John Black (Days of Our Lives)
||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (February 2012)|
Drake Hogestyn as John Black
|Days of our Lives character|
|Portrayed by||Robert Poynton (1985–86; bandaged as The Pawn)
Drake Hogestyn (1986–2009, 2011—)
Jude Will (2007; Young John Black)
|First appearance||November 27, 1985|
|Created by||Sheri Anderson
|Introduced by||Betty Corday
|Book appearances||A Secret in Salem|
Fr. John Black
715 Pinewood Avenue
John Black is a fictional character on the NBC soap opera Days of Our Lives, which originated when Drake Hogestyn was cast as a previously established character, Roman Brady, whom Hogenstyn played from 1986 until 1991 when the character that Hogenstyn had been portraying for five years was retroactively revealed to be a separate character than Roman. Hogestyn's debut on the show was January 10, 1986, and he played the role with brief interruptions from October 26, 2007 to January 8, 2008, and most recently January 23, 2009 to September 26, 2011 as well as July 17, 2013 to March 4, 2014.
The character was introduced to Days audiences as an amnesiac wearing face bandages from extensive facial reconstructive surgery, known only as "The Pawn" and appeared in Salem on January 23, 1986. He soon named himself "John Black" (after seeing the name on a war memorial) and met Dr. Marlena Evans. Almost immediately, John and Marlena established a rapport. As a psychiatrist, she attempted to restore his memory. An unforeseen consequence of their new-found intimacy was that they fell in love. Marlena's emerging feelings however were tested when a distinctive tattoo suggested that John was Marlena's enemy and Roman Brady's killer, Stefano DiMera. During the climax of Marlena and John's "wilderness" sojourn, and moments after Roman's brother, Bo Brady almost sent John Black careening down a cliff, Marlena discovered photos confirming that "John" was in fact her presumed-dead husband Roman Brady. It was revealed that Stefano had captured an injured Roman (after a gunshot wound and fall from a cliff), attempted to brainwash and train him to be one of the DiMera family's cadre of assassins, and altered his appearance with plastic surgery. But despite his lack of memories, "Roman" and Marlena renewed their marriage vows and lived happily together-- if only for a brief time. Marlena was kidnapped and ultimately presumed dead in 1987. Roman went on to romance Diana Colville in 1988, but she left town in 1989 after accidentally shooting him.
In 1991, Marlena reappeared in Salem and was reunited with "Roman". That same year, Wayne Northrop was recast as Roman Brady and the character that Hogestyn had been portraying for five years was retconned to be an entirely different character that had been brainwashed to believe he was Roman Brady. Still suffering from a lack of memories from before the time he arrived in Salem (other than stories told to him by friends and family members, plus details passed into his subconscious via Stefano's brainwashing), and unaware of exactly who he was, the character returned to the "John Black" name that he first used when he arrived in Salem. For a time, Marlena was torn between the two men, but she eventually chose Roman, leaving John to resume his relationship with Isabella Toscano. John then discovered that he was Forrest Alamain, brother to the evil Lawrence Alamain and nephew to wicked Vivian. Villain Stefano DiMera had brainwashed Forrest into believing he was Roman as part of Stefano's vendetta against the Brady family. Despising the Alamains, "Forrest" decided to resume use of the name John Black.
In 1992 John married Isabella Toscano. Two years previously, in the story line, "Cruise of Deception," Isabella discovered that she was the daughter of John Black's nemesis Victor Kiriakis. Isabella's marriage to John was short-lived; she died of pancreatic cancer shortly after giving birth to their son, Brady Victor Black in 1992.
Distraught over the death of Isabella, John's feelings for Marlena resurfaced during "The Pit" story line. Marlena fought her feelings for John, but gave in to them when he attempted to leave the country. Boarding John's private jet on the eve of her wedding anniversary with Roman, John and Marlena embarked on a torrid affair of words and heated emotions. They conceived their daughter Belle. One month later, Sami, Roman and Marlena's teenage daughter witnessed the couple's second notorious encounter on the Titan Publishing conference room table (part of the prime time story line, "Night Sins"). Sami then switched the blood tests that proved John was the unborn baby's father in order to protect Roman from the truth.
In 1993, Marlena gave birth to Belle with John assisting in the delivery. Spiteful Sami then kidnapped Belle and sought to sell her on the black market. John foiled Sami's attempts to run away just before the troubled teen boarded a plane. An unrepentant Sami told Marlena that she knew about her affair with John. Knowing that their affair hurt so many people, John moved on to have other relationships – most significantly with Kristen Blake, who turned out to be Stefano's adopted daughter, while Marlena fruitlessly struggled to save her marriage to Roman. However, during Belle's baptism, Stefano forced Marlena to reveal the truth of her affair to everyone in the church. Shortly thereafter, Stefano showed up at the Brady residence with Sami's carelessly discarded diary which proved Sami's deception in switching Belle's paternity tests.
