Joseph Mascolo as Stefano DiMera
|Days of Our Lives character|
|First appearance||January 18, 1982|
|Last appearance||July 7, 2016|
|Created by||Pat Falken Smith|
|Introduced by||Betty Corday
|Other names||The Phoenix
Joseph M. Wagner
430 Lakeview Drive
Salem, Illinois 06649
Stefano DiMera is a fictional character featured in the American soap opera Days of Our Lives. Created by head writer Pat Falken Smith, he is portrayed by Joseph Mascolo. Stefano is the patriarch of the DiMera family and the father of Renée DuMonde, Megan Hathaway, Benjy Hawk, Lexie Carver (née Brooks), EJ DiMera and Chad DiMera and the stepfather of Antony DiMera; He is also the adoptive father of Peter and Kristen Blake. For a brief period, he believed he was the half-brother of longtime nemesis John Black. He had a nephew, André DiMera, who through plastic surgery became identical to Antony. In 2015, André was revealed to be Stefano's son. Stefano is the ex-husband of Kate Roberts and Vivian Alamain. Stefano first entered the show as a wealthy European businessman who relocated to Salem, and gradually revealed substantial ties to organized crime, both at home and abroad. Over the years Stefano's character has fluctuated between that of a crime lord (both on local and international scales), political terrorist, ruthless business tycoon, and loving (albeit heavy-handed) family man. Soap Opera Digest named him the all-time best villain.
Casting and development
In the early 1980s, then head writer, Pat Falken Smith created the role specifically for Mascolo after seeing his performance as real-life crime boss, Salvatore Maranzano on the NBC miniseries, The Gangster Chronicles in 1981. Mascolo first appeared as Stefano on January 18, 1982. He departed from the series on March 8, 1983, and returned a year later on March 2, 1984 before briefly departing on May 11, 1984 only to return on October 19 and depart again on February 22, 1985. Mascolo briefly returned to the series from November 4 to December 19, 1988. Actor Frank Fata appeared in the role of Stefano for two episodes which aired on December 3 and 4, 1991. Mascolo reclaimed the role on a contractual basis on September 17, 1993. He departed from the show on December 24, 1996, and re-appeared for a few episodes from February 7 to 13, 1997. Mascolo returned to the show full-time once again on June 13, 1997.
Controversial '01 exit
In late February 2001, a post on Mascolo's official website revealed that contract negotiations were not going well and Mascolo was expected to last appear in May. However, a representative of Mascolo's took to the website to deny the reports. In April 2001, rumors of Mascolo's exit due to failed contract negotiations began to surface once again and the producers were apparently considering recasting the role. Days later, Mascolo was spotted at CBS's The Bold and the Beautiful; despite the reports, neither Mascolo, NBC or CBS would comment on the rumors. In May 2001, Mascolo took to his website to confirm the news:
My contract is up in May and I tried to negotiate in good faith... Usually, one expects some give and take but the powers that be are adamant. They now feel that the character of Stefano should take a rest – as if Stefano ever rests.
Though Mascolo seemed disappointed with the show's decision to write the character out briefly, executive producer Ken Corday revealed plans to bring the character back by the fall of 2001 whether Mascolo was available or not. Mascolo made his last official appearance on June 14, 2001. Though Mascolo initially denied the reports, he did indeed debut in the role of Massimo Marone on The Bold and the Beautiful in August 2001.
'06 Return and storyline-dictated exit
In the fall of 2006, following Mascolo's exit from B&B due to lack of storyline, reports began to surface claiming that Mascolo was going to reprise his role as Stefano. The series' producers later confirmed plans to revive the DiMera family in order to stop a decline in ratings. A deathly ill, comatose Stefano began appearing on December 19, 2006. Though some sources list Mascolo in the cast credits for the episodes, neither Mascolo nor NBC have ever stated that he portrayed comatose Stefano. It was later confirmed that Mascolo would reappear in the role officially on 2007, along with costars Thaao Penghlis (Tony DiMera) and Leann Hunley (Anna DiMera). Mascolo made his first official appearance as Stefano on June 6, 2007. However the stint proved to be short-lived with Mascolo last appearing on February 29, 2008 and the character of Stefano was written out to allow the writers to come up with more story for him. In May 2008, the tabloid Globe confirmed that Mascolo had been fired and Stefano was written into another coma. This decision did not sit well with Mascolo who gave a heated interview to Soap Opera Digest accusing the executives of "double crossing" him.
