The Longest-Running Roles On Days Of Our Lives

"Days of Our Lives" has been delighting daytime television fans for decades. The show, which debuted in 1965, has been a staple on NBC every weekday afternoon for more than 55 years and counting (via TV Overmind). While longtime fans of the sudser will remember storylines from years past, others have only recently begun obsessing over the goings-on in Salem, and the lives of the prominent Horton, Brady, DiMera, and Kiriakis families.


Through the decades, there has been a revolving door of cast members, and new characters have sprouted up to become fan-favorites. However, there are plenty of roles that have been airing on the soap for years, and fans have loved watching the characters grow and evolve as well as get themselves into and out of drama.

While the original stars of the soap, Macdonald Carey (Tom Horton) and Francis Reed (Alice Horton) have sadly passed away, other characters have stepped in to offer fans a reminder of the early days of the soap. But which characters have been on "DOOL" the longest?

Roman Brady showed up on 'DOOL' in 1981

According to Fame 10, "Days of Our Lives" has plenty of characters who have been on the canvas in Salem for many years. One such character is Roman Brady. "DOOL" fans may remember that Roman was first seen on the show in 1981 alongside his Brady siblings — Bo, Kayla, and Kimberly — and the role was originated by actor Wayne Northrop, per Soap Central.


The character has had so many wild plot twists over the years, including being presumed dead multiple times, relationship issues with his on-again, off-again love Marlena Evans, and more. Drake Hogestyn also played the character from 1986 until 1991, when it was revealed that he was not Roman, but had been brainwashed to believe that he was Marlena's husband.

When the "real" Roman finally returned to Salem, actor Josh Taylor had stepped into the role. Taylor had previously starred as a character named Chris Kositcheck on "DOOL" from 1977 until 1987, and the swap upset some die-hard fans. Meanwhile, Hogestyn's character then became known as John Black. Taylor remains in the role to date.

Marlena Evans has been in Salem since 1976

Deidre Hall's name is synonymous with "Days of Our Lives" and her beloved character Dr. Marlena Evans. Hall first appeared in the role back in 1976, and it's been nothing but romance and drama for the character ever since, per Fame 10. In addition to her epic love stories with both Roman Brady and John Black, Marlena has found herself in the middle of some crazy situations over the years. Not only has she been kidnapped multiple times as well as been the object of Stefano DiMera's obsession, but she's also been possessed by the devil and portrayed as a serial killer (via Soap Central).


Marlena's children, twins Eric Brady and Sami Brady, whom she shares with Roman, and Belle Black, whom she shares with John, have also made her life difficult over the decades. However, she's always been the pillar of strength and class, making her one of the most iconic soap opera characters to ever grace the small screen.

Maggie Horton and Doug Williams have both appeared on 'DOOL' since the 1970s

The character of Maggie Horton first grabbed "Days of Our Lives" viewers' attention in 1973 when actress Suzanne Rogers first appeared in the role (via Fame 10). Over the decades, Maggie has become one of the sweetest and most compassionate characters on the soap. However, her life hasn't been without drama. Maggie has dealt with addiction issues and often finds herself mentoring other Salem citizens who struggle with drug abuse and alcoholism such as Brady Black and JJ Deveraux (via Soap Central). Her marriage to Mickey Horton was also one of the greatest to air on "DOOL." Maggie is currently still on the "Days” landscape and her character is married to reformed bad guy Victor Kiriakis (John Aniston).


Meanwhile, Maggie's pal Doug Williams first debuted on the show back in 1970. The soap was still very new to the airwaves, and actor Bill Hayes stepped in to play the character. When viewers first met Doug he was a convict who actually shared a prison cell with Bill Horton. Of course, their friendship allowed Doug to become an honorary member of the Horton family and eventually meet his wife Addie Horton, who later passed away. Following Addie's death, Doug married another member of the family, Julie Olson.

Julie Williams is the longest-running character on 'Days of Our Lives'

Actress Susan Seaforth Hayes first made her "Days of Our Lives" debut as Julie Olson in 1968, just three years after the soap opera first debuted on NBC, per Fame 10. The actress has become a fixture on the show, appearing on the sudser for over 50 years. Julie is also one-half of one of the show's most beloved couples' Doug and Julie. Of course, the fact that the on-screen couple are also married in real life makes their characters all the more lovable.


Back in 2018, while celebrating the 50th anniversary of "DOOL," Seaforth Hayes opened up about how important the show has been in her life. "I'm very grateful. 'Days of Our Lives' has given me a wonderful marriage, my mother [the late Elizabeth Harrower] another career as a soap opera writer, and the opportunity for me to do some acting, some of which I'm very proud of. 'Days' has given me friends all over the world and a continued enthusiasm for life. I look forward to the show going on and on and getting to be a part of it," she said (via TV Insider). In addition, the actress says that she still loves playing Julie.  "She is still a passionate character. It's fun to play," she said.

These long-running characters continue the legacy of "Days of Our Lives," and remind die-hard viewers about the generations of characters and viewers that came before them.