What Really Happened To Days Of Our Lives Stefano DiMera?

Stefano DiMera is one of the most popular and beloved characters to ever appear on "Days of Our Lives." Although the character, who was played by the late Joseph Mascolo, was a villain, fans couldn't help but love his wicked ways. Stefano always made things interesting in Salem and there was never a dull moment when The Pheonix (the nickname he was given because of all the times he rose from the ashes after being presumed dead, per Soaps) was in town.

Stefano first came to Salem in 1982. He was introduced as a friend to Lee DuMonde and was later discovered to be the father of Lee's daughter, Renee DuMonde. Stefano's journey in Salem unfolded slowly, he was revealed to have carried a vendetta against the Brady family and set out to make their lives miserable, as well as others along the way. After meeting Marlena Evans (Deidre Hall) she became the object of his obsession and he did everything in his power to break up her relationship with John Black (Drake Hogestyn) over the years (via Soaps in Depth).

Stefano is also the father of many of Salem's biggest characters such as EJ DiMera (James Scott, Dan Feuerriegel), Chad DiMera (Billy Flynn), Lexi Carver (Renee Jones), Kristen DiMera (Eileen Davidson, Stacy Haiduk), Jake and Stefan DiMera (Brandon Barash), Tony DiMera (Thaao Penghlis), and more, per Soap Central. While the DiMera family tree is a complicated one, Stefano's wild and twisty life is even more dramatic.

Stefano had a vendetta against the Brady family

Longtime "Days of Our Lives" fans may remember that one of Stefano DiMera's first devious acts was when he kidnapped Marlena Evans and Roman Brady's twins, Sami and Eric, per Soap Opera News. Marlena did everything she could to fight for her children and ended up shooting and killing Stefano. Of course, Stefano never stayed dead for long. He eventually made his way back to Salem and had John Black brainwashed to be his assassin. He planned to get rid of his enemies by luring them to a remote island in the Bahamas. However, his plan failed and he managed to escape on a helicopter before being captured.

Later, when Marlena disappeared John and Roman believed that Stefano may be behind it. They tracked him to a Mayan temple, where he was again presumed dead only to return years later. This time, Stefano had been diagnosed with a brain tumor before he faked his death yet again. Stefano went to hide at a place called Maison Blanche (via Soaps in Depth). During this time he kidnapped John and used him to lure Marlena to him. When many Salemites headed to the estate for a charity event hosted by Kristen DiMera, they were shocked to find a woman who looked exactly like Hope Brady (Kristian Alfonso) who called herself Princess Gina.

That night, the estate caught fire and Stefano managed to escape again.

Stefano caused Marlena's possession

When Stefano DiMera resurfaced in 1994, "Days of Our Lives" viewers watched as he moved into the apartment next to Marlena Evans. At night, Stefano would sneak into Marlena's home to hypnotize her into falling in love with him. However, Stefano's antics caused Marlena's soul to be opened up for demonic possession, per Deadline. Marlena began to act out during her possession and even threw Stefano off of a terrace, which left him paralyzed and with no memories. After she recovered, Marlena felt guilty for what she had done and began to work with Stefano in hopes of curing his amnesia, per Soaps in Depth.

When Stefano finally regained his memories, he went to great lengths to keep Marlena all to himself, which included abducting her. Stefano kidnapped Marlena and faked a plane crash so that everyone would believe they were both dead. Stefano took Marlena to Paris to hide her, but John Black eventually found them and brought her home. However, during Marlena's absence, John had fallen in love with Kristen DiMera.

In an attempt to keep John and Marlena apart, Stefano did all he could to keep John happy with Kristen. This included hiring Susan Banks to impersonate Kristen and pretend the child she was carrying was fathered by John (via Soap Central). When that plan backfired, John and Marlena rekindled their romance.

Hope Brady shot and killed Stefano at the DiMera mansion

In 2006, "DOOL" fans found out that Stefano DiMera was very ill. He then concocted a plan to have his son, EJ DiMera, come to Salem in hopes that he could romance Sami Brady (Alison Sweeney). EJ was given orders to impregnante Sami so that their child's stem cells could be used to cure Stefano of his health ailments. Stefano eventually recovered and was able to blackmail Kate Roberts (Lauren Koslow) into marrying him, per Soaps in Depth.

Stefano later learned that Chad DiMera (Billy Flynn) was his son. He also lost his daughter, Lexie, who died from a brain tumor caused by a toxic gas that she became exposed to during one of his schemes. Stefano bonded with EJ and Chad over the years and was finally taken down in 2016.

After Bo Brady (Peter Reckell) resurfaced in Salem after years away, it was discovered that he had been held prisoner on Stefano's orders. Bo came home to reunite with his family and friends, including his wife Hope Brady. Sadly, Bo was soon diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor (via Soaps). Bo died in Hope's arms, and she later took revenge on Stefano by shooting him dead.

There were questions about whether Stefano was really dead this time. However, a shocking plot twist answered that question for good. Actor Joseph Mascolo's final scenes as Stefano aired in February 2017 just a few months following the actor's death, per TVLine.

Stefano returned to Salem in a new body

In 2019, "Days of Our Lives" did something that no other soap opera had ever done before. The NBC sudser skipped ahead a full year in the matter of a few episodes. When the character Jennifer Horton (Melissa Reeves) fell into a coma for a year, the entire ordeal was skipped over until she awoke. Fans were then left to find out what had happened during that one-year time jump along with Jennifer, per TV Insider.

Of course, one of the biggest moments came when it was revealed that Stefano DiMera was alive and back in Salem. However, there was a huge twist. Dr. Rolf had transferred Stefano's essence onto a microchip before his body had died. He then implanted that microchip into the brain of Steve Johnson (Stephen Nichols), making him talk, act, and think just like the Salem villain (via Soaps in Depth). Thankfully, the entire plot was uncovered and Steve's wife, Kayla Brady (Mary Beth Evans) was able to perform an operation to remove the microchip and Dr. Rolf was sent to jail.

However, as long as "DOOL" is on the air, there is always a chance that Stefano could show up in any number of ways. In addition, Stefano's children also carry on his legacy, and his portrait still hangs front and center in the DiMera mansion, where members of the family interact with it on a regular basis. Although Stefano is gone, he surely hasn't been forgotten.