In a shocking plot twist that had millions of fans' jaws hitting the floor, Days of our Lives' Hope (Kristian Alfonso) blasted several bullets into Stefano DiMera's chest, leaving him dead as a doornail. With nary a comment from DAYS' powers that be or the actor himself, many viewers assumed a plot twist would have the Phoenix rising once again. But his portrayer, Joseph Mascolo, admits he really has retired from the NBC soap.
In the latest issue of Soap Opera Digest, the actor explains his decision to walk away from the role he began in 1982. "Last spring, I had a small stroke. During my rehab, I thought this would be a good time for Stefano to leave," he shares. "The producers visited me and we worked out a tentative plan, and the writers beefed up the storyline to what you see on TV."
While Stefano's exit is a devastating one to both the show and viewers, Mascolo is proud of the writers' work and the way he was able to subtly weave the character's exasperation into his last few weeks of episodes.
"You got little innuendos from Stefano for several weeks that he was tired of the revenge... that he was indeed wearing out," the actor says. "The viewers got a sense that something different was happening."
So now the rumors can be put to rest, just as Stefano has been. Or... maybe not? "I'm not sure if I can say this," the actor teases cryptically, "but I think it's safe to say you'll be seeing Stefano again. Stay tuned!"
Do you think that Stefano is really, truly dead? Would you like to leave a farewell or get well message for Mascolo? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.