Bill Hayes, celebrated for his iconic portrayal of Doug Williams on the beloved soap opera series “Days Of Our Lives,” has left us at the age of 98. The somber news of the veteran actor’s passing was officially confirmed in a statement provided to TVLine on a Friday, although the precise cause of his death remains undisclosed.
Bill Hayes, who marked his 98th birthday on the set of the show he so adored, was a fixture on “Days Of Our Lives,” leaving an indelible mark on the long-running series. He originated the role of Doug Williams in 1970 and depicted this beloved character consistently throughout his lifetime.
The bond between Bill Hayes and his real-life wife and co-star, Susan Seaforth Hayes, was nothing short of legendary. They were described as the cornerstone of the Williams-Horton family, a testament to their enduring on-screen and off-screen chemistry.
Ken Corday, the executive producer of “Days Of Our Lives,” paid tribute to Hayes, acknowledging that Bill had been an integral part of the show’s heart and soul for many years. He went on to express the profound impact that Hayes’ legacy would have, both within the show and beyond.
“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,” Corday shared.
Bill Hayes, born as William Foster Hayes III on June 5, 1925, in Harvey, Illinois, had a life filled with remarkable achievements. He joined the Navy Air Corps in 1943 during his time at DePauw University, where he trained as a fighter pilot for over two years. His military service was during World War II, and it concluded just as he was about to be deployed for active duty.
Following his military service, Hayes pursued academic excellence, obtaining Bachelor of Arts degrees in both music and English. In 1998, he achieved a doctoral degree from West Virginia University, further showcasing his intellectual prowess.
Hayes’ personal life included a marriage to Mary Hobbs from 1947 to 1969, during which they welcomed five children. His life took a unique turn when he met Susan Seaforth Hayes, who portrayed Julie Olson Williams on “Days Of Our Lives,” on the set of the soap opera. In 1974, they embarked on a new chapter together by tying the knot.
Bill Hayes left an indelible mark on “Days Of Our Lives,” consistently portraying Doug Williams from 1970 until 1984, and then again from 1986 until 1987. He continued to make periodic appearances as the character throughout the subsequent decades, further solidifying his status as a beloved figure in the soap opera world.
Over the course of his career, Hayes received two separate nominations for the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, a testament to his exceptional talent and dedication to his craft.
Beyond the realm of acting, Bill Hayes delved into music, recording a version of “The Ballad of Davy Crockett” in 1955, which garnered widespread popularity. His musical talents were yet another facet of his multifaceted career.
In 2017, a documentary titled “World by the Tail” offered viewers a glimpse into the life and journey of Bill Hayes, allowing fans and admirers to gain a deeper understanding of the man behind the iconic characters he portrayed.
Bill Hayes’ passing marks the end of an era, not only for the world of soap operas but also for the entertainment industry as a whole. His legacy, filled with memorable performances and contributions, will continue to resonate with generations of fans, reminding us of the enduring power of storytelling and the profound impact of a talented actor like Bill Hayes.