Born to parents Vanessa Chamberlain and Ross Marler, Dinah was given up for adoption by a teenage Vanessa and raised in (of all things) a carnival. And throughout her run on Guiding Light, Dinah went through several transformations as a character. But even when Dinah was her snottiest in terms of her behavior it was hard not to feel somewhat sympathetic towards her. Afterall Dinah’s main motivation through most of her life was fear of abandonment. It was a spectre throughout her life and in all of her adult relationships.
Dinah Marler was also a character that had multiple recast. So here is the rundown on the faces behind Dinah Chamberlain Marler….
The details of Dinah’s early childhood are murky at best, and show why Dinah will have such a fear of being abandoned later in life. When Vanessa put Dinah up for adoption she was adopted by the Carter family and raised in Springfield. However, mR. and Mrs. Morgan were killed in an automobile accident and Mrs. Morgan’s brother, Gordon Matthews placed Dinah in The Little Angela Foundling Home. From there Dinah and another little girl named Adele were taken in by the Morgan family. Dinah and her sister were close but she ran away when she felt the Morgans didn’t want her anymore. Which is where she met Joe and Shelley Kowalski, the carney family. Dinah and the Kowalski family traveled the country with the carnival until Dinah left to search for her sister Adele…
1. Jennifer Gatti: She portrayed Dinah from June 1986 to June 1987. Dinah first arrived in Springfield as a teenager searching for her adopted sister Adele. A seventeen year old Dinah was hit by a car in front of Phillip and Beth Spaulding’s car and when she admitted that she had nowhere to go they took her in for the night. She admitted she was broke and offered to do yard work to earn bus fare. She got a job at Camp Cayuga and it was there where she found a place to belong. Phillip began teaching her to read and one day at Camp Cayuga, he was moved when little Dorie Smith, an orphan taken in by India Von Halkein, wrote a story about her dog who had a black spot in his eye. The next day, Dinah mentioned that she remembered sitting with her little sister and playing with their puppy – who had a funny black spot in his eye. Phillip asked Dinah for more details about Adele, who had blond hair when she last saw her, and Dinah mentioned a birth mark. Phillip was convinced that Dorie and Adele were one and the same. Dinah then moved in with Lillian and they became close, like mother and daughter. When Dinah began school, she wasn’t very popular. She was often teased because she had been raised in a carnival . Dinah then started dating a popular boy from school named Cameron Stewart (Portrayed by none other than Ian Ziering of 90210 fame). However, Dinah was then kidnapped by the carnival people who hoped to cash in on what they saw as Dinah’s new lifestyle. With the help of the police, Ross and Vanessa saved Dinah from the Kowalskis and Dinah learned the truth about her parentage. Though Dinah didn’t like Vanessa or Ross at first, she eventually began to trust Ross and moved in with him. However, Dinah was reluctant to get past Vanessa giving her up. A lot happened to Dinah in the one year that Jennifer Gatti portrayed the character. She came to town a tomboy but over the course of the year became a young woman, but was overwhelmingly a good person. She spent the year searching not only for her sister but for a place where she felt she belonged, and she eventually found both. I was too young to watch Jennifer Gatti’s version of Dinah live but you can catch Phillip and Dinah talking about Dorie here. Some additional clips I found were, the Christmas after being reunited which can be found here. And the first part of a series of early March 1987 clips where Dinah visits her grandfather Henry in the hospital following his heart attack here.
