As with any long-running soap opera, there's Loads and Loads of Characters, so this will try to only include fairly significant ones. In order to not make this a massive info dump, we've split it up into folders based on when the character first appeared on the show. For characters that were born on the show, they'll be included in the folder where they first became non-child recurring characters, and were actually teens or older and part of the plot.
The matriarch of the Horton family (and, really, Salem in general), Alice and her portrayer Frances Reid was one of the few mainstays of the series, appearing from the premiere until Christmas 2007 when Reid became too ill to appear anymore. A wise and loving woman, her death in June 2010 (coinciding with that of Reid) was the end of an era both for Days and the soap opera world in general.
She left behind children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren...almost all of whom have been the recipient of some of her patented Horton advice-and-doughnuts at some point or another.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Not really her favorite, but Alice Horton is eternally connected to her doughnuts.
Dr. Thomas "Tom" Horton Sr.
->"Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives..."
Alice's loving husband until his death in 1994, coinciding with Carey's. Essentially take everything that Alice was, make it male, and you have Tom. Infinitely wise, patient and paternal, Tom was the Chief of Staff of University Hospital where he was always on-hand to advise the younger doctors or anyone who happened to pass through the doors.
Dr. Thomas "Tommy" Horton Jr.
Tom and Alice's eldest son. He began the series as missing and presumed dead from the Korean War, but eventually returned with amnesia. And really didn't do much of anything. And now he pretty much doesn't exist and everyone pretends Tom and Alice had four kids.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: At one point in the 1970s, Tom went upstairs and didn't come back down for years. He also hasn't been seen or mentioned since about 1980, even when his parents died. Mickey was referred to as Tom and Alice's eldest son at Tom's funeral, when that was supposed to be Tommy.
- Surprise Incest: Basically Tommy's only story of note was coming back to Korea with amnesia and plastic surgery and hooking up with his sister Marie without knowing it was her.
Adelaide "Addie" Horton Olson/Williams
Tom and Alice's eldest daughter and Tommy's twin sister, she actually spent very little time on the show actually alive, and is primarily remembered nowadays as being the deceased mother of current characters Julie and Hope. And for having her younger daughter with her elder daughter's love interest.
- Character Death: One of the few deaths not necessitated by that of the character's iconic performer which immediately stuck and has never been retconned. Yet.
Michael "Mickey" Horton Sr.
Tom and Alice's middle son. Like Alice, Michael was on the show pretty much forever, and like Alice he was killed off in 2010. Mickey was an attorney and the golden boy and good son of the Hortons. Most famously and long-lastingly played by John Clarke, upon Clarke's retirement they had difficulty recasting him and finally just had him die offscreen so they could move his wife onto other stories and stop awkwardly pretending he was in the other room or away on business.
Though his first big pairing was with Laura, with whom he was in a decade-long triangle with his younger brother Bill, Mickey is far more famously known for his later pairing with Maggie, which lasted over three decades.
- Absentee Actor: Though he stopped appearing regularly in 2006, Mickey was supposed to still live in Salem at his house with Maggie until his death.
- The Artifact: Lasted until 2010, but never really had anything to do since the 1980s, minus little minor stories here and there. He would generally just be around for family events and to be everyone's lawyer should they need one.
- Cain and Abel: When Mickey learned Bill was the biological father of his son Mike, Mickey went temporarily insane and tried to kill Bill.
- The Dutiful Son: For the vast majority of Days, Mickey was the only Horton child in Salem and usually the good, stable, dependable one.
Dr. William "Bill" Horton
Tom and Alice's youngest son. He began the series as a med student and grew to be a successful doctor, spending much of his career fighting AIDS in Africa, where he remains to this day. Bill has always been the troubled Horton son, and has a tendency to do things that on paper would make him sound like total Jerkass. But for the most part, he means well. Though he's only appeared in occasional guest spots since the 80s, Bill remains a prominent part of the landscape by being the father of Mike, Jennifer, and Lucas, all three of whom arguably went on to become more prominent Days characters than Bill himself.
- Cain and Abel: When Mickey learned Bill was the biological father of his son Mike, Mickey went temporarily insane and tried to kill Bill.
- Black Sheep: It just goes to show how perfect the Horton family is if a respected doctor and humanitarian is the family's black sheep. But in fairness, he is a douchebag.
- The Bus Came Back: Has returned occasionally, usually for big events like weddings and funerals, and even then seldom. For a while this was because all of the actors who played Bill had died, but in 2010 with Alice's funeral they finally decided they couldn't not include Bill and after fifteen years finally recast him. He may make more appearances now.
