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Rogers Breathed Life Into Role

Feb 9, 2004  •  Post A Comment

Talk about your good news-bad news situation-Suzanne Rogers, the “Days of Our Lives” veteran who saw the prominence of her character, Maggie Horton, rise and fall over her 30-year run on the series, was given a story line last year that really allowed her to shine. Unfortunately, it climaxed with Maggie’s murder and Ms. Rogers’ release from the show.
Ms. Rogers won her first gold statue in 1979, the year the category of Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Daytime Series was added to the awards ceremony. “The story [that I won for] was Maggie having to give up her adoptive daughter to her birth mother,” said Ms. Rogers, whose resume includes a stint performing as a Radio City Rockette. “It was a surreal day because I was getting an award for acting. I thought in my heart of hearts I’d be a dancer and then go home [to Virginia] and get married.”
If there is an actor deserving of “bookend” Emmys, it’s Ms. Rogers, who gave a series of compelling and heartbreaking performances as a woman marked for death by a serial murderer. A recovering alcoholic, Maggie went out in a blaze of irony when the Salem serial killer bludgeoned her to death with a wine bottle.
The longtime Salem heroine may have been powerless against the serial killer, but Ms. Rogers embraced the opportunity to show her strengths as an actress. “Over the years I hadn’t had anything to really sink my teeth into,” she said. “So, in a way, I was very grateful to get the scripts that I did and that I was able to do some [significant] work even though, in the end, Maggie was killed.”
Unlike previous victims of the Salem slaughterer, Maggie came face -to face with her attacker, making her agony all the more intense.
While viewers now know it was the once-beloved Marlena Evans Black who killed Maggie and the other victims, Ms. Rogers wasn’t let in on that at the time. Her reactions convincingly communicated to viewers, however, that the killer’s face was a familiar one. “All I could imagine was what if someone I truly loved turned out to be a psychopath?” Ms. Rogers said. “That’s how I played it-that this was a dear friend.”
Whether or not she’s nominated, Ms. Rogers said she plans to attend the Daytime Emmy Awards ceremony in New York, where she hopes to run into “Days” head writer James Reilly, who scripted Maggie’s end. “I will thank him for giving me the work,” she said. “I know Mr. Reilly has his idea of what he wants to do [with the show], but I wanted to him to see that I was of value. I wanted people to see that I wasn’t just fluff.”
Ms. Rogers remains philosophical about the future. “What will be will be,” she said. “I said to everyone at my going-away party, `If nothing else, most of you weren’t here when I won my first Emmy. Now at least you’ve all seen what I won it for.”’