NATAS to honor DAYS' Bill Hayes and Susan Seaforth Hayes with Lifetime Achievement Awards

Posted Thursday, February 01, 2018 6:09:06 PM
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Photo of Bill Hayes and Susan Seaforth Hayes

Real-life Days of our Lives couple Bill Hayes (Doug Williams) and Susan Seaforth Hayes (Julie Williams) will be the recipients of this year's Lifetime Achievement Awards at the Daytime Emmys.

The 45th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards are already off to a grand start: the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences has chosen to honor Days of our Lives' Bill Hayes (Doug Williams) and Susan Seaforth Hayes (Julie Williams) with this year's Lifetime Achievement Awards on Sunday, April 29.

The real-life husband and wife -- who have been playing married Salem characters Doug and Julie since 1970 and 1968, respectively -- continue to be staples of the NBC soap opera half a century since they debuted.

Bill Hayes began his career as a successful musician in the 1940s and managed to land on the Billboard Hot 100 with a version of The Ballad of Davy Crockett in the early 1950s. He segued into acting around that same time and managed to snag a role in the 1953 Broadway production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Me and Juliet. Hayes's music background was incorporated into DAYS; Doug was originally introduced as a convict with a background as a lounge singer.

Says the official NATAS press release: "Bill Hayes burst onto the national television scene in Olsen & Johnson's 1949 madcap series Fire-Ball Fun-For-All. From there he was tapped to be a featured singer on Your Show of Shows starring Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca (1950-1954). Bill made his Broadway debut in Rodgers & Hammerstein's Me and Juliet (1953-1954), and followed with a gold record for "The Ballad of Davy Crockett" (over 4,000,000 sold; still selling!), acclaimed Best Record of 1955. Hayes's feature films: the Warner Bros. farce Stop! You're Killing Me (1953), Otto Preminger's The Cardinal (1963) and the award-winning Wrestling with God (1989). Since 1970, Bill Hayes has portrayed Doug Williams on NBC's Days of our Lives (2,085 episodes to date!), garnering two Emmy nominations and several Best Actor Awards. Bill also appeared as a regular on Hollywood Squares and as a talk-show guest with Johnny, Phil, Dinah, Merv, Geraldo, Regis, Oprah and Martha. Bill has three degrees: Bachelor of Arts (DePauw University, 1947), Master of Music (Northwestern University, 1949), and Doctor of Education (West Virginia University, 1998)."

Susan Seaforth began her acting career as a young woman and landed numerous roles in films and television series like Cheyenne, National Velvet, The Fugitive, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., and My Three Sons. She appeared on General Hospital as Dorothy Bradley in 1964 and has made numerous appearances as Joanna Manning on The Young and the Restless (where her mother, Elizabeth Harrower, worked as a writer). She joined DAYS in 1968 and has earned four Daytime Emmy Award nominations in the Outstanding Lead Actress category for her work as Julie.

Says the official NATAS press release: "Susan Seaforth Hayes is a professional actress by trade and historian by desire. Her degree from Los Angeles City College is in history and the stack of books on her desk reflect an intense interest in the American West, European history, art history and Native American cultures. Had she not been so talented an actress she probably would be teaching or writing history books today Ultimately, Susan was destined to spend her life on stage and in front of cameras. Her initial theatrical experience was at the age of four, playing 'Trouble' to Dorothy Kirsten's 'Madame Butterfly' for the Metropolitan Opera Company. At age eleven, she toured a year with Billie Burke in Mother Was a Bachelor and as a developing teenager, she honed her crafts in the exciting world of television: Matinee Theatre, Lassie, Eve Arden, Wyatt Earp, Loretta Young, Danny Thomas; and films: Five Pennies, Angel in My Pocket, Billy, California. When she was cast again and again in the exciting/demanding world of TV soaps, Susan was finally forced to curtail her academic work. Young Marrieds (2 yrs), General Hospital (1 yr), The Young and the Restless (5 yrs), Sunset Beach and forty-nine (yes, 49!) years on Days of our Lives put a serious dent in her classroom attendance. The sudsy genre produced four Emmy nominations, several Best Actress Awards, a Time Magazine cover, many years of Top-Ten Lists in fan-mags, and even a husband when Susan Seaforth married her Days co-star Bill Hayes in 1974. The sweep of her credits in film, stage, and television include Oklahoma, The Two of Us, I Do I Do, Same Time Next Year, Harvey, Matlock, Heartbeat, Dream Machine, Wrestling with God, 42nd Street, Social Security, Mame, and a 1993 13-week tour of Oliver in Florida, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur! In the 90s, Susan wowed Birmingham audiences with her 'Mama Rose' in Gypsy, toured Love Letters extensively, played the wily 'Mrs. Rubinstein' on TV's Platypus Man, and charmed West Virginia Public Theatre fans in A Christmas Carol and Cinderella. In 1997, Susan co-starred in the premiere of Bernard Slade's sequel play Same Time Another Year and in the spring of 1999, she created the role of District Attorney Steele on NBC-TV's Sunset Beach. In 2007, she sang 'I'm Still Here' in Follies and added Funny Girl to her credits in 2008. Her memoir Like Sands Through the Hourglass [which she co-authored with Bill Hayes], was published by Penguin-Putnam in 2005 and enjoyed robust sales. She and her husband published their first historical novel, Trumpet, in 2012."

Bill and Susan married in 1974 and are credited as daytime TV's first supercouple. They are the only soap opera pair to appear on the cover of Time magazine, which they did in 1976.

"I've been star-struck by the dynamic duo of Bill Hayes and Susan Seaforth Hayes for decades," said David Michaels, senior vice president of the Daytime Emmy Awards. "The scope of their work across the television, film and stage landscape is amazing. Their continuing roles of almost 50 years on Days of Our Lives, where they also met and married, is a daytime story like no other."

NATAS announced the news of the Hayeses' upcoming honor via Twitter along with the addition that producers and brothers Sid and Marty Krofft, known for their work on children's shows, will be honored with Lifetime Achievements at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards on Friday, April 27.

The last soap opera star to receive NATAS' Lifetime Achievement Award was The Bold and the Beautiful alum Betty White (ex-Ann Douglas), who accepted the honor in 2015.

UPDATE: Bill and Susan did an interview with EXTRA about their big Emmy honor. You can watch it below.

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