Days of Our Lives’ John Aniston: A Photo-Filled Tribute to an Incomparable Soap Legend
Daytime lost one of its true greats when Days of Our Lives‘ incomparable John Aniston passed away on November 11, 2022. There’s a segment of the population that only knew John Aniston as “Oh, that’s Jennifer Aniston’s father.” We feel sorry for that segment of the population, because it really missed out. Those of us who are daytime aficionados are well aware that he was so much more, an actor blessed with enviable panache and the ability to erupt on screen with the spectacular force of a volcano
Credit: Courtesy of the Everett Collection
The soap vet is, of course, best known for his nearly four-decade run as Days of Our Lives baddie Victor Kiriakis. But he first passed through Salem 15 years earlier, as Dr. Eric Richards. The character didn’t make much of an impression (as you’ll see in the clip below), but Aniston did. Even as the M.D. was being turned down for a date, his portrayer was coming off as smooth as a freshly ironed lab coat.
In the years between his Days of Our Lives stints, Aniston passed through Love of Life as Eddie Aleata, whose “better half” hardly lived up to the term, and Search for Tomorrow, where as Martin Tourneur he revealed the flair for wickedness that would serve him so well as Victor. (Martin was such a cad, he even cheated on the show’s beleaguered heroine, Jo!)
Then, of course, came Aniston’s role of a lifetime. When he returned to Days of Our Lives as the Greek tycoon with a surplus of money and a shortage of scruples, he played the part to the hilt and beyond. We hated Victor — and loved to hate him!
However, the beauty of Aniston’s performance, even early on, was that he didn’t make his alter ego a mustache-twirling villain — even though he had a fabulous mustache with which he could have done so. He gave Victor depth, desire and, especially shocking, humanity. He wasn’t rotten to the core, just damn near to the core.
Every time the writers pushed Victor so far to the dark side that it was tempting to think that he couldn’t be pulled back, he was — in large part due Aniston’s power. He didn’t just appear on screen, he commanded the screen, electrifying his most dramatic scenes and shading in his quieter moments with the skillfulness of a sketch artist.
In later years, Aniston was allowed more and more to also play Victor’s humor — as cutting as a newly sharpened knife and unrelentingly droll. Aniston and Suzanne Rogers even made the unlikely pairing of sweet Maggie Horton and sour Victor work, in the process shining a spotlight on the surprisingly existent and functioning heart of the pot stirrer who had for so long made Salem hell for its residents.
By the time Aniston died, he’d convinced us that there was nothing that he couldn’t do — even live forever. Which, in a way, he certainly will. Because those of us who were lucky enough to enjoy his work will never forget it or him.
Look back on a legend with our photo gallery of daytime’s stars paying tribute to Aniston.