In 1994, an embittered Roman filed for divorce and left Salem. Though in love with John, Kristen married Stefano DiMera's son, Tony, whom, it later turned out was really Tony's cousin, André DiMera. Tony/André faked his own "murder" while planting incriminating evidence that pointed to John's guilt. Kristen, unlike Marlena, refused to believe in John's innocence and John was brought to trial and almost executed. Saved at the last minute, John resumed his vocation as a priest – a revelation of his mysterious past that also fit in well with Days of Our Lives most infamous story line, "The Possession" – where Father John Black ultimately saved Maredevil/Marlena from possession.
After saving Marlena from the devil's clutches, John gave up his priestly pursuits and resumed his relationship with Kristen Blake. Kristen became pregnant but lost the baby. Knowing that John was still in love with Marlena, Kristen passed-off the newborn child of her lookalike, Susan Banks, as John's baby. John married Kristen (actually Susan in disguise) in a rushed hospital ceremony in 1997. Finally, John discovered that John, Jr. was not his child but was EJ DiMera the son of Stefano DiMera and Susan Banks. John and Marlena then professed their love for each other and decided to marry just as a dying Roman returned to Salem. Marlena agreed to honor Roman's last wish by marrying him, but John interrupted the wedding with a cure for Roman. John and Marlena finally married on July 5, 1999. However, his recently discovered past with thief and forger Princess Gina Von Amberg threatened his happy marriage with Marlena. Programmed by Stefano with Gina's memories, Hope Brady-as-Gina activated John's own pre-programming, and John and Hope/Gina became lovers during John and Marlena's Hawaiian honeymoon.
John and Marlena reunited in 1999, but a serial killer called the "Salem Stalker" began to murder Salem's most prominent citizens: Bradys, Hortons and other Salem notables. Evidence suggested that Marlena was the stalker so that a gun-wielding Marlena was mistakenly killed on a prison rooftop. John's relentless sleuthing eventually revealed that the Salem Strangler debacle was a diabolical DiMera plot; that Marlena and her "victims" were alive on a remote island, "Melaswen" (New Salem spelled backwards). Determined to rescue Marlena and the other Salemites, John was seriously injured during his failed attempt. Addicted to painkillers, John sought solace in the arms of—and proposed to—Roman's widow Kate Roberts. They broke off their engagement when Roman and Marlena managed to escape Melaswen and reappeared in Salem.
After a treacherous fall that killed her unborn child conceived with Roman, Marlena became an amnesiac. The specialist summoned to help her – Dr. Alex North – turned out to be her first husband, presumed dead in the Vietnam War. Marlena rejected John's protestations of love and wedded bliss, saying that all her relationships subsequent to hers with Alex North were non-binding. Nevertheless, John discovered that Alex was a fraud who had plotted to marry, then kill Marlena. John and Marlena's subsequent reunion was cut short when a dying Stefano reignited his vendetta, and John was shot by EJ Wells. EJ turned out to be the son of Stefano DiMera and Susan Banks, the child whom John had thought was his own son with Kristen. John eventually came out of his coma in May 2007, but was then hit by a car, dying in Marlena's arms on October 17, 2007.
On January 11, 2008, EJ confessed to Marlena that John was still alive and Stefano's prisoner. Erased of all memory yet again, John was programmed to assassinate Roman's aunt Colleen Brady, presumed dead decades ago but recently found alive. Colleen shocked John in February 2008 with the revelation that he was her son Ryan Brady, and that his father was Stefano DiMera's father Santo DiMera, thus making John and Stefano half-brothers. The Alamains had adopted John after Colleen fell ill and was unable to care for him. Later, she was forced to fake her own death in order to protect her brother Shawn's family from Stefano DiMera. Still devoid of memories, John embraced life as a DiMera, indulging in illegal and self-destructive behavior and even began an affair with Ava Vitali. Frustrated in her inability to reach the old John, Marlena filed for divorce. Discovering that his life lacked meaning, John tried to recommit himself to Marlena and remembering their life together. Jealous of Marlena, John's therapist nearly killed him in her plot of revenge against Marlena. John was paralyzed but his memories were restored. Hearing of a possible cure for his paralysis, John and Marlena remarried in the hospital, and left Salem for a treatment center in Switzerland on January 23, 2009.