'08 Return and brief '12 departure
In the summer of 2008, it was confirmed that Mascolo would once again reprise his role as Stefano in August 2008. Mascolo later revealed in an interview that his initial anger was fueled by emotion following the death of his father. Following his initial ousting, fans took to his website to express how much they missed the character. The fan fervor allowed for Mascolo's return upon a mutual agreement with executive producer, Ken Corday. Mascolo reappeared on August 5, 2008 just before Days went on hiatus for the Summer Olympics. In 2012, after breaking up the character's marriage to Lauren Koslow's Kate Roberts, making him responsible for his own daughter Lexie Carver's (Renée Jones) death and undoing his father/son relationship with James Scott's EJ DiMera, the character appeared to have been written into a corner. With nearly the entire town gunning for Stefano, several sources later confirmed that Stefano was indeed being killed off with Mascolo last appearing alive on June 4, 2012. Mascolo discussed his disapproval in an interview with Soap Opera Digest:
Every single thing that went wrong in Salem was Stefano’s fault. Every single thing. He got blamed for everything. When Stefano got blamed for this business with Lexie illness, I got very angry. Stefano and his daughter had an absolutely pure relationship. I adore Renee Jones (Lexie). When she came to my dressing room and said, "I’m going to be leaving soon, and this is what is going to happen," I said, "Oh, no!"
It was very difficult. The bottom line Stefano is will always be about family. So when they wrote that, I couldn’t figure it out. In all honesty, Stefano nor EJ would have had wanted it that way. As a matter of fact when James Scott (EJ) saw the business that Elvis wasn’t Stefano’s son, we both went, "No, that’s wrong." We didn’t want it that way.
On June 13, 2012, Mascolo goes off-screen following the character's funeral. Despite what was happening on-screen, certain sources reported that Mascolo could possibly reprise his role very soon. Following the change in head writers, it was confirmed that Mascolo was indeed on his way back; he made his first appearance on August 21, 2012. Mascolo discussed that the plan was always to have Stefano turn out to be alive, but he didn't agree with how the previous writing regime had scripted the story. With the return of former show runners Gary Tomlin and Christopher Whitesell, Mascolo seemed more "intrigued" with their plans for his character. Mascolo's return also coincides with Eileen Davidson's return as Stefano's daughter Kristen. Mascolo reappeared as Stefano on October 8, 2012.
Due to Mascolo's own failing health, he departed the soap, last appearing on January 11, 2016. Mascolo made guest appearances on March 1, March 2, May 20, June 8 and July 7, 2016.
Stefano first appears on-screen in January 1982 with his son Tony DiMera (Thaao Penghlis) surveying the citizens of Salem. Stefano travels to Salem shortly after being introduced as the friend of Lee DuMonde (Brenda Benet) and it is soon revealed he is the father of Lee's daughter, Renée (Philece Sampler), which adds complications to her relationship with Tony. Stefano attempts to help Tony win back his wife, Liz Chandler while Stuart Whyland begins blackmailing him and Stefano kills him. In 1983, Stefano is sent to prison thanks to Detective Roman Brady (Wayne Northrop). Before his death, Stefano's wife, Daphne (Madlyn Rhue), reveals that Tony isn't his biological son. Stefano returns in 1984 with his nephew, André, who has gotten plastic surgery to look like Tony. Together they plan to frame Roman for a string of murders; meanwhile Stefano discovers another daughter, Megan Hathaway. Her adoptive father, Maxwell, had access to the "Three Prisms" that could cure Stefano's brain tumor. In November 1984, in his quest to obtain one of the prisms, Stefano apparently kills Roman after pushing him off a cliff. In February 1985, Bo Brady's (Peter Reckell) wife Hope (Kristian Alfonso) is framed for Megan's murder and Stefano vows revenge on the entire family. He kidnaps Roman's twins, Sami and Eric, and Roman's widow Dr. Marlena Evans (Deidre Hall) shoots him, apparently killing him.
