Beloved ‘Days of Our Lives’ Star Bill Hayes Passes Away at Age 98, Leaves Lasting Legacy

LOS ANGELES, CA – Television icon Bill Hayes, famous for his role as Doug Williams on the long-running soap opera “Days of Our Lives,” passed away on Friday at the age of 98. Hayes portrayed the character of Doug Williams for over 50 years and 2,000 episodes, making him one of the show’s most beloved and enduring figures. His final episode aired in December 2023.

Hayes received widespread recognition for his contributions to the program, including a Lifetime Achievement Award alongside his wife and costar Susan Seaforth-Hayes at the 2018 Daytime Emmy Awards. Executive producer Ken Corday paid tribute to Hayes, stating, “I have known Bill for most of my life and he embodied the heart and soul of ‘Days of our Lives.'” Corday added that although they are grieving his loss, Hayes’s legacy will live on both on and off the screen.

Born in 1925 in Harvey, Illinois, Hayes initially pursued a career as a fighter pilot during World War II before later turning to entertainment. He began his acting career in the 1960s but gained widespread fame after joining the cast of “Days of Our Lives” in 1970.

As Doug Williams, Hayes portrayed a lounge singer and con artist who eventually reforms and settles down in the town of Salem. Notably, his character’s storyline included a romantic plotline with Bo Brady and the birth of their daughter, Hope Williams, in the 1980s.

Hayes’s portrayal of Doug Williams spanned several decades, with his initial run lasting from 1970 to 1984. He briefly left the show in the mid-1980s but returned in 1986 and later departed again in 1987. However, he made subsequent appearances on a recurring basis starting in 1999 and continued in the role until his passing.

In addition to his successful career in television, Hayes had a fruitful personal life. He was married twice, first to Mary Hobbs from 1947 to 1969, with whom he had five children. In 1974, he married Susan Seaforth Hayes, his “Days of Our Lives” co-star who played Doug’s on-screen love interest, Julie. The couple remained married until Hayes’s death, which occurred just shy of their 50th wedding anniversary.

Bill Hayes leaves behind a lasting legacy in the world of daytime television. His portrayal of Doug Williams on “Days of Our Lives” made him an iconic figure, and his contributions to the show will be remembered for years to come.