Breaking News: Remembering TV legend Bill Hayes, known for his iconic role as Doug Williams in ‘Days of Our Lives,’ who has passed away at 98.
Television icon Bill Hayes, renowned for his longstanding role as Doug Williams on NBC’s classic soap opera “Days of Our Lives,” passed away on Friday at 98.
His portrayal of Doug Williams, which began in 1970, just five years after the show’s debut, marked him as a central figure in the heart of daytime television.
Hayes’ journey in the fictional town of Salem, Illinois, was intertwined with his real-life romance.
He met actress Susan Seaforth on the set of “Days of Our Lives.” Their on-screen and off-screen relationships blossomed parallel, leading to their marriage in 1974.
This romantic tale captivated millions and was celebrated in a 1976 Time magazine cover story, showcasing the couple and the soaring popularity of daytime soap operas.
Ken Corday, the show’s executive producer, paid homage to Hayes: “I have known Bill for most of my life, and he embodied the heart and soul of ‘Days of Our Lives.’ His indelible legacy will live on in our hearts and the stories we tell on and off the screen.”
Bill Hayes’ career spanned the early days of network TV, beginning in 1949.
He debuted on Broadway in 1953 in the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical “Me and Juliet.”
He also succeeded as a singer, notably with his 1956 pop hit “The Ballad of Davy Crockett.”
The role of Doug Williams, a formerly imprisoned con artist turned nightclub singer, became a perfect fit for Hayes, who by 1970 was a divorced father of five.
After briefly departing from “Days” in the 1980s, he and Seaforth Hayes returned to the series in 2003, reinvigorating their characters and thrilling long-time fans.