Bill Hayes Obituary: A Life Beyond Salem(1925 – 2024)


Bill Hayes Obituary

Bill Hayes was one of the greatest actors of all time and will be mourned by millions who knew and followed his iconic portrayal of Doug Williams on “Days of Our Lives.” With his passing comes the end of an era.

Hayes’ life, however, was far more prosperous than just that of Salem. He was a singer, fighter pilot, husband, father, and friend whose warmth and humor touched everyone he encountered.

Bill Hayes Obituary

From Hit Singer to TV Icon

William Foster Hayes III’s life predated Hollywood fame. Raised in Harvey, Illinois, and trained as a fighter pilot during World War II before turning his passion for music at DePauw University into an academic study and recording contract – in 1955, his rendition of the Ballad of Davy Crockett made national news headlines and propelled him into national recognition.

Hayes had an innate talent for acting. Over time, he gradually found roles in movies and television shows before finally finding his true calling in 1970 when he was cast as Doug Williams on “Days of Our Lives.” Though initially intended as a temporary part, Doug became instantly popular. Hayes brought to Doug an authentic charm and relatability that transcended daytime drama conventions.

A Love Story for the Ages

Hayes found both professional success and romantic happiness on the set of “Days of Our Lives.” In 1972, he met Susan Seaforth (Jennifer Horton in-show). Their chemistry was undeniable on-screen and off, leading them quickly into marriage after just over five decades, resembling their on-screen romance on Salem’s ever-evolving landscape.

Their 51-year marriage testified to their undying devotion, weathering fictional scandals as they raised two children together. Susan stood by Hayes’ side through his health challenges in later life; her love was an unwavering source of strength and inspiration.

A Legacy of Laughter and Love

Hayes is undeniably one of the most significant contributors to “Days of Our Lives.” As its longest-running character, he appears in over 2,000 episodes. His dedication and passion were infectious, inspiring generations of actors and writers – but beyond awards and accolades, his true legacy lies in all of the hearts he touched with humor, kindness, and unfaltering optimism.

His portrayal of Doug Williams transcended soap opera convention, becoming an embodiment of resilience, family values, and the enduring strength of love. We laughed, wept, and believed in an optimistic resolution even when life outside Salem presented unexpected obstacles.

Remembering Bill Hayes

Bill Hayes was a legendary figure in daytime television, yet he was always humble and never forgot his roots. A war hero himself, Bill was also a devoted husband and father as well as a friend to all. While his passing leaves millions grieving his absence, his memory will live on in laughter and tears inspired by his work, lessons taught, and love shared worldwide.

Here are some of the tributes pouring in from Hayes’ friends and colleagues:

  • Susan Seaforth Hayes (wife): “My heart is broken. Bill was the love of my life, my best friend, and my soul mate. We created a beautiful life together, and I will cherish every memory. He brought so much joy to the world, and he will be deeply missed.”
  • Ken Corday (Executive Producer, Days of Our Lives): “Bill was a legend. He embodied the heart and soul of Days of Our Lives. We are grieving his loss, but his legacy will live on in our hearts and the stories we tell.”
  • Deidre Hall (Marlena Evans, Days of Our Lives): “Bill was a giant in our industry and a dear friend. He was always there with a kind word and a twinkle in his eye. He will be greatly missed.”
  • James Reynolds (Abe Carver, Days of Our Lives): “Bill was a national treasure. He was a gifted actor, a wonderful friend, and a true gentleman. The world is a little less bright without him.”

Farewell, Bill Hayes. May your journey beyond Salem be filled with as much love and laughter as the one you lived so admirably.

When and where did Bill Hayes die?

Bill Hayes passed away on Friday, January 12, 2024, at the age of 98. He died in Los Angeles, California.

What was Bill Hayes best known for?

Bill Hayes was best known for his role as Doug Williams on the long-running soap opera “Days of Our Lives.” He played the character for over 50 years, making him one of the longest-running actors in television history.

Was Bill Hayes married?

Yes, Bill Hayes was married to actress Susan Seaforth Hayes for over 60 years. They met on the set of “Days of Our Lives” and were married in 1974. Their on-screen and off-screen love story was a cherished part of the show’s history.

What were some of Bill Hayes’ other accomplishments?

Before becoming an actor, Bill Hayes was a successful singer. His rendition of “The Ballad of Davy Crockett” reached number one on the Billboard charts in 1955. He also appeared in several films, including “The Blackboard Jungle” and “Love Me Tender.”