A return to ‘Days’

Actor may also return to Hoosier roots

Drake Hogestyn, courtesy photo

Drake Hogestyn, courtesy photo

Like sand through an hourglass, so go the “days of our lives.” That classic catchphrase has new resonance for Fort Wayne native Drake Hogestyn, whose nearly three-decade stint on the show isn’t – despite fan rumors to the contrary – quite over yet. Indeed, Hogestyn’s character John Black is returning in April to Salem, where he has some making up to do for the nefarious deeds done before his departure last July. Will his return mean a rekindling of his storied romance with Dr. Marlena Evans?

“We’re working on that right now,” he said with a laugh. “She’s got a cold shoulder to John right now. John did some out-of-character activities before he left, so he’s got a little groveling to do.”

Yet Hogestyn’s return to the soap that made him famous may also lead to a return to his Hoosier roots, he revealed to Fort Wayne Monthly during a phone interview in December. Hogestyn’s daughter and grandchildren recently moved to Carmel so that she could work at an Indianapolis hospital, and the proud grandpa and his wife Victoria – who sold their Malibu, Calif., digs last fall – are seriously contemplating a return to Indiana.

“It is possible” to commute from Indianapolis to Los Angeles, Hogestyn said.

Indeed, it was almost a foregone conclusion that the Hogestyn family would be returning to Indiana, until a fateful book-signing trip (for the cast book “Days of Our Lives: Better Living”) with one of the “Days” producers led to a new contract and a return to the soundstage. A shift in how “Day of Our Lives” is filmed means an end to the 80- to 90-hour workweeks of old, he said, making it easier to contemplate a move.

“Now we do eight shows in nine days, three weeks on and one week off, saving (the network) time and money and keeping the show on the air,” Hogestyn said. And while his role isn’t quite as central to the various plots as it once was, that means he isn’t required on set as much and could indeed commute from Indiana. (Hint, hint!)

Saving the network money is crucial to keeping “Days” on the air. The show has been broadcast for 48 years even though so many others have faded, thanks to the loyalty of the fans and the advertisers, Hogestyn said. The new book, “Days of Our Lives: Better Living” came about thanks to the countless questions from fans about how the cast has stayed so fit over the years. Hogestyn, who played semi-professional baseball before moving to California in the late 1970s, stays fit through a colorful diet and plenty of time on his paddleboard.

“The takeaway (from the book) is that anything in moderation is good. Anything that’s worth overdoing is what the American public is doing,” he said. “I’ve always believed in everything in moderation. Everybody will find something special that nurtures them, drives them and sustains them. Everybody’s different. You’ve got to find your own. That book is full of all different kinds of ideas.”

And what sustains Hogestyn is his family, his wife and his work with “Days.” He’s also working on several different personal projects. But “Days” is his first love, and he’s very grateful to still have a home there after so many years. He debuted with the soap in 1986.

“I’m mostly attached … to the character of John Black and ‘Days Of Our Lives.’ It’s been very good to me. It’s a great, safe place to be. Any actor out here trying to secure work in this business knows it’s not easy to (get work). It’s almost as difficult as when I tried to play professional baseball. If you’re lucky enough to get on a soap opera, you’re very lucky.”

First appeared in the February 2014 issue of Fort Wayne Monthly.

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