Bill Hayes is celebrating 50 (!) years on Days of Our Lives today as Doug Williams in a special anniversary episode. He didn’t debut as the devoted family man to wife, Julie, and daughter, Hope, and proprietor of Doug’s Place as he is now. (Well, it’s currently Julie’s Place).
Congratulations, Bill Hayes
Instead, Doug was first introduced as an incarcerated con artist, who was Bill Horton’s cellmate!
Bill Horton’s passing, revealed in today’s show, prompts Doug to reflect on his life. Doug came to Salem to con Susan Martin (Denise Alexander), but, instead, she convinced him to occupy her romantic rival Julie (Susan Seaforth).
The original plan was for Doug to be ultimately paired with Marie Horton (Maree Cheatham), but once head writer William J. Bell saw the sparks between Hayes and Seaforth, he knew he had his supercouple.
Born in Harvey, Ill., Hayes started out as a singer and a dancer in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Me and Juliet. Hayes’ recording of The Ballad of Davy Crockett, released in 1955, sold more than 4 million copies.
He began his TV career when the medium was in its infancy on such programs as Your Show of Shows. “The cameras were huge and immobile back then,” Hayes told Variety in 2018. “They didn’t have the capability of zooming in or out. It was all live until 1958.”
Just as Doug found a home in Salem so, too, did Hayes on DAYS. The performer found not only stability but real-life romance after he and Seaforth fell in love. They wed in real-life in 1974 and on-screen in 1976, the same year they were selected to represent the soap genre on the cover of Time magazine.
A Singer’s Life In Salem
Doug and Julie are so romantic they have two love songs – The Look of Love and The Most Beautiful Girl in the World. “When Doug couldn’t tell Julie how he felt, he could sing it,” Hayes has said.
Hayes and Seaforth Hayes left DAYS in 1984, returning at times as solo acts and then were written off together in 1993. They returned here and there in the 1990s and became front-burner again in the Salem Serial Killer storyline circa 2004. Hayes did all his own stunts as Doug fought for his life against serial killer “Marlena” (Deidre Hall).
Fortunately, Doug and all the other victims were brought back to life, and Doug and Julie have appeared on the show with frequency ever since. Under the storytelling regime of Emmy-winner Ron Carlivati, Doug’s Place was re-opened and Hayes had powerful scenes to emote after Julie suffered her heart attack last year.
Off-screen, Hayes earned his doctorate of education from West Virginia University. He and Seaforth Hayes have penned two books, Like Sands Through the Hourglass (a memoir), and Trumpet (fiction) both available on Amazon.
In 2017, Hayes made an impromptu appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Previously, he’d appeared on the program when it was hosted by both Jack Paar (in 1958, 1959) and Johnny Carson (1964). In 2018, the Hayeses were honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Daytime Emmys. “We were stunned and thrilled when we learned about this honor,” Hayes said.
Soap Hub joins Hayes’ family, friends, fans, and the daytime community in congratulating the actor on 50 years of entertaining us all as DAYS’ Doug Williams! Days of Our Lives airs weekdays on NBC. Check local listings for air times.