Stella & Roger Lombard: Two Decades Later
Catching Up With Elaine Bromka & Mark Drexler


Stella & Roger Lombard arrived in Salem in March 1992.
Roger, an alcoholic, soon developed feelings for his therapist, Dr. Marlena Evans.
Stella thought Roger was having an affair with Marlena and decided to kidnap her.
After holding Marlena hostage, Stella ended up being hit and killed by a car.
Now, almost 20 years later, Elaine Bromka & Mark Drexler remember their time in Salem,
and update fans on what they've been up to since leaving "Days."

(Stella Lombard)

Where were you born and raised?
Rochester, N.Y.

How did you get into acting originally?
I had just finished a master's degree at Smith College when I got a call to join the National Theater of the Deaf.  I toured with them for two years.  Lovely people and a  beautiful new language!

When you first appeared on "Days" in March 1992, was it originally just a short-term role?
I believe it was for three days.  There were absolutely no plans for a contract.  Deidre Hall (Marlena) and I clicked instantly, though -- and when I got the contract offer months later, it was her doing:  She got me that job by suggesting the idea to the producer. Kismet!

Who did you have your "Days" audition with?
I auditioned alone for Fran Bascom, the casting director. As soon as I walked through the door, I knew it was magic time.  She was a New Yorker, with a wonderfully blunt and refreshing take on life.

Do you have any favorite "Days" episodes or scenes?
Loved every single day I worked -- each was a unique challenge.  Producer Tom Langan had a brilliant eye.   After my dress rehearsal, sometimes even after my first take, he would add the one suggestion or tweak to knock the next take out of the ballpark.  It is very rare to have that keen and quick an eye under time pressure (or even the freedom to do such a thing anymore) and I am forever grateful to him.  We really, really cared about doing the best work possible. I do remember their asking me to bleach my hair, supposedly because Stella wanted to imitate Marlena, but I didn't want to.  We ended up compromising with some temporary product that is sprayed onto the hair. It made my hair so still and gummy I couldn't get a comb through it for weeks.  Ay yi yi!

Any memories to share of your co-stars Deidre Hall, Mark Drexler and Tony Rhodes?
Dee and I became very close, and have remained in touch.  I saw her just this fall, the last time I was in L.A.   Mark and Tony were both princes, but I have long since lost touch.

Were there originally any longer-term plans for Stella or did you know for awhile that she would be dying after holding Marlena hostage?
I had no idea Stella would die.   I was commuting weekly, sometimes twice weekly, from Brooklyn (a fact I kept to myself, since I was hired as an L.A. actor) and juggling an extremely intricate schedule of cross-country plane reservations because I had two young children there and was in the process of packing and moving to New Jersey with the family (could the pressure get greater?!)  Only when I noticed that I was not on the following week's taping schedule and pressed to find out more in the office in order to purchase my plane ticket did I find out.  You could have knocked me over. I sputtered, "But why do you have to KILL me???" and was told, "It's more fun.  Better for the ratings."  I learned then never to count chickens in advance!

Did you get much angry fan mail once Stella started holding the Marlena hostage?
I definitely got some.  Listen, I was shocked myself.  I thought, what happened to that woman-to-woman bonding thing we were doing?  Marlena helping Stella cope with her dysfunctional family. I resisted at first when Stella grew more deranged, but when I went with it, I had a complete blast.  The writers were fantastic with where they went with that storyline.  Every time I picked up a new script, I had no idea where it would take me!

Any stories to share of your time with Deidre and the hostage storyline? How was it filming the "turkey" scene when Stella sent down Marlena her Thanskgiving dinner?
Keeping Marlena in the pit was really freaky for me, because they got that effect by having Dee on the main floor of the set and elevating me and two crew members way up into the air on a tiny platform.  I'm afraid of heights; I feel a magnetic pull to the edges for some reason, so I was getting dizzy.  I asked for at least a low railing on the platform, and they kindly added that.  Thank goodness, or they would have had a Stella pancake on their hands as I dove off. The turkey scene was infamous.  I threw the turkey into the pit in this intense Stella rage, and it bounced. Dee and I tried so hard not to laugh that we were in pain. 

