I've been playing D&D for a good long time now and haven't had all that many PCs of my own as I am very often happily the DM. It's fun to look back and recall who I played.
My first PC I can recall was a Dwarf rolled and played with the original basic set. I can't recall his name, it was a long time ago. He got killed and raised a couple of times via DM fiat (or possibly we had a few other books floating about by then). It was mostly solo adventuring and building up a small army of dwarves for him to lead. Last he was seen he had taken over a tower from the ever-present evil wizard and was using it as a base of operations to take over a nearby mine.(79-81)
The summer following my move from shabby satellite city to semi-rural suburbia I got involved in a D&D group organized by the school system. We switched off DM and charters moved from adventure to adventure with no real over-arching campaign. My PC was Arfrand the Elf (rolled up with second version of basic) and was the only character to survive from the 1st session until the last. He was nothing special stat-wise but was always trying crazy stunts but didn't hog the lime-light. The biggest memory I have of those days is his being the only fighting type to survive one really horrible battle by being able to move fast enough to run away he, the thief and the M/U in the party survived because their move rates were 90 or better, for some reason all the other fighter types and cleric in the party had moves of 60 or less and were doomed when conditions went against us, after that only the occasional fighter type wore plate in that group. Arfrand lasted two semesters of school and a summer break. (81)
Next Braddoc Bai-din. A fighter with 18/something strength and a high charisma who favored two handed swords. We played using Holmes basic, a couple of the early supplements(greyhawk, balkmoor) and a Monster Manual. Braddoc was the bastard son of a mid-power Daimyo of an invading Samurai Empire that was taking over the typical medieval/celtic D&D realm. In time he got recognized as an heir, his father was disgraced, Braddoc got revenge and started to cut his own kingdom out of the empire and bordering territories. Somewhere along the lines he got this really munchkin dragon tattoo that would allow him to summon a dragon once a day by sacrificing HP to get a dragon with that many HP. I liked Braddoc and he'd make reappearances over the years that followed and I'd usually tasteful ignore the tattoo other then mentioning how cool it looked.(81-90)
Next PC was Milo Underroot (called "My He's Underfoot" by some of the other players). He started out as a straight halfling and somehow morphed into a fighter/thief by a random combination of rulebooks. He adventured through some of the old modules with his companions in a campaign that centered around the keep on the border lands long after we had cleared out the Caves of Chaos. He eventually retired after building an Inn on the road leading to the keep and started a carriage company to run services between the two cities that were at either end of the road in that game. I revisited that DMs campaign years later, Milo had long since passed on but the Inn and carriage company had remained part of he setting.(83-86)
Shadow Blade started as a companion to Braddoc in a brief couple week long campaign using the UA rules. He started as a Drow MU/Thief and by player and DM fiat dropped the Drowness at some point. He was an acrobatic swashbuckling thief that only used his spells sparingly, sometimes folks were surprised to learn he knew how to cast spells at all. Shadow Blade lasted for years got a new buddy PC and eventually got passed on to another player so that fellow could play in a campaign I was DMing.(86-94)
Next was Furde the fearsome. Furde was a big northern fighter who liked stealing stuff. His lock picking technique involved bashing open doors and locked chests with a big mace or hammer sure some potions were lost but it worked most of the time. Furde made frequent appearances with Shadow Blade over the years and he just like Shadow Blade was passed on to another player; they both died in "THE GREAT TPK" sometime in the early -mid 90's. (87-94)
My next D&D character was Tinmifallen Addergapst a half-elf Bard usig Second Edition AD&D. Imagine bugsbunny mixed with the grey mouser and it's about right for Tinmifallen. He almost got himself killed and me the player beaten when he walked right to the gates of the big baddies castle and pretended he was a slaver being chased by a party of adventurers (the rest of the party), we got in ran amuck and won the day so hey no harm right, so what if they all had to escape from the prison cells first. We had a hiatus in that campaign and I lost the character sheet during the break...i found him shoved in an odd game box years later, I think it was sabotague by a fellow player.(91-93)
Following my bard was Min a female Halfling Fighter (2nd ed). she had the highest strength possible for her race and gender and used the biggest mace she could manage. She was a little crazy almost a halfling berserk, she liked flirting with gnomes and couldn't stand wimpy soft male halflings. She eventually died defending the parties retreat. (97)
I had a Fighter/Sorceror in a long running on and off 3.0 game. I don't' recall his name, pretty sad as he's my last most recent regular D&D character. He was careful and liked dynamic tactical options. He carried a +1 sword made one of the parties wizards as soon as that fellow was bale to manufacture it, that wizard died but my PC insisted on carrying it into battle ever after as a tribute to his fallen companion. We moved from non-descript fantasy to crazy city of mages and onto the Legend of the Five Rings setting. I think he only died once and was raised. (00-04)
I've played a great many one-shot and very short lived campaign over the years so I've played more then those mentioned above but those were the PCs I recall the most and used the longest while playing D&D in one form or another. I playd in a number of camaigns where we statered out with name level charcetr sand soem of those were certainyl fun but not the same thing to me, I like my charcters to start week and become strong. Seems I like tactical gimmicks for my PCs. Braddoc liked jumping on things, sahdowbalde got the most out of acrobtics and backstab I could, Arfrand was as advneturous as someone with no outsandign score possibly could be. I think it is funny I can't recall the name of the most recent PC might say something about that version of the rules.