Bill Hayes, a longtime star of the NBC soap opera Days Of Our Lives, passed away Friday at the age of 98.
Hayes’ long career on the show dates back to 1970, five years after the show debuted on NBC, when he signed on for the role of Doug Williams. He would eventually meet his real-life wife, actress Susan Seaforth, while working on the series.
Hayes and Seaforth were married in 1974. Two years later, their characters were married in the show’s universe, with both becoming staples on the show. The couple was featured on the cover of Time magazine that same year for a feature on the popularity of daytime soap operas.
“I have known Bill for most of my life and he embodied the heart and soul of ‘Days of our Lives,’ ” said executive producer Ken Corday. “Although we are grieving and will miss him, Bill’s indelible legacy will live on in our hearts and the stories we tell, both on and off the screen.”
Hayes’ character was one of longest-running characters on the show, which is now produced by Sony Pictures TV.
A high point of his career came in the mid 1970’s, when he collected two Daytime Emmy Awards in 1975 and 1976. Both Hayes and Seaforth were most recently presented with lifetime achievement awards at the Daytime Emmy Awards ceremony in 2018.
Prior to joining the Days Of Our Lives cast, Hayes began his acting career in 1949, when he starred on the network television program Fireball Fun-For-All. He would go on to star in a number of musicals and Broadway shows in the following decade and briefly enjoyed a successful singing career as well.