2. Paige Turco: July 1987 to February 1989. Cameron and Dinah’s romance was innocent, and although he truly liked Dinah he had a one night stand with Lacey Bauer when she arrived in Springfield in 1987. When Dinah found out she broke up with him and began dating a recently returned Alan-Michael Spaulding. Both Ross and Vanessa did not approve. Ross hated Alan-Michael’s father and Vanessa felt Alan-Michael was too wild for her daughter. The relationship between Vanessa and Dinah, still tenuous at best, became even more strained. When Alan-Michael’s motorcycle struck the car carrying a pregnant Harley Cooper to the hospital it was Dinah and Alan-Michael who helped deliver the baby. Dinah and Harley became friends and Dinah stood by her friend when Harley gave the baby up for adoption to the Lemay family. Cameron wanted to reconcile with Dinah but she didn’t want to come between him and his best friend Alan-Michael. Instead Cameron began dating Harley who lied about being a virgin. Dinah told Harley to admit the truth but Harley refused, and when Cameron found out he left Harley. When Vanessa was about to leave town for Venezuela, Dinah and Ross said their goodbyes and mother and daughter were finally able to become close. Dinah realized Cameron’s father was up to no good and tried to warn him to no avail. When caught alone with him George Stewart tried to rape her! Fortunately, while visiting Ross, Cam realized that Dinah was at his house with his father. He and Ross raced over to the Stewart house and stopped George from raping Dinah. Meanwhile, Alan-Michael had enough of Dinah being involved with Cam’s personal problems and he and Dinah broke up. So Dinah and Cam were free and got involved again. Not long after, Dinah and Cam were surprised to learn of Alan-Michael and Harley’s engagement. In February 1989 Dinah departed Springfield to go to college in Paris and Cameron followed her. Cameron’s cheating will be the first of many romantic letdowns in Dinah’s life, which will impact the character in another way. But Dinah is still the sweet character from before. She cares about her friends; standing beside Harley as she gives her child up for adoption and facing off against Cameron’s father. Once again, I unfortunately wasn’t old enough to watch this version of Dinah live either. But the Guiding Light Memory Project posted a set of Clips called Hungry Eyes featuring all four friends(Dinah/AM/Harley/Cameron) after their high school dance which is quite good and worth a watch. It really shows how Dinah is a sweetheart and Harley, well not so much. I also found Dinah and Alan-Michael to be a pretty cute couple, very light and humorous. Good for a high school romance. Also from this same year is this short clip entitled Reckless when Dinah finds out Alan-Michael and Harley are engaged.
3. Wendy Moniz: February 1995 to February 1999. Dinah was a sweetheart when she left. The woman who came back was completely different. This Dinah was not only sophisticated from living in Europe but she was also spoiled and hiding the fact that she dropped out of school. Dinah tried to pass herself off as a wealthy debutant but Ross’ wife Blake and her grandfather Henry suspected she was broke. While staying with her mother Vanessa she flirted with her mother’s fiance Matt Reardon before realizing who he was. Vanessa learned of Dinah’s money woes and since Dinah’s flirtatious ways were grating on Matt, she suggested that Dinah live with Ross and Blake. Although Blake wasn’t happy about the situation, she caved in and let Dinah move in to the carriage house. Dinah arranged for an old acquaintance of hers named Viktor to kidnap her so that she could gain access to her trust fund. However he double crossed her and left her tied up and demanded even more money! Matt was captured himself bringing the ransom money but they were able to escape from the factory by kicking open a trapdoor. Rescued, Dinah was resentful when Ross and Vanessa read her the riot act about setting up her own kidnapping. Angry at her parents, Dinah lashed out by sleeping with the town villain, Roger Thorpe, Blake’s father. Ross and Vanessa used Roger’s visitation rights for his grandson, Peter, as a weapon to get Roger away from their daughter. Livid at their using Peter, Roger vowed to find his son, Hart, and tell him about Peter (since he had no idea he fathered a child) and then use him to get custody of Peter. Roger hired a bevy of private investigators to find Hart and then married Dinah. Never close to his father, Hart got Dinah to sleep with him and then gleefully revealed the fact to his enraged dad. Little did anyone realize that Roger had been busy embezzling all of Dinah’s trust fund money, most of which had been given to her by her grandfather Henry. Roger tried to patch things up with Dinah while his lawyer was “doctoring” his financial books to make it look like Roger had lost the money in a bad investment (it was actually stashed away in the Cayman islands). When he was about to have to go to court to reveal what he had done with the money, Roger took some pills and faked a heart attack to dodge court. His ploy nearly worked, Dinah almost fell back