After a two year break, John and Marlena returned to Salem on September 26, 2011 for the dedication of the new Horton Town Square. During their visit, the couple announced that John's physical therapy was a success; that he is now able to walk again. Their shared joy was short-lived however, when the FBI and the Salem PD order Rafe Hernandez to arrest John. Despite Marlena's pleas not to do so, John accepts a guilty plea on charges that he embezzled from Basic Black's pension fund. John believed that this was the only way to insure his family's safety after a rogue Salem PD cop went on a shooting spree at the Brady Pub in a vain attempt to kill John. Given the FBI's compelling case against him, and his own plea, a Salem judge sentenced John to 25 years-to-life in prison without parole. In the following days, Carrie and Rafe conclude that one of the most compelling pieces of evidence against John, a photo of John in Paris, was doctored. With Marlena's assent, Hope and Bo use a recently discovered promissory note from Stefano thanking Alice Horton for saving then-toddler EJ's life in order to gain a crucial piece of evidence from Salem's arch villain. Rafe is finally able to solve the puzzle of the manufactured evidence against John upon which the FBI's case hinges. With all charges against him now dropped, a newly freed John and his supporters begin the painstaking process of unraveling EJ's nefarious plot to win the mayoralty of Salem, embezzle Basic Black's assets, and destroy John. During a conversation between Hope and Marlena on December 17, 2012, it was revealed that John and Marlena’s divorce was finalized. In November 2012, Kristen DiMera returns to Salem after Stefano asks her to come and reunite the family. Kristen insists to John and Marlena that she changed her ways and that she is receiving therapy. John believes Kristen while Marlena does not and becomes frustrated with John. Marlena continues to insist that Kristen hasn't changed, causing John to suggest that Marlena is obsessed with Kristen. This causes a strain on their marriage. Kristen later becomes romantically involved with Brady and later they become engaged as a way to get revenge on John and Marlena. John later sees that Kristen hasn't changed and decides to seduce Kristen with Brady seeing them, in order to end their engagement. Kristen, who was seducing John as a way to get her revenge on him and Marlena, stopped him when she realizes that she is in love with Brady and wants to marry him. Kristen and Brady's engagement ends when Marlena provides Brady with evidence that Kristen paid a man to attack him before they started dating. A frustrated Kristen tells Marlena that John tried to seduce her earlier. An angry Marlena confronts John with these accusations, which he doesn't deny. Brady and Kristen plan their wedding, but Victor discovers the video that Kristen had made where she drugged Eric and had sex with him. Victor switched the video that Brady had made of his love for Kristen with Kristen's video having sex with Eric. Victor had Marlena play the incriminating video without her knowledge of its contents in front of the whole church during their wedding. This video stopped the wedding and caused Eric's priesthood to be in jeopardy. John later leaves Salem to go to Europe to study his family genealogy. On January 6th, 2014 Hope told Brady that John discovered that he isn't the son of Colleen Brady and Santo DiMera. The orphanage where he was supposedly born misled a desperate Colleen into believing that John was her son, when in reality the real Ryan Brady had died. Thus, John's biological parentage is yet again unknown.
- Kim & Shane/The Pawn - 11/27/85 pt. 1 on YouTube
- Lucille Giordano, Inside Days of Our Lives July 1995.
- Jason Bonderoff, "In A Storybook Wedding," Daytime TV, January 1987.
- "Should Roman Brady Love Again?" Soap Opera People, January 1988.
- Freeman Gunter, The Best of Days of Our Lives February 1990.
- Lorraine Zenka, "Will The Real John Please Stand Up?" Soap Opera Magazine January 31, 1995.
- Janet Di Lauro, "In A League of His Own," Soap Opera Digest, May 23, 1993.
- "It Doesn't Matter Which Woman," Soap Opera Digest, March 23, 1993.
- Bill Lieberman, "The Descent Into Hell," Soap Opera Update, October 31, 1995.
- Adam Kelley, "Help! My Character's A Moron!" Soap Opera Digest, June 24, 1997.
- Mary Ann Giorgio, "The Home Run Kid," NBC Soaps In Depth, May 12, 1998.
- "Three's A Crowd," Soap Opera Digest, March 31, 1998.
- Janet Di Lauro, "Drake Hogestyn – Can I?," Soap Opera Digest, Feb. 22, 2005.
- Stephanie Sloane, "Back In Black," Soap Opera Digest, January 8, 2008.
- Stephanie Sloane, "Play It Again," Soap Opera Digest, January 8, 2008; Janet Di Lauro, "A Closer Look – John," Soap Opera Weekly, January 22, 2008; Carolyn Hinsey, "Carolyn's Corner," Soap Opera Weekly, February 5, 2008; Paulette Cohn, "Why I Came Back To Days," TV Soap, February 20, 2008; "Missing In Action," Soap Opera Digest, March 3, 2008; and "Buzz," Soap Opera Weekly, March 18, 2008.
- "Days' Fizzling Family Feud," Soap Opera Digest, Sept. 25, 2007.
- "Braun's Days Are Done," Soap Opera Digest, July 22, 2008; and "Ar-Ava-Derci!" Soap Opera Digest, August 5, 2008.
- On November 21, 2008, NBC released the following statement regarding the decision of the producers of Days of Our Lives to fire the super-couple actors, Deidre Hall (Marlena) and Drake Hogestyn (John): "Days of Our Lives’ has decided to rest the characters of John Black and Dr. Marlena Evans. After a year of separation, John and Marlena will finally reunite before exiting the canvas in early 2009." The news was featured by a number of presses and online sources: "Days Of Our Lives Stars Drake Hogestyn And Deidre Hall Fired," NY Post, November 21, 2008; Dan J. Kroll, "Deidre Hall, Drake Hogestyn fired as DAYS trims its budget", SoapCentral.com, November 16, 2008; Producer of the long-running daytime soap, Ken Corday confirmed inquiries, saying, "The couple will be happily reunited after a long period of angst and separation and will be off-screen after January for an unknown period of time," Soap Opera Digest, November 2008.