Hall Spins the WheelBy Janet Di Lauro Posted: Feb 21, 2006
DAYS OF OUR LIVES' Deidre Hall (Marlena) will take a spin with the WHEEL OF FORTUNE March 3 and donate her winnings to a cause near and dear to her and co-star Wayne Northrop's (Alex) heart: Mariposa Middle School in Mariposa, Calif.
"Wayne had been talking for some time about this school up in the area where he has his ranch that doesn't get any [financial] help," recounts Hall. "It's a school where children learn computer skills by typing on a picture of a computer."
Touched by the stories Northrop shared with her, Hall decided to go for a spin, knowing it would reap great benefits. "When you do WHEEL OF FORTUNE for charity, they donate $10,000 whether you win or lose," says Hall.
Ironically, $10,000 is exactly the amount the school's principal, Bill Atwood, had been longing for — a coincidence Hall soon discovered. "Bill, his wife, and a man on the school's advisory board came down to NBC and had lunch with Wayne and me, just so I could meet them and get invested," explains Hall. "Bill said, 'You know what's so bizarre? I had been begging and praying for money to put a library together, and the amount I'd been praying for was $10,000.' The funny thing is, when the producers of WHEEL OF FORTUNE called Bill to tell him [I'd be playing for the school], he didn't believe it. He thought it was the meanest joke anybody had ever played on him."
Happily, it wasn't a joke. Hall will be partners with a U.S. Marine who has just returned from duty. And, whether Hall wins or loses, Mariposa Middle School wins. "My thinking on this is, you can play for enormous charities to whom $10,000 is like, 'Wow! That was sweet. Thanks,' " says Hall. "But to this school it's their library. It's life-altering to these children. It's my shared dream with Bill Atwood to build a library and fill it full of books."
And Hall wants fans to know that they can help, too. "There are so many people who are in great need. Log on to marlena.com, and we'll tell you how to help," urges Hall. Every donation "will change lives."