A bittersweet goodbye. The annual holiday episode of Days of Our Lives honored the late John Aniston with his final appearance on the soap opera.
The Monday, December 26, episode began with Aniston’s character, Victor Kiriakis, questioning why Leo Stark (portrayed by Greg Rikaart) was in his home and demanding him to leave. After the exchange, the characters reached an agreement and the show goes back in time to highlight Victor’s legacy.
In a flashback sequence, viewers got to see replays of some of Victor’s most iconic storylines and how he grew during the series. The episode ended with his character sailing off into the sunset.
The Greece native, whose death at age 89 was announced by daughter Jennifer Aniston in November, joined Days in 1970. After an initial run as Eric Richards, he left the show in the same year to pursue other projects. When returning to the long-running series 15 years later, John began his tenure as Victor. He continued to star on the show on and off for 36 years. In 2017, the actor earned a Daytime Emmy Award nomination for his work.
The iconic series concluded its NBC run in September — after 52 years on the network — and jumped over to the streaming service Peacock for all new episodes. In June, the Search for Tomorrow star was honored with the 2022 Daytime Emmy Lifetime Achievement Award, which was presented to him by Jennifer.
“This is truly a special moment for me. It’s an opportunity to not only pay tribute to a true icon in the daytime television world, but it’s also a chance to recognize the lifelong achievements of a great and well-respected actor, who also happens to be my dad,” the Friends alum, 53, said during the ceremony. “For over 30 years, his dedication to that show has gained him respect and admiration of his fellow actors, deep friendships, and thrilled millions of fans around the world. His career is literally the definition of lifetime achievement.”
The Morning Show actress announced the news of her father’s passing in November.
“Sweet papa… John Anthony Aniston. You were one of the most beautiful humans I ever knew,” the Horrible Bosses actress wrote via Instagram at the time, alongside several sweet childhood photos. “I am so grateful that you went soaring into the heavens in peace – and without pain. … I’ll love you till the end of time💔.”
In addition to Jennifer, John is survived by wife Sherry Rooney and their 33-year-old son, Alexander. After marrying Rooney, 76, in June 1984, the West Wing alum also became a stepfather to her son from a previous marriage, John Melick.