into Roger’s grasp, but Hart learned that his father had stolen Dinah’s money and showed Dinah the proof. Through all this Hart and Dinah fell in love. After the debacle with Roger was over, Dinah had to deal with Vanessa’s presumed death as well as trying to show Hart that she could be a good caregiver to his son, Peter (something others had doubts about). Soon, Dinah got a surprise visit from her old lover from France, Jean-Luc. Jean-Luc was hired by Roger to break up the couple and When Dinah rejected him, he pointed out that she would eventually tire of the farm and that a girl like her could never make a man like Hart happy for long. Dinah became insecure in the relationship when it became obvious that he was right, they broke up in 1997. Matt locked them in a shed to reconcile and it worked, the pair decided that their love could overcome their differences. Dinah was happy when Vanessa was revealed to be alive, but she worried that Vanessa’s disease could be hereditary and began taking birth control pills on the sly. In the meantime, Dinah was becoming increasingly jealous of Hart’s new friend–Cassie Layne, an ex-stripper who was trying to raise money to get her daughter out of foster care. Hart found the birth control pills and left her for Cassie. Losing Hart brought out the worst in Dinah and she started obsessing with finding a way to win him back, alienating herself from her family. Knowing that Hart couldn’t resist the maternal-type, Dinah borrowed a baby and set it up so Hart would see her caring for a child. Her plan worked with Hart believing that Dinah had changed and they reconciled. Desperate to hold on the Hart, Dinah then arranged a surprise wedding at Hart’s birthday party! Dinah was devastated when Hart broke their engagement saying that he no longer loved her. Making matters worse was the fact that Vanessa sympathized with Cassie and told Dinah that she needed to move on with her life. Then one day, a drunken Hart showed up at Dinah’s doorstep and she took advantage of the situation by telling him later that they’d made love. Later, she slept with Cassie’s ex-Rob so that she would become pregnant! The plan worked and Dinah told Hart that she was pregnant with his child. After having a slight scare, Dinah lied to Hart that she was having a trouble pregnancy. Tragically, days after learning that Cassie herself was pregnant, Dinah miscarried when, while sneaking around by the farm, she was accidentally hit by a door by Hart. She then used his guilt, as well as her mother’s blood pressure pills, to con him into staying with her. Later, when she became ill from over-medicating herself, she conned Hart into marrying her by claiming to be dying. Although the plan worked, Hart was still drawn to Cassie, who had decided to lie to Hart by claiming the child she was carrying wasn’t his. Cassie started to go into labor and Dinah was forced to deliver the baby. Just then Hart arrived, thrilled and relieved to find Cassie and see his son for the first time. Knowing that was her only link to Hart, Dinah tried to appeal to Cassie to keep it quiet, and when that didn’t work, she grabbed an antique gun Hart left behind and aimed the gun at Cassie. Hart walked in and jumped in front of Cassie as Dinah pulled the trigger. Dinah rushed to her mother for help as Hart was rushed to the hospital where he died. After sharing an emotional goodbye Vanessa had Dinah whisked off to Switzerland to hide with the nuns who took care of her during her illness. Wendy Moniz is perhaps the best known Dinah besides the most recent portrayer. Dinah came back to Springfield spoiled and rotten to her core but she wasn’t completely bad. She stood by her friend Marcus when he was accused of killing Detective Cutter and then it was her relationship with Hart where some of that sweet Dinah got to come to light (after their Roger revenge). She was acting mature, was finally living an adult life, even helping Hart raise his child. Then when it was ripped away she was left feeling abandoned like when she was a child. To make matters even worse was that Vanessa was sympathetic to Cassie instead of her own daughter. Vanessa urges Dinah to give up Hart but could Vanessa had given up Matt? Doubtful. Wendy Moniz’s Dinah has been described as both a “bitch” and “badass” and she was a bit of both. She schemed and she was deceptive but she was also vulnerable and you could see that all she really wanted was to be loved. The abrupt end of Hart’s affection towards Dinah still is a bit baffling because Dinah and Hart were a great couple. For some Clippage here is part of ClassicGL “Shine Your Light” where Hart and Dinah reconcile. Here is Dinah and Hart at a hearing accused of gaslighting Roger. And after Dinah shoots Hart he expresses his love for Cassie while Dinah recalls memories of her and Hart’s relationship. What is really telling about this clip is that Hart and Cassie had NONE of the passion displayed here.
Dinah contacted Vanessa in 2000 to say she needed help, that she was pregnant. Dinah was mentioned in 2o02 at Josh and Reva’s wedding when Ross saw Vanessa. There was no mention of her having a baby and Vanessa said she was traveling.
