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Star of the Week

DAYS OF OUR LIVES Features

Deidre Hall and Drake Hogestyn
— Johnson/JPI

10,000 Days of our Lives

— By Janet Di Lauro

Cast members assembled in the lobby of the DAYS OF OUR LIVES Burbank studios at noon on Feb. 1 to celebrate a television milestone: the taping of the show's 10,000th episode.

Some came bearing gifts. "I haven't seen Kristian Alfonso since Christmas. We've been working different days," laughed Judi Evans (Bonnie), who arrived toting a red and green bag with a belated holiday present for her friend and co-star.

Some came to sip the champagne, feast on the lavish lunch buffet and then some. "I'm here for the cake," quipped Matthew Ashford (Jack). "I'm sure it's delicious," added Alfonso. "You know I'll be the first in line."

Some, literally, dragged themselves out of their sickbeds for the festivities. "I have the worst cold," confessed Melissa Reeves (Jennifer). "My head is so foggy."

Meanwhile, Arianne Zuker (Nicole) moaned and warned, "I have the flu, so stay away from me." Nevertheless, she professed to be "excited [about the milestone], but not super excited, because I had to get out of bed."

No matter. No one wanted to miss the monumental occasion. Cast and crew gathered on the sound stage as executive producer Ken Corday gave a touching speech about his favorite soap.

"We are all members of a very lucky club to stand here today and look at 10,000 episodes, the longest running dramatic show in the history of NBC television," said Corday, pointing to pictures of DAYS' "good-luck charms" positioned beside the celebration cake. "On the left, my mother and father (Betty and Ted Corday), who created the show with Irna Phillips in 1964. To the right our beloved MacDonald Carey (ex-Tom) and Frances Reid (Alice) who have been the spine and backbone of Salem for 40 years."

Then, with champagne glass in hand, Corday made a toast "to the very best daytime show ever and to our next four years. Long may she reign, DAYS OF OUR LIVES."

Susan Seaforth Hayes (Julie) noted that she'd been on hand for the 1,500 episode party, decades ago. "Next to Frances Reid, I'm the most senior person on show now," confessed Seaforth Hayes. "These are the moments that catch in your throat. You say, 'Oh, my God! How can it be. What happened to the last 38 years? Where did they go?' Of course they were always here. So it doesn't feel like that long."

Deidre Hall (Marlena) could relate. "I've been here for 27 years," said Hall. "So I've been to most of these celebrations."

A relative newcomer by comparison, Alison Sweeney (Sami) admitted that it was "overwhelming to be a part of this 10,000th show. I've been here for quite a while and seen several cakes," she smiled. "I've learned so much being on this show. Every day, I learn something new."

Kyle Lowder (Brady) admitted that having survived to this milestone was a milestone in his book. "I never thought I'd make it this far," laughed Lowder. "When I first started I was having a great time, but I honestly didn't know how long I'd be on the show. Not only has the show made it to 10,000 episodes, but so have I."

"It's a staggering number, isn't it?" posed Peggy McCay (Caroline), who was delighted to be on set celebrating with her cast mates. "I love seeing everybody. They're good fun to be around."

Alfonso agreed wholeheartedly. "You hear about so many people who are not happy with their jobs," notes Alfonso. "I love coming to work and am excited to come to the studio, every day. It's really coming to visit family. I'm really proud to be a part of this show."

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