In a somber turn of events, we bid farewell to a true icon of the silver screen. Bill Hayes, the legendary actor who graced our screens for decades as Doug Williams on the enduring soap opera ‘Days of Our Lives,’ has peacefully passed away at the remarkable age of 98, as reported by People magazine.
For over half a century, Hayes breathed life into the character of Doug Williams, etching his name in the annals of television history. It was a role that became synonymous with the Williams-Horton family, a cornerstone of the show’s enduring legacy.
A spokesperson for the series broke the heart-wrenching news, stating, “With heavy hearts, we share the loss of our dear Bill Hayes. He originated the role of ‘Doug Williams’ in 1970 and portrayed him without interruption throughout his lifetime.”
A Central Figure in Television History
Ken Corday, the executive producer of ‘Days of Our Lives,’ fondly remembered Hayes as a central figure in the show’s rich tapestry. Corday reflected, “Bill was not just an actor; he embodied the heart and soul of ‘Days of Our Lives.’ Though we grieve and will miss him immensely, Bill’s indomitable legacy will thrive in our hearts and the tales we continue to weave, both on and off the screen.”
Bill Hayes celebrated his remarkable 98th birthday last summer, surrounded by his fellow cast members on the set. The celebration was marked with a personalized cake adorned with a youthful photograph of the actor and the heartfelt inscription, “Happy Birthday Bill.”
Joining in the celebration was his beloved wife, Susan Seaforth-Hayes, herself a luminary in the world of television. The couple shared a poignant moment during the festivities, as Susan shared the remarkable fact that Bill Hayes was the first person to ever sing on daytime television—a historic milestone in the medium’s history. As the cast and crew serenaded him with “Happy Birthday,” it was a testament to the love and respect he commanded from his peers.
The heartfelt tribute was shared with fans through a touching video posted on the couple’s joint Instagram account, expressing gratitude to the ‘Days of Our Lives’ family for commemorating Hayes’ 98th birthday on the very set that had become his second home.
A Legacy That Transcends Screens
In 2018, Bill Hayes received the Daytime Emmy’s Lifetime Achievement Award, a fitting recognition of his exceptional portrayal of Doug Williams on ‘Days of Our Lives.’ But his contributions extended beyond the screen, as it was on the set of the show that he first crossed paths with Susan Seaforth-Hayes. What began as an on-screen kiss in July 1970 blossomed into a real-life romance, culminating in their marriage in October 1974. To honor their love, the couple had a second wedding, mirroring their television counterparts, on October 1, 1976.
Bill Hayes leaves behind a loving legacy that will be treasured by fans and colleagues alike. His son, William Foster Hayes IV, carries forward the torch of his father’s remarkable acting legacy.
As we bid adieu to this beloved star, we reflect on the indelible mark he left on ‘Days of Our Lives’ and the hearts of millions of viewers worldwide. Bill Hayes, a true icon, will forever remain in our memories and on our screens.