Stefano resurfaces in 1988 to claim his son Benjy who is about to be adopted by Kayla Brady (Mary Beth Evans) and her husband Steve Johnson (Stephen Nichols), as well as to attempt to "reprogram" Roman, whom he had brainwashed in 1984–85, to serve as one of his assassins (Stefano actually got the idea about brainwashing his "agents" from former daughter-in-law Anna DiMera (Leann Hunley), who had hypnotized her own daughter Carrie into acting out against Roman as part of a plot to discredit him in the eyes of polite society). He traps several of Salem's citizens on his island but his plans for revenge are foiled and he escapes. In this iteration, Stefano is presented as more of an assassin and international terrorist than a simple gangster.
In December 1991, John Black (Drake Hogestyn) and Roman Brady discover Stefano in a Mayan pyramid in Mexico. The pyramid collapses and Stefano is once again believed to have perished. Though he survives the collapse, his brain tumor is slowly killing him. Stefano returns to Salem in 1993 and he is taken hostage by Curtis Reed (Nick Benedict) in his weakened state; Curtis's attempt to extort money from Stefano's adopted daughter, Kristen Blake (Eileen Davidson), is foiled after Stefano kills him. He then convinces Tony and Kristen to marry but the marriage is ruined when Stefano is revealed as the murderer. In an attempt to avoid capture, Stefano speeds away as John shoots out his tires and Stefano's car explodes. Stefano retreats to his New Orleans estate, Maison Blanche where he kidnaps Marlena and John. After the mansion burns down, Stefano buys a penthouse in Salem, next door to Marlena. Stefano sneaks into her apartment every night and opens her soul, which leads to Marlena becoming possessed by a demon. Under possession, Marlena pushes Stefano out of a window; after the demon is exorcised, a guilt-ridden Marlena helps Stefano recover. In December 1995, Tony fakes his death and frames John. Stefano is later struck by lightning and becomes so obsessed with Marlena that he bribes the judge presiding over John's murder trial to issue the death penalty. In August 1996 Stefano's plans to frame John are soon revealed and he skips town with Marlena to Paris, where he is shot by his former lover Rachel Blake. Later, his longtime confidante, Celeste Perrault (Tanya Boyd) reveals that he fathered her daughter, Dr. Lexie Carver (Renée Jones) the wife of Salem's police commissioner. Stefano brings Kristen's lookalike, Susan Banks (Davidson) to town, impregnates her and plans to pass the baby off as Kristen's baby, which she actually miscarried; Susan gives birth in February 1997 to Elvis and flees after discovering Stefano's plan. After recovering from a heart attack, Stefano marries Vivian Alamain (Louise Sorel) on December 16, 1998, and plots to kill her to get back all of his belongings left to Vivian by her late husband–who was also Stefano's employee–Steven "Jonesy" Jones (Robert Mandan). In 1999, Stefano brainwashes Hope Brady into thinking she is Princess Gina Von Amberg (Alfonso) and Gina, now in love with John, kidnaps him; feeling betrayed, Stefano exiles her to Paris.
In early 2000, the Bradys rescue Hope from Paris. Hope learns she is pregnant and Stefano believes he is the father. Stefano convinces Lexie to adopt a child, and then switches Hope's son with another, leaving the child with Lexie and husband Abe Carver (James Reynolds). In 2001, the truth about the baby switch is revealed and Stefano skips town in June 2001.
In 2006, an ill Stefano sends his son Elvis, now known as EJ (James Scott), to impregnate Sami Brady (Alison Sweeney) so they can use the fetus's stem cells to improve Stefano's health. After they steal John's kidney, Stefano proposes that Sami and EJ marry and raise the child together so they can end the feud between the families. In 2008, the origins of the feud are known and it is revealed that Stefano's father Santo DiMera had an affair, and fathered a child with Colleen Brady (Shirley Jones) -- Ryan. Ryan was initially believed to be John Black, but it was later revealed that Ryan died in childhood. Stefano had once again erased John's memory in an attempt to turn him to the Pawn again. In 2009 Stefano EJ's then wife Nicole Walker (Arianne Zucker) hide the fact that she switched another baby with Sami's at birth. EJ is furious when he learns the truth and he kidnaps his daughter, Sydney and fakes her death, leaving everyone devastated, including Stefano. Stefano learns from Anna DiMera that EJ paid her to care for Sydney while everyone believed she was dead; he uses the information to rebuild his relationship with EJ. In September 2009, Stefano blackmails Kate Roberts (Lauren Koslow) into marrying him after helping her get out from under attempted murder charges.
