January 18 marks the 40th anniversary of the late Joseph Mascolo’s DAYS debut as Stefano DiMera. Here’s a look back on his his iconic character wreaked havoc on Salem.
1982: Stefano arrived in Salem after son Tony and learned that he had sired Lee Dumonde’s daughter, Renee, who Tony was wooing. Stefano caused Evan Whyland’s car to crash, killing Evan and injuring Maggie. Stefano also had his men hold Mickey prisoner on his private island, and made Anna discredit Stefano’s sworn enemy, Roman.
1983: Stefano tried to have Roman killed, then took Marlena and Liz DiMera hostage. He was apprehended by Roman. Awaiting trial, Stefano seemingly suffered a fatal stroke.
1984: Using the code name Phoenix, Stefano framed Roman for a series of murders. Roman uncovered that Stefano had faked his death with help from nurse Kelly Chase, who he then had killed (along with Trista, Eugene’s wife). Stefano schemed to have nephew Andre disguise himself as Roman, then murder Marlena during a televised concert. He was foiled by Roman, then was briefly presumed dead again when his limo plunged into icy waters. A not-so-dead Stefano needed a mysterious trio of prisms to cure his brain tumor. After struggling with Stefano on a cliff, Roman died in Bo’s arms. Stefano snatched the body.
1985: Stefano blamed the Brady family for daughter Megan’s death. He kidnapped Marlena and Roman’s young twins, Eric and Sami; Bo rescued them. Marlena shot Stefano and was prosecuted for his murder, but she was freed after a mistrial.
1988: Steve and Kayla nearly adopted Stefano’s young bio son, deaf Benjy. Roman (later revealed to be John and a victim of Stefano’s psychological programming) worked to prove that Stefano was alive and causing mayhem. DiMera took Carrie as a hostage. He lured the Bradys to his island, where he ordered Roman to kill his clan. The plan failed, and Stefano made his getaway in a helicopter.
1993: Wheelchair-bound and mute from a stroke, Stefano returned to Salem, where his adopted kiddies, Kristen and Peter, were living. Stefano and Peter schemed to kill John.
1994: Stefano forced Marlena to confess that she had cheated on Roman with John, resulting in Belle. John linked Stefano to Curtis Reed’s murder. Stefano faked his death in an exploding car and hid out at Maison Blanche in Louisiana. He ultimately held John and Marlena hostage there. Stefano disappeared into the water after a struggle with John. Later, he secretly fed Marlena psychedelic drugs in a sadistic courting ritual.
1995: While possessed by the devil, Marlena tossed Stefano from a balcony, leaving him physically injured and an amnesiac.
1996: Stefano’s memory and obsession with Marlena were restored when he was zapped by lightning. DiMera spirited an ailing Peter out of Salem, allowing Jack to take the fall for his “murder”. Stef kidnapped Marlena, keeping her in an underground cage in Paris. She was ultimately freed by John. Stefano was presumed dead in an explosion, but revealed himself to Kristen, and helped her conceal from John that she had miscarried by finding a pregnant look-alike, Susan, to dupe him. When Laura found out both about Kristen’s flat tummy and Peter’s non-death, Stefano wiped out her memory.
1997: Susan learned that Stefano had impregnated her (with the future EJ) via in-vitro fertilization. Stefano kept Jack’s cellmate, Travis, on his payroll. Stef helped Kristen (who’d been busted for her baby lie) foil John and Marlena’s wedding with the “gift” of a presumed-dead Roman. Stefano was arrested for (some of) his misdeeds, but secured his prison release in exchange for a cure for Roman’s fatal illness (a rare orchid that he and Kristen trekked into the rain forest to retrieve).
1998: Stefano had a chip implanted into Vivian’s tooth that controlled her mood, then married her and began to plot her demise to get his hands on her fortune.
1999: Stefano tasked Dr. Rolf with activating a chip in Hope’s brain that turned her into Gina. Meanwhile, DiMera was holding the real Princess Gina in a castle turret in Europe.
2000: Gina locked Stefano and Hope in a secret room in her castle. Once freed, Stefano masterminded a baby switch between Hope’s newborn (who he believed that he had sired) and the sickly son of Dr. Rolf’s niece, Marlo, with Hope’s tot going to Lexie (Stefano’s daughter by Celeste).
2001: Stefano killed Marlo to keep the baby swap a secret and skipped town to evade arrest.
2007: Stefano returned, mind-controlled Steve via a devil tarot card, swiped John’s kidney and strong-armed Sami into marrying EJ to end the Brady/DiMera feud.
2008: Stefano was busted for harboring a presumed-dead John. Marlena injected him with a drug that turned him into a vegetable. When Stefano recovered, he sought revenge.
2009: Stefano was revealed to have ordered a hit on Mayor Marino. He blamed Philip for Tony’s death and tried to rub him out. Stefano colluded with Nicole (and ordered a hit on Dr. Baker) to keep Sami from finding out that Sami was Sydney’s mother. He got Kate to marry him by vowing to keep her out of jail for her crimes against Chloe and Daniel.
2010: Stefano blackmailed EJ into let- ting him spend time with baby Sydney. Stef sought the identity of EJ’s shooter. He kicked Kate out for concealing from him that he had another son, Chad.
2011: Stefano masterminded an organ-trafficking scheme. To break up Sami and Rafe’s marriage, he had Rafe’s life taken over by a look-alike while holding the real Rafe hostage and erasing his memory.
2012: Stefano forced Hope and John to steal works of art for him. He divorced Kate for cheating on him with Ian and mourned Lexie’s death. Stefano was presumed dead again after being confronted by various gun-wielding Salemites and shot. Really, Ian had faked his death.
2013: Stefano swiped evidence from the police station to aid Will. He helped Sami avoid a prison sentence for shooting Bernardi (who Stefano had hired to castrate Rafe) by forcing EJ to return control of the DiMera empire to him.
2014: Stefano worked to keep Kristen’s drugging of Eric from becoming public knowledge. When EJ was shot dead, he stole his son’s body from the morgue.
2015: Stefano plotted with Chad and Victor to take down Kate, and tried to get Chad to marry Abigail for her inheritance. Stefano blamed Marlena for Kristen’s death and took her hostage. He ordered Aiden to marry Hope “or else”.
2016: After secretly learning he was fatally ill, Stefano framed Hope, who believed he was involved in Bo’s kidnapping, for his “murder” by goading her into shooting him three times at close range.