Fans of might be more familiar with Andre, but Thaao Penghlis has also played his look-alike half brother, Tony DiMera on DAYS OF OUR LIVES. The character first appeared in 1981 and left the soap in 1985, later returning for another stint from 2007-09. Because sometimes when the character of Tony was on-screen, he was actually being impersonated by Andre! It’s a little complicated, but let us run down his history for you…
Count Tony DiMera arrived in Salem in 1981 to win back his wife, Liz Chandler, but also to scope out Salem as a potential location for the DiMera family business to relocate to. After his introductory party with the town’s elite, Tony was given orders by Stefano DiMera to put down roots in Salem in order for him to continue the DiMera vendetta against the Brady family. Tony wanted to marry Renée DuMonde, but it turned out they were half siblings. He refused to believe it, and blamed Stefano for splitting them up. Later, the truth came out when Daphne DiMera confessed to Tony that they were not related, but by that point Renée had moved on and was married to David Banning and refused to leave her husband. Sadly, she was later killed by Andre.
Tony married Liz, but when she became pregnant, she claimed the baby belonged to Neil Curtis. Tony refused to divorce her until the baby was born in case it was his, but unfortunately it wasn’t, so they separated. Then he came face-to-face with his evil look-alike, Andre DiMera, who kidnapped Tony and impersonated him in Salem. Their battles caused Daphne’s death in a plane crash Andre set up, and she passed away in his arms, believing him to be Tony. Furious, Tony sought revenge against Andre, and after they battled on the island, Andre was believed drowned in quicksand.
Tony became engaged to Anna Brady, but their first attempt to wed was invalid because the minister was a fake, and the second didn’t happen because she got kidnapped. Finally, the couple managed to tie the knot, but she soon found herself accused of murder and Tony disappeared. In the end, her victim, Claud Van Zandt, was discovered alive, and he was holding Tony captive. Unfortunately, in 1985, Tony was blackmailed by Emma Donovan to divorce Anna and leave Salem.
Although Tony was believed to be causing all kinds of drama in Salem during the ‘90s, it was revealed in 2007 that the real culprit was actually Andre, impersonating Tony once again. John Black and Marlena Evans found poor Tony on a deserted island and Anna was thrilled to finally be reunited with him once more. Once back in Salem, Tony sided with the Bradys against Stefano and the other DiMeras in the hopes of finally ending the family feud. This naturally led to another battle between Tony and Andre.
After Andre was presumed dead, Tony was finally able to be his own man and attempted to get EJ DiMera to side with him against Stefano. but eventually EJ returned to Stefano and Tony felt like the odd man out. After acquiring an alternative fuels project, Tony planned to leave Salem, but was confronted by Phillip Kiriakis at the pier, and during their argument, Tony had a serious fall and was severely injured. Despite being rushed into surgery, he later died of his wounds.
Tony made an appearance in purgatory when Marlena died briefly, but in Salem, dead is rarely ever that permanent, and it was eventually revealed that he had been brought back to life and Kristen wanted to use him to get married so she could take over the family business! He declined, insisting he was still married to Anna and didn't want to hurt her, but ultimately Kristen pressured him into agreeing. Stay tuned to see how Tony's story continues and for more DAYS news, keep reading Soaps In Depth magazine.