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Chatting with veteran actors Bill Hayes and Susan Seaforth Hayes (Includes interview)

Susan Seaforth Hayes and Bill Hayes
Susan Seaforth Hayes and Bill Hayes. Photo Credit: Paul Drinkwater, NBC
Susan Seaforth Hayes and Bill Hayes. Photo Credit: Paul Drinkwater, NBC

Bill and Susan are known for their longtime portrayals of Doug and Julie Williams on Days of Our Lives, which they have played for over five decades. “Doug is a fabulous character. I’ve enjoyed him a lot,” he said. “I miss the music we’ve had at Doug’s Place for so many years. That was a good decade. I feel that for me, Doug, is the best character on the show.”

He is drawn to his character, Doug, for many reasons. “Doug has a sense of humor, he is a good guy, and he has an amazing wife,” he said.

“Most couples on the show are conflicted, they have to be. Doug and Julie have accepted the fact that they are married and it’s a good marriage, and it is going well,” Bill said.

In 2018, the soap couple were the recipients of the coveted Daytime Emmy “Lifetime Achievement” Award. “That was a surprise and it was a nice accolade for having survived,” Susan said. “A lot of it has to do with the writing of the characters, and perhaps we had something to do with it, where we pleased and intrigued the audience for five decades, which is pretty good.”

Susan continued, “There aren’t many actors who have been lucky enough to play the same role on that level for that long. At one point, there were 14 soaps on the air, and now there are four. I am probably the oldest person on the show right now screentime-wise. Bill joined a year and a half later, and that was a magic time, and the magic hasn’t worn off. I think we got the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award because the magic has not worn off.”

Susan Seaforth Hayes

Susan Seaforth Hayes
Paul Drinkwater, NBC

“We are hoping for more and are hoping the show will continue,” she said, prior to praising the show’s cleanliness for adhering to the COVID-19 protocols. “The protocols make for a very long day but we have the cleanest sets in Hollywood,” she added.

On the key to longevity in acting and entertainment, Bill said, “I enjoy it. I’ve done a lot of theater, some film, and some episodic TV. It has always been hard work but it’s very enjoyable to me.”

“Bill works just as hard to prepare now as he ever did,” Susan acknowledged. “He is a hard worker and he loves performing. He devotes his full attention to it.”

As a recording artist, Bill’s song “The Ballad of Davy Crockett” went to the top of the Billboard charts in the spring of 1955. “When I started on television, I did more singing than acting. We used to have a lot of shows with music,” Bill said.

For young and aspiring actors, Bill said, “You need to prepare your mind to work. Study. I do a lot of preparation with my scripts. I’ve memorized songs, plays, and film and our dialogue.”

“Study law and get in a line of work that is more consistent than performing,” Susan said. “You need to have a burning passion to do acting because it’s so hard to get started and to stay employed. Eventually, you need to be good and you have to deliver. In the meantime, work in something that will bring in an income.”

“It’s mental preparation, it’s physical preparation, and emotional preparation for being turned down. Most of the time, you don’t get the job that you want, so you have to be optimistic to carry on,” Susan added.

They noted that this is a “very joyful time” in their lives. “We still get to be actors,” Susan said. “Now, we are interfacing constantly with our grown grandchildren. We have 12 grandchildren, and 26 great-grandchildren. Our family life has expanded. We are all very close and in constant communication. Life is richer than ever, and we are lucky to have our Days of Our Lives family to work with. There are more people in our lives than ever, which is very exciting. We are riddling in the golden period.”

Bill and Susan defined the word success as “giving love and receiving love.”

For their dedicated fans, Bill and Susan concluded, “Stick with us. Stay tuned, we have every expectation of continuing in another decade.”

Susan Seaforth Hayes and Bill Hayes of  Days of Our Lives

Susan Seaforth Hayes and Bill Hayes of ‘Days of Our Lives’
Paul Drinkwater, NBC

Read More: Digital Journal’s Markos Papadatos also chatted with Susan Seaforth Hayes back in June of 2020 about her latest Daytime Emmy nomination.

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 19,900 original articles over the past 16 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a seven-time consecutive "Best of Long Island" winner, and in the past three years, he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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