In a poignant and heartfelt moment for soap opera fans worldwide, the legendary US actor Bill Hayes, renowned for his remarkable portrayal of Doug Williams on the long-running soap opera “Days of Our Lives,” has bid us farewell at the impressive age of 98. The news of his passing, which left the world of entertainment in mourning, was confirmed by his agent on a somber Friday, with the beloved actor surrounded by his family.
Born William Foster Hayes III in Harvey, Illinois, in 1925, Bill Hayes initially embarked on a musical journey and enjoyed a taste of fame with his hit song, “The Ballad of Davy Crockett.” However, fate had other plans for him, leading him toward a path that would forever etch his name in television history.
It was in February 1970 when Bill Hayes took on the iconic role of Doug Williams in NBC’s “Days of Our Lives.” At that time, he played a convict who was also a lounge singer, captivating viewers with his incredible talent and charisma. Little did he know that this role would become his enduring legacy, spanning an astonishing five decades, all the way up to 2023.
What makes Bill Hayes’ story even more remarkable is the heartwarming love story that unfolded both on and off-screen. While working on the soap opera, he had the chance to meet and share the screen with the talented actress Susan Seaforth Hayes. Their on-screen chemistry was undeniable, and as destiny would have it, their romance transcended the fictional world.
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In 1974, Bill Hayes and Susan Seaforth Hayes exchanged vows in real life, sealing their love and commitment to each other. This was not the end of their journey together; their characters, Doug Williams and Julie Williams, also said “I do” on television, making their love story a cherished part of soap opera history. Their on-screen and real-life chemistry was so captivating that they even graced the cover of Time magazine in a testament to their popularity.
Throughout their careers, Bill Hayes and Susan Seaforth Hayes made significant contributions to the world of daytime television. In 2018, they were honored with the Daytime Emmys Lifetime Achievement Awards, a well-deserved recognition of their immense talent and dedication.
Bill Hayes’ legacy extends beyond his acting career. He was a loving father to five children from a previous marriage to Mary Hobbs, showing the world that his talents were not limited to the screen but also shone brightly in his role as a family man.
While the world mourns the loss of a true television icon, we remember Bill Hayes for his enduring talent, his captivating on-screen presence, and the love story that captured the hearts of millions. As we say goodbye to this legendary actor, one question remains unanswered – the cause of his passing, which has not been revealed at this time. Nonetheless, his memory and legacy will forever live on in the hearts of fans and the annals of television history.