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Farewell to a Screen Legend: Bill Hayes

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Renowned Days of Our Lives actor Bill Hayes has passed away at 98 years old. Best known for his portrayal of Doug Williams on the enduring soap opera, Hayes departed from this life on January 12, 2024, surrounded by his loving family. Details concerning the cause of his death are yet to be disclosed.

A Journey from Music to Acting

Born as William Foster Hayes III in Harvey, Illinois, in 1925, Hayes first tasted success as a musician with his hit, "The Ballad of Davy Crockett." Nevertheless, he soon shifted his focus to acting, landing his most distinguished role on NBC's Days of Our Lives in 1970. His character, Doug Williams, was a convict-turned-lounge singer. Hayes depicted Doug intermittently over the next 50 years, until 2023.

Love on and off the Screen

Hayes didn't only encounter professional triumph on Days of Our Lives, but he also discovered love. He met his wife, actress Susan Seaforth Hayes, while filming the series. Seaforth Hayes, who joined the daytime soap two years prior to Hayes, played the character of Julie Williams. Their on-screen romance developed into a real-life relationship, culminating in their marriage in 1974. The couple's characters also wed on the show, with their wedding becoming a prominent feature on the cover of Time magazine in 1976.

A Notable and Diverse Career

Hayes's illustrious career extended beyond Days of Our Lives. He made multiple appearances on The Tonight Show and starred in Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific on Broadway. He also recorded "The Ballad of Davy Crockett," which topped the Billboard charts in 1955.

Looking back, Hayes took great pride in his career achievements, but his ultimate joy was derived from his family. A father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, Hayes had five children from a prior marriage.

An Unforgettable Legacy

Hayes's impact on Days of Our Lives and the television industry is immeasurable. His portrayal of Doug Williams established him as one of the longest-running cast members on the show, captivating audiences for decades with his on-screen chemistry with Seaforth Hayes. Both Hayes and Seaforth Hayes were honored with Lifetime Achievement Awards at the 2018 Daytime Emmys in acknowledgment of their contributions to the genre.

Ken Corday, executive producer, saluted Hayes, affirming that he was the heart and soul of Days of Our Lives. Though Hayes's presence will be profoundly missed, his legacy endures in the hearts of his fans and the narratives told on and off the screen.

A Lasting Impact

The passing of Bill Hayes signifies the end of an era for Days of Our Lives. However, the show's enduring popularity and rich history ensure that his contributions will be remembered. As fans grieve the loss of this beloved actor, they can find comfort in the fact that his performances will continue to bring joy and entertainment to audiences worldwide.

Bill Hayes leaves behind a legacy of talent, dedication, and love. His impact on Days of Our Lives and the entertainment industry will not be forgotten. As we commemorate his life and mourn his loss, we can find solace in the memories he created and the joy he brought to millions of fans.

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