4. Gina Tognoni: July 2004 to 2009. The truth about Dinah wouldn’t come to light until the summer of 2004. Cassie found out that someone was impersonating her in Europe when she learned someone was using her credit cards and paying them off. Dinah placed a call to her father but hung up. The D.A. in Springfield Jeffery O’Neill promised Cassie he would investigate the person posing as Princess Cassie. It turned out to be Dinah, and that Jeffery O’Neill had met two years prior after he rescued Dinah from a European prison. In exchange for helping Dinah she had to impersonate Cassie. Dinah returned in disguise. When she finally made contact with Ross he urged her to turn herself in since she was still wanted for Hart’s murder. She promised she would turn herself in but kept sulking around Springfield. She made her way to the Jessup farm where she met R.J., Hart’s son. She convinced him she was his imaginary friend and to keep her a secret. Dinah offered Edmund a deal to work together and ensure that Jeffrey never got too close to Cassie. Later, when a mysterious person began stalking Cassie, and even attempted to kill her, Jeffrey realized it had to be Dinah. As the weeks went by, Jeffrey hunted for Dinah, and finally found her in Bill’s apartment. Although he tried to threaten her into leaving town, again she broke down his defenses and the pair almost wound up making love. Soon after, Dinah began actively stalking Cassie. Jeffrey kept quiet, instead trying to handle Dinah himself and urged her to give up her obsessive vendetta against Cassie. Deciding to get rid of Dinah once and for all, Jeffrey put her on a plane to Europe under guard. However, Dinah was too slick and bribed a look-a-like to take her place while she stayed in Springfield. At the same time, Jeffrey, and an unexpected Cassie, were on their way to Washington DC on the pretense of talking to Cassie’s stalker. Things finally came to a head one stormy night at the Jessup farm. Upon arriving at the barn, Dinah spotted Edmund knocking Jeffrey out with a shovel. The blow caused Jeffrey, who was holding a candle, to fall and the barn went up in flames! Edmund was able to drag Jeffrey to safety, while unbeknownst to them, Cassie entered the burning barn and spotted RJ trapped at the top-level. Although Cassie became trapped under falling debris, Dinah herself saved the day by rescuing RJ and alerting Edmund and Jeffrey to Cassie’s fate. During Dinah’s trial Cassie stated that it was an accident, saving her family from the torture of a trial. When Dinah was free, Cassie took her to Laurel Falls where she held her at gunpoint to ensure her family’s safety. Jeffery and Edmund arrived on the scene and Cassie eventually spared Dinah’s life. In the meantime, Dinah decided to take from Cassie what was taken from her. Which began with Edmund. Dinah intentionally fueled Edmund’s jealousy towards Jeffery O’Neill. She teamed up with Jonathan Randall (who would be her lover for a while) in order to help destroy the Winslow marriage. which worked. Cassie called off procedures that would give her and Edmund a baby. With Edmund vulnerable, Dinah convinced him to let her carry his and Cassie’s embryo (which had been frozen and was ready for implementation), convincing him that it would help him get Cassie back. Although he was skeptical of her motives, when Edmund learned that Cassie was leaving him, he desperately agreed to the plan. Dinah would miscarry the child but used body pads to appear pregnant. Dinah then realized Edmund stole Michelle Santos’ baby and was passing her off as his and Cassie’s. Edmund locked Dinah in the farmhouse and lit in on fire. She was rescued by A.C. Mallet. Dinah was taken to Cedars where she apologized to Cassie for all she’d done. Then in an act of atonement, she took the baby, Hope, and gave her to her rightful father–Danny Santos. Dinah decided to turn her life around and become a better person. In order to help her out, Mallet convinced Harley, who happened to be his ex-wife, to get Dinah a job at Spaulding Enterprises. Although she was definitely attracted to Mallet, Dinah had been burned too many times and resolved to swear off men. Besides, she knew Mallet still had feelings for Harley. Dinah wasn’t the only person who thought that, and to prove everyone wrong, Mallet planted a hot kiss on Dinah and publicly insisted they were dating. Christmas was rolling around and Dinah was upset that her whole family would be gone for the holiday. A few days later, Mallet surprised Dinah by arranging for Vanessa to come home for Christmas. Soon after, in 2006, Dinah became increasingly insecure about Mallet’s feelings for Harley. It didn’t help that Mallet would