- Jerkass: Raped Mickey's wife, Laura, got her pregnant (Mike) and eventually stole her away from his brother and had another kid with her (Jennifer), only to cheat on her with Kate and conceive a childhood out of wedlock (Lucas), driving Laura insane and causing her to abandon infant Jennifer on a bus and get carted off to an asylum. Then, rather than take responsibility and raise his kids, he pawns Jennifer off on his parents, leaves poor Kate to become a prostitute to provide for her infant son and goes gallivanting around the world. Oh, and years later he stole his son's girlfriend from him too. Bill is a douche.
- Jerk With A Heart OF Gold: In spite of all that, Bill really does mean well.
- Put on a Bus: Has been living in Africa for twenty years, as a conveniently far away place to explain why he seldom returns for visits.
- Youngest Child Wins: Though Mickey and Bill have a younger sister Marie, between the two of them Bill's the youngest. And he stole Mickey's wife, turned out to be the father of his only son, and is the only one of the two still alive.
Julie Olson Williams
Tom and Alice's eldest grandchild, Addie's eldest daughter, and Salem's original It-Girl. In Salem's ling history, she's grown from a teenage girl to a woman approaching senior citizenship and has even graced the cover of Time Magazine
- The Artifact: Julie essentially ruled the show in the 1970s and hasn't really had a storyline since then, but is usually a part of the show in some capacity just because she's Julie.
- Commuting on a Bus: Though she and Doug have technically been on recurring status since 1999, we see them very rarely as they seem to be constantly on a world cruise. They tend to just pop up when there's a holiday, big family event or Hope's got some sort of crisis.
Margaret "Maggie" Simmons Horton
Mickey's wife and recent widow. Began the show as a young naive farm girl and has grown to become the beloved matriarch of Salem following Alice's death.
- The Alcoholic: Recovering, which allows her to mentor all alcoholics and drug addicts that followed her.
- The Artifact: Played straight, then finally subverted. This was the case for her for over 20 years, until Alice died and she was able to take over the role as the show's matriarch. To the fandom's rejoicing, Maggie now has a huge role on the show for the first time since the early 1980s.
Dr. Marlena Evans Brady/Black
The first member of the Brady clan that would essentially take over the show in the 1980s, a hard-nose no-nonsense police officer. Most famous for his love story with Marlena in the early '80s, basically his entire identity would eventually be stolen by John Black.
- Family Business: The Salem Police Department is often derided as the Brady Police Department, because Bradys make up more than half of it.
- The Protagonist: In the 1980s. By the 1990s, this had been taken by his little brother Bo and doppelganger John.
Beauregard Aurelius "Bo" Brady
Roman's younger brother, Bo showed up as a leather-wearing no good hoodlum who was always getting in trouble but had a heart of gold. He eventually became a police officer, husband and father and over the years, Bo has grown to become the de-facto main male character of Days of our Lives.
- Badass Beard: Though beards were fairly common in the 1980s when Bo came around, we're long past the point where anything above Perma-Stubble is common for a leading character. But Bo Brady's holding on to his beard 'til the bitter end.
- Chronic Hero Syndrome: Often accused of having this by the women in his life... particularly if he's saving other women.
- The Protagonist: Has essentially been the male main character since the early 1980s and is almost always the one called upon to save the day.
- Troubledbut Cute: In the 1980s, he made a lot of trouble. . He's not really troubled anymore, but still cute.
Hope Alice Williams Brady
The daughter of Doug Williams and Addie Horton. A spoiled princess turned police officer. One of Days' biggest heroines.
- Opposites Attract: With bad boy from the wrong side of the track, Bo.
- Horrible Judge of Character: Basically, every guy she's been paired with who isn't Bo has turned out to be evil.
- Split Personality: In the 1990s as Art-thief and DiMera pawn, Princess Gina. In 2010 as "Nighttime Hope" who attacks and mugs powerful men.
Known as "The Phoenix", Stefano is the arch-villain of Days and patriarch of the DiMeras, an Italian mafia family with a long-standing vendetta against the Bradys.
- Arch-Enemy: To almost all of Salem, but particularly Shawn Brady Sr., John Black, Roman Brady, Bo Brady, and Marlena Evans.
- Back from the Dead: Over ten times. His nickname is "The Phoenix" for this very reason.
- Cartoonish Supervillainy: Often accused of this in the 1990s. For God's sake, the man had a magician henchman who could turn into a raven, a German mad scientist with his own domed island laboratory, and he actually called his plans "evil plans.". Even people who were sick of the Brady drama couldn't help but be entertained by a villain this absurd.
