Bill Hayes, the revered star of the long-running soap opera “Days of Our Lives,” passed away at the age of 98. Hayes, who was born on June 5, 1925, in Harvey, Illinois, is best remembered for his portrayal of Doug Williams, a character he brought to life for over five decades. His journey with “Days of Our Lives” began in 1970, and he remained an integral part of the show, appearing in more than 2,000 episodes until December 2023.
Hayes’ early life was marked by his service in the Navy Air Corps during World War II. Following his military service, he pursued higher education at DePauw University, where he studied English and Music. Hayes’ career in entertainment began in the early 1950s as a singer, achieving popularity with his rendition of “The Ballad of Davy Crockett.” His transition to acting in the 1960s led him to his most notable role in “Days of Our Lives” in 1970.
The character of Doug Williams was initially introduced as a lounge singer and con artist named Brent, who later becomes a beloved figure in the show. Hayes’ portrayal of Doug Williams, alongside his on and off-screen wife Susan Seaforth-Hayes, who played Julie, Doug’s wife, became a cornerstone of the series. The couple’s contribution to the show was acknowledged with Lifetime Achievement Awards at the Daytime Emmy Awards in 2018.
Hayes’ first marriage was to Mary Hobbs, with whom he had five children. He later married Susan Seaforth in 1974, and they remained together until his passing, just shy of their 50th wedding anniversary.
Colleagues and fans alike have paid tribute to Hayes, remembering him as a kind and talented individual who left a lasting impression. His passing is mourned not only by his family and co-stars but also by fans who grew up watching him on “Days of Our Lives.”
Hayes’ legacy in television, especially in the world of soap operas, is indelible, leaving behind a rich history of performances that have touched the hearts of many. His contributions to “Days of Our Lives” and the broader entertainment industry will be remembered for generations to come.