" (1990). In 1991, Hall starred in the popular CBS miniseries "And the Sea Will Tell," and made a triumphant return to "Days of Our Lives," where she immediately became involved in some of the most controversial storylines of the show's history, among them, demonic possession. The sight of Dr. Evans sporting yellow demon eyes was, indeed, one for the record books when it came to silly soap premises. Off-screen, her life was far more enchanting as Hall married for the third time to best-selling author, former Columbia Studios Chief and ABC marketing executive, Dr. Steve Sohmer. After years of trying desperately to have children, Hall and Sohmer made headlines when they became the parents of a baby who was conceived through artificial insemination via surrogate mother. Her personal struggle to build a family became the focus of her next onscreen project, the ABC movie "Never Say Never: The Deidre Hall Story" (1995) which was produced by the couple and starred Hall as herself.

Hall's notoriety (and energy) continued unabated, as she was tapped to be a spokesperson for Dexatrim, Hallmark and for the Alzheimer's Foundation of America. She also launched her own lines of jewelry and Christmas ornaments. Hall won a Soap Opera Digest Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in 1995, and in 1999, she was transformed into somewhat of a product herself when Mattel unveiled a Marlena Evans "Marbie" to commemorate her character's wedding to longtime love, John Black. In 2008, Hall expanded into radio, where she served as the host of "Clout!" a 10-week program examining the principles and practices of Eckhard Tolle's spiritual tome Power of Now. The show was broadcast and hosted online by Air America affiliates.

As the decade neared its end, the harsh realities of declining viewership of soap operas began to take its toll, not only on several long-running soaps, but also on the careers of stars like Hall. For longtime fans of the show, the unthinkable happened when, due to drastic budget cuts on the series, Hall and Hogestyn - the productions highest paid actors - were written out of "Days of Our Lives" in 2009. Fans decried the decision, as TV pundits called it the end of an era. Putting her free time to good use, Hall published the cookbook Deidre Hall's Kitchen Closeup with her writing partner, Lynne Bowman, in 2009. Later, she made a guest appearance on the 2011 season finale of "Drop Dead Diva" (Lifetime, 2009- ) and delivered her second book, Deidre Hall's How Does She Do It? - A Beauty Book, once again written with Bowman. But the big news for Hall's fans in 2011 was the return of Marlena and John to "Days of Our Lives." The couple's joyous return to the town of Salem was short-lived, however, when mere moments later, John Black (Hogestyn) was embroiled in a multi-million dollar embezzlement scandal, resulting in his arrest and an ensuing trial.