Days of Our Lives stalwart Joseph Mascolo, who portrayed the ruthless Stefano DiMera on and off for over 35 years, departed this world on Thursday, December 8, 2016. Today would have marked his 91st birthday.
Who Was Joseph Mascolo?
Mascolo was West Hartford, Connecticuter and the only son of Peter and Anna Mascolo, immigrants from Naples, Italy. After attending the United States Military Academy and the University of Miami, Mascolo decamped for New York City where he studied acting under famed theatrical impresario Stella Adler and trained his voice to perform classical music and opera.
His first opportunity to perform came in 1962 when he was offered both the role of Kazar and the chance to understudy Neville Brand in the production of Night Life. Subsequently, Mascolo would appear in eight further stage plays, including Dinner at Eight (1966), West Side Story (1968), and Murderous Angels (1971).
In 1968, Mascolo was cast in his first feature film. It was a Western film written and directed by R.L. Frost titled Hot Spur. Eight more would follow, chief among them Shaft’s Big Score! (1972), The Spook Who Sat by the Door (1973), and Jaws 2 (1978), as well as two Burt Reynolds pictures – Sharky’s Machine (1981) and Heat (1986).
Mascolo’s television debut was a 1957 episode of anthology series True Story and a recurring role on From These Roots (1961) proved to be his introduction to the wonderful world of soaps.
By the time he made his debut as DAYS’ Stefano DiMera in January of 1982, Joseph Mascolo had also appeared in The Doctors and Where the Heart Is. During his many hiatuses from the NBC sudser, he joined the casts of both General Hospital and The Bold and the Beautiful – on the former he was a Stefanoesque baddie named Nicholas Van Buern; on the latter, he played shipping tycoon Massimo Marone.
Mascolo was preceded in death by his first wife, Rose Maimone and survived by his second, Patricia Schultz. Days of Our Lives airs weekdays on NBC. Check your local listings for airtimes.