Remembering Bill Hayes: ‘Days Of Our Lives’ Star And Soap Opera Legend Passes Away At 98


Renowned actor and singer Bill Hayes, famous for his role on NBC’s “Days of Our Lives,” has sadly passed away at the age of 98, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter.


Soap Opera Legend and No. 1 Hit

"Bill Hayes, renowned 'Days of Our Lives' actor, dies at 98. Explore his iconic career, enduring love with Susan Seaforth Hayes, and the legacy he leaves behind."

Before becoming a soap opera legend, Bill Hayes was a regular on Sid Caesar’s acclaimed live TV variety program, “Your Show of Shows.” In 1955, he achieved nationwide success with the No. 1 song in America, “The Ballad of Davy Crockett.”

Doug Williams and Julie Olsen Banning Anderson Williams

Joining “Days of Our Lives” in February 1970, Hayes portrayed con artist/lounge singer Doug Williams. His real-life wife, Susan Seaforth Hayes, who played Julie Olsen Banning Anderson Williams, had joined the show 15 months earlier. The on-screen couple’s wedding episode, aired on October 1, 1976, garnered a massive audience of 16 million viewers.


Soap Opera Royalty

Doug and Julie became the first soap stars to grace the cover of Time magazine on January 12, 1976, with the cover line: “Soap Operas: Sex and Suffering in the Afternoon.” Despite a temporary departure from the show in 1984, the couple continued to captivate audiences for decades, even making their way to Peacock when the show shifted there in September 2022.

A Life Beyond the Soap

Bill Hayes led a diverse career, from his early days on Broadway to performing in vaudeville-style productions. His hit song, “The Ballad of Davy Crockett,” sold over 4 million copies, and he later toured with the national production of “Bye Bye Birdie.” Despite initial reservations, Hayes joined “Days of Our Lives” and left an indelible mark on the soap opera genre.


A Lasting Legacy

In a statement, the show’s executive producer, Ken Corday, shared, “I have known Bill for most of my life, and he embodied the heart and soul of Days of Our Lives. 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.”

An Extraordinary Life

Born on June 5, 1925, in Harvey, Illinois, Bill Hayes served in the Navy Air Corps and graduated from DePauw University in 1947. He leaves behind a remarkable legacy, having received a lifetime achievement award at the Daytime Emmys in 2018.

Beyond Acting

In addition to his acting career, Bill Hayes and Susan Seaforth Hayes co-authored a joint autobiography, “Like Sands Through the Hourglass,” in 2005. They also wrote a book of historical fiction, “Trumpet,” in 2012, and launched the website in 2021.

Family and Friends Mourn

Survived by his wife, Susan Seaforth Hayes, Bill Hayes is also remembered by their five children, 12 grandchildren, and 27 great-grandchildren. His contributions to the entertainment industry and his impact on the hearts of viewers will be cherished for years to come.

In Memoriam

The Hollywood Reporter extends its condolences to the family and friends of Bill Hayes, a true icon of television and a beloved figure in the entertainment world.

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