In a somber moment for the entertainment world, Hollywood mourns the loss of veteran actor Bill Hayes, renowned for his portrayal of Doug Williams on the iconic soap opera “Days of Our Lives.” The actor, who graced the screen for over 50 years, passed away at the age of 98. The announcement was made by the show’s representatives on Friday, leaving fans and colleagues in heartfelt grief.
A Legacy of Love and Longevity:
Bill Hayes, the longest-running character on “Days of Our Lives,” began his role as Doug Williams in 1970 and concluded his remarkable stint in 2023. Throughout his tenure, he filmed an impressive 2141 episodes and shared the screen with his real-life wife, Susan Seaforth-Hayes. The couple’s on-screen romance mirrored their off-screen love, as they remained a steadfast presence in the Williams-Horton family for over five decades.
Bill Hayes is survived by his wife, Susan Seaforth-Hayes, and their son, William Foster Hayes. The show’s executive producer, Ken Corday, expressed his sorrow, stating, “I have known Bill for most of my life, and he embodied the heart and soul of ‘Days of Our Lives.'” Corday acknowledged the grief felt by the cast and crew but emphasized that Bill’s enduring legacy would live on in the hearts of fans and the stories they continue to tell.
A Lifetime of Achievements:
Bill and Susan, both legends in daytime television, captivated audiences with their on-screen chemistry. The couple’s popularity reached new heights, earning them the distinction of being the first soap opera actors to grace the cover of Time Magazine in the 1970s. In 2018, they were honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Daytime Emmys, a testament to their significant contributions to the world of soap operas.
A Storied Life:
Born William Foster Hayes III in Harvey, Illinois, on June 5, 1925, Hayes’s journey to stardom included a brief stint in the Navy Air Corps during World War II. Opting for civilian life after the war, he went on to make his mark on Broadway, film, and television. His first marriage to Mary Hobbs lasted from 1947 to 1969, and together, they raised five children.
As Hollywood bids farewell to a true icon, Bill Hayes leaves behind a legacy of love, dedication, and a remarkable contribution to the world of soap operas. His impact on “Days of Our Lives” and the entertainment industry as a whole will be remembered for generations to come.
Bill Hayes: A Life Well-Lived in Hollywood
Bill Hayes, born on June 5, 1925, is a name that resonates through the corridors of Hollywood, not just for his enduring career but also for the love story he shares with his wife, Susan Seaforth Hayes. Let’s take a closer look at the life and times of this versatile actor, singer, and author.
Early Life and Career: Bill Hayes’ journey began in the mid-20th century when he stepped into the world of entertainment. His golden voice took him to the top of the charts with the iconic hit “The Ballad of Davy Crockett,” reaching No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1955. But Hayes wasn’t just a singer; he seamlessly transitioned into acting, making a significant mark in the soap opera universe.
The Days of Our Lives: Bill Hayes is most recognized for his role as Doug Williams in the long-running soap opera “Days of Our Lives.” Portraying Doug made him a beloved figure in households across America. The character’s charm, coupled with Hayes’ genuine talent, cemented his place in the hearts of soap opera enthusiasts. His on-screen chemistry with Susan Seaforth Hayes, who played Julie Williams, added a layer of magic to the show.
A Love Story for the Ages: Off-screen, Bill Hayes shares a remarkable love story with Susan Seaforth Hayes. The couple, married on October 12, 1974, is an enduring symbol of love and partnership in the tumultuous world of Hollywood. Their journey together has not only stood the test of time but has also enriched the soap opera landscape, as they became one of the most beloved couples both on and off-screen.
Family Ties: Bill and Susan have been blessed with a family that complements their joyous journey. As of my last knowledge update in January 2022, they have two children. The family dynamic adds a personal touch to Bill’s illustrious career, showcasing that, even in the spotlight, a strong family foundation is invaluable.
Net Worth: As of 2023, Bill Hayes boasts an estimated combined net worth of $25 million with his wife Susan Hayes. This substantial sum stands as a testament to their enduring and prosperous careers in the entertainment industry.
Beyond the Screens: Bill Hayes isn’t just a man of the stage and screen; he’s also an accomplished author. His memoir, “Like Sands Through the Hourglass,” takes readers on a reflective journey through his life and career. It offers insights into the person behind the roles and melodies, making him more than just a Hollywood figure but a storyteller in his own right.
Legacy and Impact: The legacy of Bill Hayes and Susan Seaforth Hayes extends beyond the glitz of Hollywood. Their enduring love story, professional collaborations, and contributions to the soap opera genre have left an indelible mark. As icons of daytime television, they continue to be celebrated not only by long-time fans but also by a new generation captivated by their timeless charm.