News 'Days of Our Lives' Star Bill Hayes Dead at 98
'Days of Our Lives' Star Bill Hayes Dead at 98
The world of entertainment mourns the loss of a legendary figure, as news breaks of the passing of William Foster Hayes III, better known as Bill Hayes. Born on June 5, 1925, Hayes lived a remarkable life as an American actor and recording artist. While his musical prowess had already made him a household name with the chart-topping 'The Ballad of Davy Crockett' in 1955, it was his role as Doug Williams on NBC's long-running soap opera, Days of Our Lives, that endeared him to a new generation. Bill Hayes left an indelible mark on the world of entertainment, and as we reflect on his life, we remember the man who brought joy to millions through his talent and charisma.
Early Life and Diverse Career:
Bill Hayes was born in Harvey, Illinois, and his journey into the spotlight began in the late 1940s as a singer on the Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca variety show, 'Your Show of Shows.' His musical career took a soaring turn in 1955 when 'The Ballad of Davy Crockett' became a cultural phenomenon, topping the Billboard Hot 100 for an impressive five weeks. However, Hayes was not confined to the world of music; he also ventured into acting with notable roles on Broadway and in films during the 1950s.
Hayes's transition to the small screen was marked by his iconic role as Doug Williams on Days of Our Lives, a character he originated in 1970. Over the years, he became a beloved fixture on the show, leaving an indelible mark on the soap opera landscape. His character's resilience and charm resonated with audiences, earning Hayes a special place in the hearts of fans.
Days of Our Lives Legacy:
Doug Williams, introduced as a convict and lounge singer, became a staple on Days of Our Lives, captivating audiences with his compelling storylines and Hayes's charismatic portrayal. The character's journey included dramatic twists, such as being killed off in 2004, only to miraculously return, showcasing the creative genius of the show's writers and the enduring appeal of Doug Williams.
In 2017, a documentary titled 'World by the Tail' offered an intimate look at Bill Hayes's life, allowing fans to appreciate the man behind the iconic characters he brought to life on screen. Hayes continued to make appearances, including a special moment on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon in 2017, reaffirming his enduring popularity and influence in the entertainment industry.
Personal Life and Achievements:
Beyond his professional achievements, Bill Hayes was a well-rounded individual. He earned a master's degree in music from Northwestern University and a Ph.D. in education from West Virginia University, showcasing his commitment to continuous learning and personal growth.
Hayes's personal life was marked by his marriage to Mary Hobbs from 1947 to 1969, with whom he had five children. In 1974, he found love again with his Days of Our Lives co-star Susan Seaforth Hayes. The couple's enduring relationship captured the public's imagination and was featured on the cover of Time in 1976, a rare honor for soap opera stars. Their joint autobiography, 'Like Sands Through the Hourglass,' published in 2005, provided a glimpse into their love story and shared experiences.
A Lasting Legacy:
On January 12, 2024, the world bid farewell to Bill Hayes as he passed away at the age of 98. His contributions to the entertainment industry were celebrated with numerous awards and nominations, including a Daytime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Actor in a Daytime Drama Series in 1975 and 1976.
In recognition of his impact on musical theater, the National Association of Teachers of Singing established the Bill Hayes Prize in Musical Theater in 2016. Furthermore, in 2018, the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences honored Bill Hayes and Susan Seaforth Hayes with Lifetime Achievement Awards at the 45th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards.
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