In 2010, Madeline Peterson Woods (Jessica Tuck) returns to Salem and after she dies, it is revealed that her son, Chad (Casey Deidrick), was fathered by Stefano, and Madeline convinced Kate to keep the secret. In 2011, Stefano helps EJ kidnap Sami's husband, Rafe Hernandez (Galen Gering) and imprison him in the DiMera basement while putting a lookalike in his place. In 2012, the DiMera empire begins to crumble when Stefano learns EJ isn't really his son and Lexie is diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor caused by exposure to toxic gasses when Stefano had André kidnap her. Meanwhile, Kate has an affair with Ian McAllister (Ian Buchanan), a past lover, and Stefano files for divorce, taking everything from her. Stefano also turns John and Hope back into the Pawn and Princess Gina after revealing they are married; he forces them to retrieve a precious coin from Alamainia for him. Several other schemes continue to backfire on Stefano, including his attempt to sabotage EJ's mayoral campaign and him blackmailing Will Horton (Chandler Massey). Having angered many of his enemies, Stefano is shot and presumably killed in early June 2012. Suspicion for the murder quickly falls upon EJ, who continuously professes his innocence, but no one, save for Will or Sami, seems to believe him. After a series of explosions rock Salem in early August 2012, EJ flees with Sami in tow, and is subsequently abducted by Ian, who professes that he framed EJ for Stefano's murder. Ian then pulls back a curtain, revealing a very much alive Stefano, who is unconscious, bound in a chair and wearing a mask. Ian also confesses to falsifying Alice's letter, as well as the blood test that stated EJ wasn't Stefano's son. Stefano suddenly resurfaces in Europe where he reunites with Kristen and convinces her to come home and bring the family back together. Following the deaths of EJ and Kristen, Stefano forges a strong bond with Chad (Billy Flynn). He encourages him to pursue Abigail Deveraux (Kate Mansi) with a secret agenda to obtain Abigail's inheritance but Chad foils his plans. In 2015, Stefano suffers a stroke and is left in a wheelchair which leads to André's return and the reveal that they are father and son. Stefano advises André as he takes over running the family's daily operations. In January 2016, a grief stricken Hope kills Stefano believing he is responsible for Bo's recent death. Rafe helps Hope cover it up by hiding Stefano's body in an abandoned building and framing André. Stefano's spirit lingers as he appears to Chad and they say their goodbyes. Stefano last appears to Hope in July 2016 and assures her that she is no better than he is.
|Wilhelm Rolf||Various throughout the 1990s and 2000s (decade)||Perhaps Stefano's most faithful and longest-lasting henchman, Dr. Rolf usually served as Stefano's right-hand man and personal physician and scientist.||Last seen in 2008, serving as the DiMera family butler.|
|Gina Von Amberg||Hope's past/art/Gina and John affair||Copied famous paintings and helped Stefano replace the originals with fakes.||Died of gunshot wound in Salem.|
|John Black||various||Worked with Princess Gina on Stefano's schemes|
|May Chin||Salem Slasher Storyline|
|André DiMera||Impersonated Tony
Framed Roman Brady as the Salem Slasher
|Currently living in the DiMera Mansion.|
|Delia Abernathy||1982–84||Stefano DiMera's maid and henchwoman
Helped André DiMera escape to London.
|Silvan Hodak||1983||Attempted to kill Roman Brady at his wedding to Marlena in 1983 (he was a tailor at the tuxedo shop).|
The Three Prisms (1984–1985)
|Helped keep Marlena Evans and Liz Chandler hostage at Ridgecrest.
held Gene Bradford, Tony DiMera, and Anna DiMera hostage.
