'Days of Our Lives' Mainstay Bill Hayes Dead at 98

The daytime fixture remained on the show into the streaming era.

Actor and singer Bill Hayes has died. He is best known as a longtime star of Days of Our Lives, where he made an impact with audiences alongside his real-life wife Susan Seaforth Hayes, Bill Hayes passed on Friday in Los Angeles.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, a rep for the star confirmed his passing and his age. He was 98.

Before his breakthrough on daytime TV and the world of soap operas, Hayes started as a regular on Your Show of Shows with Sid Caesar. He also had a top hit in 1955, hitting no. 1 across the U.S. with "The Ballad of Davy Crockett." He also enjoyed a stage act with Florence Henderson known as The Singing Sweethearts, while also adding some commercial work signing about Oldsmobiles.

By 1970 he joined Days of Our Lives as con artist and lounge singer Doug Williams in February of the year. Seaforth Hayes joined the show 15 months earlier as heiress Julie Olsen Banning Anderson Williams. They wed on Oct. 12, 1974, and soon their characters followed suit, having their first of three weddings on Oct. 1, 1976.

"In 1974, Susan and I got married in my living room with 16 people," Hayes said at the time. "In 1976, when Doug and Julie got married, we had 16 million people."

The couple would become the only soap opera couple to ever grace the cover of Time magazine, only shortly before they decided to leave the show over storyline disputes, beginning an era from 1984 through 2022 where Hayes and his wife would leave and return from the series. The couple received a lifetime achievement award at the Daytime Emmys in 2018, with Seaforth Hayes showering her husband with praise on stage, much like many others are doing today.

"I have known Bill for most of my life, and he embodied the heart and soul of Days of Our Lives," Executive producer Ken Corday said. "lthough 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."

Hayes is survived by his wife, their five children, 12 grandchildren and 27 great-grandchildren. Rest in peace.