Beloved ‘Days of Our Lives’ Soap Star Bill Hayes Dies at 98

Los Angeles, California – Beloved soap star Bill Hayes, known for his role on “Days of Our Lives,” has passed away at the age of 98. Hayes, who originated the role of Doug Williams in 1970 and portrayed him throughout his life, died on Friday, although the cause of death has not been disclosed. His extensive career and enduring portrayal of Doug Williams made him a key figure in the soap opera world.

Hayes, alongside his wife Susan Seaforth-Hayes, also known as Julie Olsen Banning Anderson Williams in the show, formed the foundation of the Williams-Horton family for over 50 years. Ken Corday, the executive producer of “Days of Our Lives,” expressed his grief at Hayes’ passing but emphasized that his legacy will endure in both the hearts of the show’s fans and the stories told on and off the screen.

In addition to his work on “Days of Our Lives,” Hayes showcased his remarkable talent as a singer and performer. He gained fame for his hit song “The Ballad of Davy Crockett” in 1955 and starred as Sid Caesar on the variety program “Your Show of Shows.” Hayes joined the cast of “Days of Our Lives” in 1970, with his future wife joining him on the show 15 months later.

Hayes and Seaforth-Hayes tied the knot in a small ceremony in 1974 but experienced tremendous popularity when their characters exchanged vows on the show in 1976. The couple left the show in 1984 but made occasional returns, including after the soap opera moved to the Peacock streaming service.

Throughout his career, Hayes received recognition for his talent, earning two Daytime Emmy nominations in 1975 and 1976. In 2018, he was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Daytime Emmys.

Prior to his acting career, Hayes started as an NBC radio host and became known as a pitchman for Oldsmobile. He showcased his singing talents in commercials, even appearing alongside Florence Henderson from “The Brady Bunch.” Hayes’s diverse television and movie credits include shows like “Matlock,” “Hooperman,” “Cop Rock,” and “Stop! You’re Killing Me,” as well as appearances on Broadway.

Last June, Hayes celebrated his 98th birthday in the company of his wife and fellow “Days of Our Lives” cast members, who surprised him with a cake and a song. He is survived by Seaforth-Hayes, five children, 12 grandchildren, and 27 great-grandchildren.

Bill Hayes will be remembered as a cherished soap star and a key figure in the world of daytime television. His contributions to the entertainment industry and his talent as an actor and singer have left an indelible mark. His legacy will continue through the lasting impact he made on the hearts of fans and the stories he brought to life for more than five decades.