Days of our Lives fans should start stocking up on Kleenex because the NBC soap opera is jumping into a tear-jerker storyline involving beloved couple Doug and Julie Williams, played by real-life married pair Bill Hayes and Susan Seaforth Hayes.
Recent episodes have shown that Doug seems to be beginning a battle with dementia, and though the topic is super sad, Susan shares that both she and her husband are thrilled to be given such an important storyline.
"It's given Bill some interesting stuff to play and he has enjoyed that a lot. At 96, he's doing a lot and loving doing it," she reveals to Soap Opera Digest. "Speaking as a legacy character -- I'm the oldest legacy character still standing -- it's pleasant to have story that is not based on, 'Remember when?' or 'You were very useful and very interesting then and now we can look back.' Instead of being taken back, we're going forward with a story, which is delightful."
The actress points out that not only is it delightful to be given a major storyline, but it's also a move that mirrors the lives of real people in their twilight years.
"All the older people that I know that are functioning in the world are functioning in the world, and have family connections and citizen connections and civic connections and artistic connections that keep them going," she explains. "You don't really go off in a room and look at the family albums all the time -- the world is moving too fast for that -- so, I appreciate the nostalgia that we represent, but it's nice to be representing more than nostalgia and to be involved in the here and now and hopefully the future, as well."
As for how Julie will deal with Bill possibly developing dementia, Susan shares that her alter ego will go into a major state of denial.
"Her initial experience is, 'I refuse to believe that that's happening to him,' which is where you start but not necessarily where you finish," she says. "And of course, being an older person married to an older person, you have that fear and that frenzy. You're not just denying that someone has dementia or may be slipping; what you're denying is, 'It can't be over. The love story can't be over.'"
UPDATE (September 17, 2021): As viewers now know, Doug doesn't have dementia. His unusual behavior has been brought on by being possessed by the devil. For more on DAYS revisiting that classic storyline, continue reading here.
What do you think about DAYS' decision to write a dementia storyline for longtime Salem couple Doug and Julie? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.