Was it hard filming Stella's death scene? Even though she was more of a villain, I've always considered Stella's death scene as one of the sadder moments on Days.
Well, thank you for saying that!  I really didn't want to leave the show, so it was very, very difficult.  I remember closing my eyes and thinking, well, that's that...only to hear Marlena's voice urging, "Stella!  Stella! Don't go!  I brought the turkey!"  I thought I was hallucinating.  Dee had arranged with the crew to add one more take as a goof.  It was hilarious.  They played it on the show "bloopers" reel several times.  The writers sent me a huge bouquet of flowers in Jersey on the day Stella's death scene aired.  I was deeply touched.  That topped an absolutely crazy and fabulously creative chapter of my career, and a wild ride with a great team.

Have you kept in touch with any actors or crew from the show?
Unfortunately, I have lost contact with almost everyone, but I continue to see Dee from time to time, and that's great fun.  She came to my one-woman show this fall.  What a doll.

How did you end up back on "Days" briefly in 2002 as Dr. Rieker?
I was back in L.A. briefly at that time, and gave them a call.  It was fun to see the crew again.

Do people still recognize you from "Days"?
They do still remember Stella -- heartwarming!

Having appeared in all four, do you have a favorite choice between daytime dramas, primetime television, Broadway or movies?
No, I truly enjoy it all.  Daytime is certainly, hands down, the most stressful work of all the above.  I have tremendous admiration for the actors who continue to master scripts in such short order and deliver day after day.

Your resume lists two iconic children's series, "Sesame Street" and "Mr. Rogers." Did you get to work with Fred Rogers in your scene? And who did you appear with on "Sesame Street"?
I did.  He had that same preternatural calm in real life!  He was extremely intelligent.  You could feel how much his crew believed in him  -- you could have heard a pin drop on the floor between takes while he was thinking. On "Sesame Street", I was a neighbor on the street with Mr. Hooper.  That all came up because I was friends with Linda Bove, from the National Theater of the Deaf.

Having appeared on all three long-running "Law & Order" series, do you have a favorite role among the various characters you played?
No -- loved working each time.  I adored Mariska Hargitay.  Such a generous heart.

Your primetime TV work includes appearances on five of the most popular series of the 1990s and 2000s: "L.A. Law", "Will & Grace", "ER", "The Sopranos" and "Sex & the City." Do you have a favorite role amongst them?
I make it a practice never to pick favorites.  Each role-- each moment -- is the most exciting, the puzzle to solve.  That's what keeps me engaged.  That's the magic between actors.

How was it working with Rich Little in "The Presidents"?
He was astonishing  -- completely transforming, right down to the tiniest detail.  Inspired by him,  I went on to co-write my one-woman show, "Lady Bird, Pat and Betty:  Tea for Three" with Eric H. Weinberger.  I've taken it to over 60 theaters across the country.  
Any parting words for the "Days" fans reading this interview?
I found them to be a passionate lot -- and I thank them for a fabulous ride!

For more information about Elaine's one-woman play, please visit or visit her official site at

(Roger Lombard)

Where were you born and raised?
Kansas City, Mo, until I was 16, then my family moved to Seattle, WA.

How did you get into acting originally?
The first show I did in LA was called "Buck James" with Dennis Weaver. There were many TV shows and films that were shot in Seattle, so I had parts in some of those, including "War Games" (I was Matthew Broderick's PE teacher, but the director was fired and replaced and I was cut out, but I got my SAG card), and "Francis" with Jessica Lange. I was also in a TV program called "Hot Pursuit", filmed in Seattle, and several local TV shows and films. I worked on two films with Stanley Kramer at his Think-Tank for Film Making that was associated with a local college. I was a lead in both films that were made that year, and I had the opportunity to work closely with Mr. Kramer, who is a film legend. I also did many local, regional and national commercials. However, Seattle is a great theatre town, so I studied for several years at the Northwest Actor's Studio, as well as other local acting coaches. I worked at several theatres in Seattle, and played the leads in many shows, including "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest", "Wait Until Dark", "The Rainmaker", "Pirates of Penzance", "Picnic", "On Golden Pond", and original plays, as well. Prior to this, I had performed in class productions at the University of Washington, and in high school.

