Dr. Wilhelm Rolf isn't one of the best-known characters in the history of DAYS OF OUR LIVES, but the man has played a very important role for many of Salem's residents! The doc has been played by actor William Utay since the character was first introduced back in 1997, and while he died in 2003, he returned again for another stint from 2007-2008. Dr. Rolf has not only faked deaths (including his own) but brought people back to life!
Dr. Rolf first appeared as the man working on a cure for Roman Brady, but it turned out he was also responsible for helping Stefano DiMera turn Hope Brady into Princess Gina! After an adventure in the jungle where he helped cure John and Peter, Rolf journeyed to Salem with Stefano and got mixed up in a crazy scheme to switch Hope’s child with his niece, Marlo’s. Stefano also had the doctor transform Hattie Adams’ appearance to look even more like Marlena Evans’. When news of the evil deeds began to come to light, Rolf detonated bombs all over Salem to cover his tracks!
Wilhelm became a professor at the university to keep an eye on the children of Salem, including the Gemini Twins, Cassie and Rex Brady. He programmed the duo to kill anyone who came near the DiMeras and was later revealed to have been involved in their conception and birth. When Rex confronted Rolf, the doctor was killed when a crate fell on him.
But four years later, Rolf was revealed to be very much alive and serving as personal physician to an ailing Stefano. He had Sami Brady kidnapped so he could use stem cells from her unborn baby to keep Stefano alive, but instead discovered she wasn’t actually carrying EJ DiMera’s child! Andre DIMera stole the liver of Benjy Hawk so Rolf could transplant it into Stefano and save his life.
When John was hit by a car and killed, Rolf revived the guy and brainwashed him to become Stefano’s pawn again. When John became violent, he attempted to kill Rolf, but Stefano managed to stop him. Rolf was arrested along with his boss, and John agreed not to press charges against Rolf if he became his butler and shut down his lab. Marlena requested the doctor’s help in restoring John’s memories, offering to vouch for him if he did the right thing.
Rolf resurfaced in 2017 when it was revealed that he had brought Will Horton back to life and later concocted a serum that would restore the young man's missing memories. He popped a cyanide capsule to take his own life, but in 2018 it was revealed that he had been brought back to life by Kristen DiMera, and had perfected his serum to restore people to life. It was used on EJ and Vivian Alamain, and it was later revealed he'd also brought Jack Deveraux back from the presumed dead. Like Will, Jack had lost his memories, and his loved ones urged Rolf to recreate the serum that had helped Will remember his past.
When Kristen wanted to steal Sarah's embryo and implant it into herself, she naturally went to Dr. Rolf, but he soon discovered that she was somehow already pregnant with Brady's baby. He also injected Kate Roberts with something which brought her out of her coma and saved her life, knowing it was what Stefano would want. Unfortunately, he had to tell Gabi that there was no spark of life left in Stefan so his formula wouldn't work on him. And before Kayla could kick him out of her hospital, he injected Hope Brady and did something terrible to her!
Stay tuned to see what else the mad scientist gets up to in Salem, and for more DAYS news, keep reading Soaps In Depth magazine!