Shot Bo Brady.
Left Shane Donovan to die with a bomb nearby.
Brought the Pawn (John Black) to Salem
|Killed in December 1985 by Victor Kiriakis's people.|
|Alex Marshall||1982–83||Killed Tim Casey, a police officer, in an effort to scare Roman
Plotted to kill Alice Horton.
|Sent to prison after burning down the Salem Inn to collect the insurance money in 1987.|
|Nurse Honeycutt||The Three Prisms (1984–85)||Took care of Sami and Eric Brady when Stefano had them kidnapped.
Lied in court about Marlena, seeking revenge, when she was on trial for the death of Stefano in 1985
Kept Daphne DiMera under control.
|Jimmy Porterfield||The Three Prisms (1984–85)||Helped Stefano kidnap Marlena and the twins after befriending Marlena
Lied in court about Marlena, seeking revenge, when she was on trial for the death of Stefano in 1985.
Tried to kill Bo Brady.
|Mackenzie||The Three Prisms (1984–85)||Posed as Marlena's bodyguard, while actually infiltrating her house and allowing the twins to be kidnapped.|
|Maxwell Hathaway||The Three Prisms (1984–85)||Killed by André DiMera.|
|Sonia Romanov||The Three Prisms (1984–85)||Helped Stefano find the third prism.||Killed by the Dragon.|
|Anna DiMera||Left Salem for parts unknown in 1986, last seen in Salem in 2010.|
|Drew Donovan (lago)||Stefano's Return/The Island (1988)||Laid false clues for Stefano about Marlena being alive to play with Roman and Diana's minds.||Escaped Salem in early 1989.|
|Milo||Stefano's Return/The Island (1988)||Captured Roman Brady and Diana Colville on Stefano's island.||Last seen on Stefano's island.|
|Jeremiah Brown||Stefano's Return/The Island (1988)||Assassin for Stefano who was trained along with Roman Brady (John Black) and Drew Donovan... planned to kill many of those on the island||Was killed by Drew.|
|Orion Hawk||Stefano's Return/The Island (1988)||Trained Roman Brady/John Black in martial arts years earlier.||Left Salem with Benjy to Europe in 1990.|
|Domingo Salazar||The Tale of Two Romans (1991)||Guided John and Marlena through San Christabel
Held Roman and John at gunpoint in Mexico.
|Was taken to ISA headquarters and later sent to prison.|
|Curtis Reed (Brown)||Hired by Peter Blake to kill John Black, but failed and blackmailed Kristen Blake for money.||Killed by Stefano.|
|Celeste Perrault||Maison Blanche (1994)||Held John prisoner at Maison Blanche
Helped keep Hope at Maison Blanche.
|Still living in Salem.|
|Peter Blake||Temporary "Insanity": Peter poisons Laura into insanity (1994)||Arranged to medicate Laura Horton to make her think she was going insane again||Peter is currently serving a sentence of unknown length in an out of state prison to which Stefano had him transferred. He is serving time for kidnapping (Jennifer), attempted murder (Hope, Jasper, Jennifer, Jack, everyone at St. Luke's during Jenn's funeral). Stefano said he would try his best to "reduce" Peter's sentence. It is not known if he is serving time for any of his previous crimes (gaslighting Laura, killing Jude St. Clair, etc.).|
|Travis Malloy||Kidnapped Jennifer||Died from falling a cliff in fight with Jack Deveraux.|
|Daryl Kay||Kristen's Schemes to Keep John and Marlena apart (1996–1997)||Performed laser surgery on Laura Horton to erase her memory about Kristen and her fake pregnancy.|
|Carmine||The Brady/DiMera feud||Tried to kill Lucas Roberts.||In prison.|
|Marco||Various||Paid by Stefano to leave town after he shot Maggie Horton (He was trying to kill Victor Kiriakis but Maggie got in the way).|
|Impostor Rafe||2011||Real name: Arnold Feniger aka "Javier Morales"||Killed in jail.|
|Det. Joseph Bernardi (Stefano's dirty cop)||2013||Was ordered by Stefano to get the evidence against Will shooting EJ from the police station and give it to him. Later, he was sent by a jealous Stefano to cut off Rafe's private parts while he was in a coma.||Shot by Sami and was killed by Gloria Nash.|
|Aiden Jennings||2014–15||Ordered by Stefano and Andre to make Hope Brady fall in love with him so she'd forget about Bo, who had been held against his will while on an ISA mission. Stefano and Andre later ordered Aiden to kill Hope after their wedding so that he could pay off his debts and also to clear Chad DiMera's name, who had been falsely arrested on 3 murder charges.||Shot and killed in a fight with Bo Brady|
Fake death timeline
The following list is a timeline of Stefano's fake "deaths"; he either faked them himself, was presumed dead, or was reported dead by others.