From the various primetime shows you've appeared in, who did you get to work with over the years?
On "Jake & the Fatman" I worked with both William Conrad and Joe Penny. I don't believe William Conrad ever picked up a script before coming to work, everything was off cue cards, but he was very good at hiding that he was basically reading. On "Highway to Heaven", I worked with Michael Landon. My scenes were with him, and he was directing, and producing, so he was very businesslike and wanting to get through each shot and on to the next. On "Dynasty" I worked with Emma Samms, though many other members of the cast were on the periphery. The director was Nancy Malone, who was at one time a very successful actress in the '60s and '70s. On "Hunter" I worked with Fred Dryer and Stefanie Kramer and on "The Wonder Years" I worked with Fred Savage and Soleil Moon Frye. On "Matlock", I worked with Andy Griffith- nice man. On "Nash Bridges" I worked with both Don Johnson and Cheech Marin...Cheech was pleasant. I also did "Police Story" with a very young Benjamin Bratt, "The Law and Harry McGraw" with Jerry Orbach, and "Something Is Out There" Another film I did was "The Perfect Bride" with Kelly Preston and Sammy Davis.

When you first appeared on "Days", was it originally a short-term role?
I understood there was a possibility [we could sign a contract], but it was originally for 2 weeks, I believe. Then we found out they were going to expand the storyline.

How did you end up getting the role of Roger?
I had auditioned for many parts for "Days", as well as "Santa Barbara", "One Life to Live", "General Hospital", "All My Children", and even for Jack Abbott on "The Young & the Restless."

Do you have any favorite episodes or scenes?
Scenes with Deidre Hall when Roger was "drying out" were the most intense, and required the most focus and intensity, but were the most rewarding.

Any memories to share of your co-stars Deidre Hall, Elaine Bromka and Tony Rhodes?
They were all very nice and great to work with. Because Deidre had been in daytime for so long, she was very helpful in showing me the ropes. Both she and Elaine were willing to work as required to make the scenes the best they could be.

Were there originally longer-term plans for Roger or were you phased out once Jim Reilly was hired as the new head writer?
I am not sure what happened, or why. The story lines seemed to be moving Roger closer to Marlena, and I had heard unofficially from the production team and various media reporters that this was the case, then the course changed.

Have you kept in touch with any actors or crew from the show? 
For several years after the show I kept in touch with Robert Kelker-Kelly (ex-Bo Brady), even attended his wedding in New York. After he moved East, we lost contact. 

Do you have any memorable fan encounters? Do people still recognize you from "Days"?
The fans were always great, and I enjoyed interacting with them. People still ask if I am an actor quite a bit, but no one specifically says "Days." The most memorable fan encounter happened over a Thanksgiving holiday weekend at a packed shopping mall in L.A. Roger had just begun "drying out", and had been sober for a while. A couple recognized me across the central pavilion of the mall, which was very crowded with holiday shoppers. The fans were on the opposite side of the rotunda when one of them waved at me and shouted, "Glad to see you are sober now!" Everyone in the place turned to look at me, and I was with my family. I waved back and said "Thanks!"...but it was a bit embarassing.

Since leaving "Days", you returned to your original roots as an architect. Would you like to act again someday?
I still have an agent, and go out occasionally on auditions. Of course, I would love to be gainfully employed as an actor again, in any medium.

Any parting words for the "Days" fans reading this interview?
I think it is cool that the fans are multi-generational, and I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of "Days of Our Lives." I am glad the show has had its run extended, and if they want Roger back . . . . just call!

For more information on Mark's current work as a contractor, please visit his website at

Elaine & Mark's autographs to me, 1992


Episode # 6774...May 21, 1992
Roman Threatens Roger

Episode # 6870...October 6, 1992
Roger Fantasizes About Marlena

Episode # 6883...October 23, 1992
Roger Asks Stella For a Separation

Episode # 6883...October 23, 1992
Stella Imagines Marlena In the Pit

Episode # 6888...October 30, 1992
Stella Kidnaps Marlena & Puts Her In the Pit

Episode # 6902...November 19, 1992
Stella Sends Down a Turkey to Marlena

Episode # 6904...November 23, 1992
The Death of Stella Lombard

Episode # 6911...December 3, 1992
Roger & Jesse Get Ready to Leave Salem

"TV's Bloopers & Practical Jokes", 1993
Bloopers of Stella & Marlena