Veteran US actor Bill Hayes, best known for Days of Our Lives and vocalist on The Ballad of Davy Crockett, has died aged 98.
Hayes was regarded as the longest-working actor in America, who began his TV career in 1949 when he starred on Olsen & Johnson’s Fireball Fun-for-All and later worked on Sid Caesar’s Your Show of Shows.
Hayes joined Days of our Lives as Doug Williams in 1970, five years after the show’s debut. He met his real-life wife, actress Susan Seaforth, on the series set in the fictional Illinois town of Salem. They were married in 1974, two years later, their characters were married on the show -both gracing the cover of Time.
His character was one of the longest-running characters on the soap, earning two Daytime Emmy nominations and lifetime achievement award along with Seaforth Hayes.
Hayes made sporadic returns to Salem including as recently as this week, stateside.
He also made his Broadway debut in the Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Me and Juliet in 1953, followed by national tours of Bye Bye Birdie, Student Prince, Anything Goes, Camelot, and The Pajama Game.
In 1955 he had a hit record with The Ballad of Davy Crockett, the theme song of the Disney series starring Fess Parker.
“I have known Bill for most of my life and he embodied the heart and soul of Days of our Lives, ” said executive producer Ken Corday. “Although we are grieving and will miss him, Bill’s indelible legacy will live on in our hearts and the stories we tell, both on and off the screen.”