End of an Era: “Days of Our Lives” Star Bill Hayes Passes Away at 98
In a sad turn of events, Bill Hayes, a beloved figure in the world of daytime soap operas, particularly known for his role as Doug Williams on NBC’s “Days of Our Lives,” has passed away at the age of 98. Hayes’ portrayal of Doug made him a staple on the show for an impressive duration, starting in 1970, a mere five years after the soap’s inception.
Hayes not only left an indelible mark on the soap opera world but also found true love on the set. He met actress Susan Seaforth on the “Days of Our Lives” set, and their on-screen chemistry translated into a real-life romance. The couple tied the knot in 1974, a union that endured for almost five decades until Hayes’ recent passing. Their characters, Doug and Julie, mirrored their off-screen relationship, creating a captivating love story that captivated audiences.
Legacy of Love and Longevity: Doug Williams’ Impact on “Days of Our Lives”
Doug Williams, portrayed by Bill Hayes, stands as one of the longest-running characters on “Days of Our Lives.” His character’s journey was marked by resilience, facing challenges that ranged from a deranged ex-wife to explosive plot twists like an oven explosion and encounters with serial killers. Hayes’ portrayal earned him recognition, with two Daytime Emmy nominations in 1975 and 1976, showcasing his significant contribution to the soap’s success.
A Timeless Bond: Doug and Julie’s Time Magazine Cover and On-Screen Marriage
In a testament to the couple’s popularity, Bill Hayes and Susan Seaforth-Hayes, both on and off the screen, graced the cover of Time magazine in 1976. The same year, their characters Doug and Julie exchanged vows on “Days of Our Lives,” solidifying their on-screen love story. This dual celebration on Time’s cover highlighted the immense impact the couple had on the soap opera genre, becoming icons of daytime television.
Fond Remembrances from “Days of Our Lives” Executive Producer
Executive producer Ken Corday expressed deep sorrow at Bill Hayes’ passing, emphasizing his integral role in shaping the heart and soul of “Days of Our Lives.” Corday acknowledged that while the show mourns the loss of Hayes, his enduring legacy will live on through the stories told on and off the screen. The lifetime achievements award from the Daytime Emmy Awards in 2018 further attests to the profound impact that Hayes and Seaforth-Hayes had on the soap opera landscape.