frequently drop everything to help Harley who was distraught over the fact that Gus was missing. Dinah was shocked when Harley decided to step down as CEO of Spaulding and named Dinah was her replacement! Meanwhile, Alan-Michael fueled Dinah’s jealousy by commenting on how closely Mallet and Harley were working together and suggested that Mallet dragged his feet about getting a new partner specifically hoping he’d get Harley. Mallet shocked Dinah by asking her to move in with him. Still not secure, a wary Dinah asked if this was his way of telling Harley that he’s tired of being her back-up guy. Mallet spoke from his heart, telling Dinah how much she meant to him. Dinah was moved and they made love. However, Mallet’s devotion to Harley irked Dinah and during an argument about Harley, Mallet confessed that he had recently slept with her. Mallet explained that it was only one time and the woman he loved was Dinah. An angry Dinah didn’t believe him though and walked out the door. Harley asked Dinah for forgiveness but Dinah couldn’t. Mallet had even more bad news, Ross plane had crashed. Alan-Michael was the main suspect and Dinah held him at gunpoint. Mallet and Dinah got engaged and at their engagement party Mallet went on the laptop to show Gus and Harley their wedding video site and what should come up but Springfield Burns? This time, instead of a picture, the site included surveillance reports written by Mallet on Dinah! Mallet confessed that the FBI forced him to keep surveillance on Dinah since she held a gun on Edmund–otherwise she would go back to jail. Betrayed, Dinah rushed out. Mallet followed and tried to explain that he was doing his job but Dinah felt as if their whole relationship was a lie. When Mallet stated that Dinah was simply angry because she was stressed about the wedding, she shoved him into the water and then moved out of their apartment. Dinah offered to watch her sister Clarissa. Dinah knew that a social worker would be visiting Clarissa and snuck out with the girl. They went to the Winter Carnival. Dinah was accused of kidnapping and found by Mallet. When Dinah angrily railed that Mallet always suspected the worst of her, he confessed how much he loved her. IN 2007 Dinah was offered her own television show “Find Your Light”. Soon a man from Mallet’s past named Griggs arrived and demanded that Mallet kill Matt. Griggs got the upper hand and was about to shoot Mallet when Dinah stepped in the way of the bullet. Dinah’s head injury left her confused and she began trouble with her memory. Dinah kept the true extent of her condition a secret from Mallet. Dinah and Matt grew closer as she felt like damaged goods to Mallet. Vanessa and Mallet were both highly concerned with Dinah’s well being and irresponsible behavior. Angered that Mallet was treating her like a child, Dinah returned her wedding ring and she and Matt ended up making love. Mallet and Dinah would eventually divorce and he moved on to Marina (Zzzz…). Fast forward to 2008 and Dinah was in Europe looking for redemption and found it in Shayne Lewis. Wounded and broken, Dinah got him to let his guard down. Shayne invited Dinah to the Lewis’s for Christmas. And they rang in the New Year together. Dinah and Shayne grew closer and they eventually got married. Unfortunately, Dinah’s happiness was short-lived. She had killed Edmund’s look-alike in defense of Mallet and Marina’s child and had to leave Springfield, and Shayne behind. At the end of the show it was implied that Mallet and Dinah met up in Europe a year later and were together. Gina Tognoni was a great Dinah recast. She came on the scene with that same Dinah fire but gradually balanced it with some vulnerability. Dinah’s relationship with Mallet was a large portion of her character from this period. And I was initially a big fan until after he slept with Harley, and then completely stopped being a fan after Dinah was shot. Dinah’s horror at being committed for her mental state revisited Dinah’s fear of abandonment. She felt she was damaged good, she kept repeating it and no one would hear her. And Ms. Tognoni played it to perfection. But how about Dinah and Shayne? They were last-minute gold. Shayne accepted Dinah for who she was, faults and all. I was a huge fan and felt their abrupt ending was a huge mistake on the part of the writers. Some examples of Gina Tognoni’s Dinah: Mallet and Vanessa have Dinah Committed in This clip. Dinah Meets with Griggs Here. In This clip Mallet Leaves Dinah to help Harley. This is Mallet’s Inside the Light which shows how he screwed up cheating with Harley. In this clip Shayne proposes to Dinah. She initially refuses because she “ruins everything she touches”.