- The Chessmaster: Both literally (he's fond of and constantly plays chess) and figuratively (a manipulator events, uses other people as pawns...in fact, his nickname for half-brother/former-henchman-turned-hero John Black is "Pawn").
- Family Business: DiMera Enterprises, and the continuation of the vendetta against the Brady family.
- Hijacked by Ganon: Evil schemes that were originally the machination of someone else (Ernesto Toscano, Lawrence Alamain, etc.) often turn out to somehow really have been done by Stefano.
Abraham Washington "Abe" Carver
The longest-running African-American character on television, Abe's initial role on the series was as Roman's token black best friend and partner, but he eventually grew into Commander and then Commissioner of the Salem Police Force, making him the de-facto leader of the good guys. Though he's married to Stefano DiMera's daughter, Abe is perhaps one of the most honorable and decent characters in the series. He recently resigned as Commissioner of the Police Force and successfully ran for Mayor of Salem, a position he holds today.
- Black Dude Dies First: Was the first casualty of the Salem Serial Killer in 2003. Though it turned out none of those characters actually died at all, and two of the ten victims (Andre and Alice) have since died for real, prior to the still-living Abe.
- Blind Black Guy: Intermittently from 2004 to 2006. Eventually Abe received the eyes of Bo's dead son Zack, which has cured him.
- Da Chief: Before he became the Mayor, Abe was usually the by-the-book boss trying to be.
- Demotedto Extra: Though it's not quite that bad, in the past few years Abe's role on the show has been severely downgraded.
- Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Though a lot of good characters do this, Abe is often cited as one of the moral centers of Days.
- Token Minority: Abe and his wife Lexie have often been accused of being this for Days.
The daughter of Bill and Laura Horton, and one of Days' biggest heroines.
- Parental Abandonment: Though both her parents are alive, her mother was in an institution for most of her childhood while her father was usually off in third-world countries providing medical aid.
- Rapeas Drama: Her rape by Lawrence Alamain caused both drama for her, and for her ex-rapist love interest, Jack.
Also known as Ryan DiMera, Forrest Alamain, Roman Brady, and the Pawn. John's backstory has been constantly reinvented. John showed up in Salem with amnesia and was believed by everyone for years (for some reason that made sense at the time) to be the presumed dead Roman Brady with plastic surgery. When the real Roman was discovered alive, it was accepted that John was really someone else...and it took them like forever to figure out who. The current accepted story is that he's Stefano's younger-half brother, the product of an affair between Santo DiMera and Colleen Brady, which began the Brady/DiMera rivalry.
- Expy: Even the show has admitted, he's a fairly blatant rip-off of Jason Bourne.
Steven Earl "Patch" Johnson
Best friend/former rival of Bo Brady's. A badass leather-jacket wearing hooligan with one eye (knifed out by Bo). Though he was a villain at first, he became a good guy fairly early on and even became the good counterpart to his darker younger brother. He controversially returned to life sixteen years after being killed off.
- Broken Base: Since his run in the 2000s was generally uneventful, many fans think it diminished the iconic nature of the character to have negated his deah, taking him from a 1980s icon unsullied by poorer writing of recent decades to a far more forgettable character. Others were just so happy to have him back, they didn't care.
- Expy: Though this one hasn't been admitted, he'd appear to be a blatant rip-off Snake Plissken from Escape from New York. Hell, some consider him just a blonde Bo Brady with an eyepatch. His rise to to a main hero pretty much coincided with Bo's departure.
- Parental Abandonment: When he was a boy, his mom put him and his infant brother Billy in an orphanage to protect them from their abusive father. Because Billy was just a baby he was adopted fairly quickly by a wealthy politician, the older Steve (who was midway through his childhood) wasn't so lucky. Steve resented his family because of it.
Jack Harcourt Deveraux
Born Billy Johnson, Jack is the long-lost younger brother of Steve Johnson, adopted by the wealthy Harper Deveraux and raised in wealth and extravagance, turned him into an arrogant manipulative prick. Though he was a despised villain in his earlier years, he ultimately became one of Days' most popular heroes.
- Sharp-Dressed Man: In his twenties he never wore anything but a suit, but he grew more casual in his thirties and forties.
Greek business tycoon and occasional crimelord, Victor is the biological father of Bo Brady. Though originally just a Greek version of Stefano, the character eventually became slightly redeemed in his old age to be less of a villain and more just a jerk.
Caroline Anna "Carrie" Brady Reed
Samantha Gene "Sami" Brady
Lucas Desmond Horton
Katherine Elizabeth "Kate" Roberts DiMera
Nicole Walker DiMera
Greta Von Amburg
Belle Black Brady
Brady Victor Black
Elvis Aron "E.J." DiMera
William Robert "Will" Horton