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What's up, Doc?

For 16 years, through thick (three romantic weddings) and thin (satanic possession and multiple identities), DAYS OF OUR LIVES' John and Marlena have exhibited an extraordinary on-screen bond. The connection extends offscreen, as well — as actors Drake Hogestyn and Deidre Hall are quick to reveal during a chat at the show's Burbank studios.Drake Hogestyn: How have things changed since we started working together? Is it easier? Harder? Can you tell a difference?

Deidre Hall: Essentially, it hasn't changed a bit. If you look back at your screen test, you'll see the same sort of power and dynamic and charisma. It's what the producers saw when you walked in the door. It's what the audience still sees. Our chemistry is reliable and substantial. Our respect is mutual and healthy, and we're deeply fond of each other. That is as good as it gets.

Hogestyn: You have always been the best champion of the two of us. It's always been easy working with you. When I came onto the show, I would watch you. You were doing scenes with Mac (the late Macdonald Carey, who played Tom) and Frances (Reid, Alice) a lot back then. I'd sit in the wings, watch and learn. I learned to trust by watching you, and I learned that you were going to be there to take care of me when I was working. You see when my eyes start to glaze over [in a scene] and you will come in on my line. This happened early on, and you're still doing it to this day. Hall: What are your dreams about? In most people's eyes you've done all there is to do. You've raised four amazing children (daughter Rachael, 23, and son Ben, 18, from wife Victoria's first marriage; and daughters Whitney, 17, and Alexandra, 13). You have a great marriage, a great job, great friends. What do you look forward to?

Hogestyn: I am most happy when I am with my kids and my wife. I am the luckiest man in the world to have a job like I have and to work with the most fabulous actress in Hollywood. This job allows me to take care of the children in such a way that makes me proud. I don't take that lightly. That translates into working hard here to do the best that I can. I'll keep doing that until they decide my name slides off the dressing room door.Hall: How do your parents relate to you being a big deal on daytime?

Hogestyn: I've always been a big deal to Mom and Dad. They're proud. I am an extension of them.


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