Susan Seaforth Hayes previews Julie's grief and gives thanks to Days of our Lives

Posted Wednesday, June 19, 2024 12:10:57 PM
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In a few months, Bill Hayes's death will be felt on Days of our Lives, as Susan Seaforth Hayes mourns her loss on-screen.

On January 12, 2024, beloved Days of our Lives icon Bill Hayes passed away at the age of 98. The longtime star had played Doug Williams off and on since 1970, and DAYS is where he met Susan Seaforth, the actress who would become his wife of nearly 50 years.

Susan Seaforth Hayes began playing Julie Olson in 1968, three years after DAYS premiered. Although she auditioned for Julie before DAYS even premiered, she didn't get the part. Finally, after the character had been recast twice, Seaforth Hayes was cast, and her life changed forever. Just two years into her run, Julie was paired with ex-con Doug Williams, and the rest is soap opera history -- both on-screen and off.

Seaforth Hayes recently appeared on The Harvey Brownstone Show on YouTube, where she discussed her life as part of the Salem scene and how DAYS has helped her cope with losing her husband. She explained that her grief has correlated with Julie's grief in her scripts, and that's just the way it was planned.

"The show has handled that bad news rather beautifully," Seaforth Hayes said. "The head writer [Ron Carlivati] was kind enough to attend Bill's memorial and heard my eulogy to my husband and said, 'I think I would like you to give the same one for the character of Doug.'"

After Doug passes away in the story, Julie will have to go on with life just as the actress who portrays her has, as Seaforth Hayes details.

"Then they asked me, 'How do you feel about Julie's life following the loss of her partner?' and we agreed on how Julie might be feeling," she said. "And he has written several scenes for me to play that. So, I am very grateful that the reality of my own loss, and the loss the fans will experience will be translated into an emotional and realistic storyline."

Seaforth Hayes continued to describe how DAYS is still echoing her real life.

"My concept of what makes the audience stay or return if they've been away is to feel something emotionally," she said. "This [story] is 'how do we lose the most important thing in life and how do we handle it?' So, my marriage was the most important thing in my life. During Billy's decline, Billy was the most important thing in my life."

In the months since her husband passed, Seaforth Hayes has found comfort in her large family of children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews, but also with the people she works with. She has also found comfort from being able to still go to work at DAYS, which is taped just three miles from her home.

"The show has become very important to me the last few months," a choked-up Hayes said before adding, "mainly because I have been treated so beautifully by my co-workers, and I want to do them proud, and I want to do the show proud."

What are your favorite memories of Doug and Julie on DAYS? Are you planning to have tissues handy as the emotional scenes approach? We want to hear from you -- so drop your comments in the Comments section below, tweet about it on Twitter, share it on Facebook, or chat about it on our Message Boards.

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