Renowned actor Bill Hayes, famous for portraying Doug Williams on NBC’s beloved soap opera Days of Our Lives, peacefully departed on Friday in Los Angeles at the age of 98. With a career spanning over six decades and over 2,000 episodes on the show, Hayes leaves behind an indelible legacy that will be cherished by fans.
Days of Our Lives executive producer Ken Corday shared his heartfelt sentiments, expressing deep sorrow over the loss of a longtime friend. Corday acknowledged Hayes’s profound impact on the show, stating, “Although we are grieving and will miss him, [Hayes’s] indelible legacy will live on in our hearts and the stories we tell, both on and off the screen.”
Rest in peace our beautiful Bill. Thank you for all the joy you brought to so many of us in your wonderful career. You will always be in our hearts forever. We love you. #BillHayes #Days #DaysofourLives #DOOL pic.twitter.com/gDYnc7MeU0
— 𝘈𝘯𝘨𝘪𝘦 (@Evangelia1111) January 13, 2024
Hayes, born in 1925 in Harvey, Illinois, served in the Navy Air Corps during World War II. After earning his degree in music and English from DePauw University in 1947, he embarked on an entertainment career that led to a notable role in the vaudeville-style production Funzapoppin and a five-year stint on NBC’s Your Show of Shows.
The actor achieved record-breaking success with “The Ballad of Davy Crockett,” a song that topped the Billboard Hot 100 for five consecutive weeks. Despite initial reservations about joining a soap opera, Hayes took on the role of Doug Williams in Days of Our Lives in 1970, becoming an integral part of the show’s history.
Beyond his soap opera success, Hayes made notable contributions to Broadway and film, including a role in Otto Preminger’s 1963 film The Cardinal. His personal and professional life intertwined when he married Susan Seaforth Hayes, who portrayed Julie on Days of Our Lives, in 1974. The couple’s on-air wedding mirrored their real-life celebration in 1976.
Honored with a Daytime Emmy Awards Lifetime Achievement award in 2018, Bill Hayes celebrated nearly 50 years of marriage with Susan Seaforth Hayes. Before his marriage to Susan, Hayes was previously married to Mary Hobbs, with whom he had five children.
As we bid farewell to a legendary actor, Bill Hayes’s contributions to the world of entertainment and his enduring legacy will be remembered with gratitude and admiration. May he rest in peace.