- A stroke in 1983. It was later revealed a fake heart attack, and dates is mentioned as March 8.
- His car plunged into the icy waters of Salem's harbor during a police chase in 1984
- Marlena shot him, and he fell from a catwalk as the building caught fire in 1985 (he also had a brain tumor)
- In 1991, he was presumed to have died in another fire and cave collapse.
- In 1994, his car erupted into a fireball after being shot at by John.
- Also in 1994, he drowned near Maison Blanche.
- In 1996, he died in a plane explosion.
- Also in 1996, he was blown up and buried under collapsing tunnel during a confrontation with Rachel Blake. This was his last depicted "death" until 2007.
- In 2002, André DiMera (posing as Tony) claimed that his uncle had died from injuries sustained from a car crash in Monte Carlo.
- In 2004, when Marlena and the presumed-dead Salem Stalker victims found a blackened, unrecognizable corpse on Melaswen, André (posing as Tony) claimed it was Stefano. André said he had killed Stefano by draining his blood so André could cure his own blood disease.
- In 2007, his death was faked once again. As a setup by the Salem P.D., Steven "Patch" Johnson appeared to stab Stefano to death, but he was drugged and a fake funeral was set up to lure André.
- In 2012, Stefano DiMera was shot dead from behind after several characters confronted him about his crimes. On August 16, Ian McAllister claimed to have killed Stefano and on August 20, Ian admitted to EJ that he killed Stefano and planned to frame EJ for the murder. On August 21, it was revealed that Stefano was not killed. Ian used an impostor that looked like him named Paolo. He faked the letter that said EJ was not Stefano's son and faked their blood types in the hospital.
- In 2016, Stefano was shot three times by Hope because of his alleged involvement in Bo's death.
- Phoenix Ring: Stefano's most iconic possession. A gold ring with a black flat square on top. It is embroided with a Phoenix, and said to be the reason why Stefano keeps coming back to life. During the 2009 DiMera-Kiriakis war, Stefano's son EJ wore the ring while Stefano was held captive. It can apparently bring Andre back to life as well, since he is the son of the Phoenix. This was briefly contradicted in 2007 when Andre was revealed to be posing as Tony (who was assumed to be Stefano's son), and therefore was Stefano's nephew, This corrected in 2015 when Andre was revealed to be Stefano's son. Since Stefano's final death in 2016 Andre now wears the ring.
- Portrait: Stefano's portrait has been hanging on the wall of the foyer of the DiMera mansion since 2007. The portrait is iconic and synonymous with Stefano's ownership of the mansion. Whenever he has lost possession of the mansion, the portrait is usually taken down. A safe is known to be hidden behind the portrait that contains valuable items to the DiMeras.
- 'The key "to ending the feud: A gold key that Stefano kept around his neck. It was said to contain the secret to ending the Brady-DiMera feud.
- Chess set: Stefano had a passion for playing chess, and kept a chessboard. Whenever Stefano felt he had the upper hand, he would mirror his moves with chess pieces. Stefano would often refer to the people he would use as "pawns", and for the longest time the "Queen" symbolized Marlena Evans, but Stefano would also use the "Queen" to symbolize any women that were important to his enemies. Stefano taught his sons Andre, EJ, and Chad and his grandson Theo to play chess and enjoyed playing chess with them. In 2016, when Hope shot Stefano, his hand symbolically knocked over all of the chess pieces as he fell back into his wheelchair.
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