Thursday, January 18, 2024

Requiescat in pace - Bill Hayes

Bill Hayes, longtime cast member of the daytime drama Days of Our Lives, passed away at 98 years of age.  Remarkably, fans of the show will note he worked right up until the end -- appearing at the annual Christmas episode with his wife and castmate Susan Seaforth Hayes (reportedly, they were introduced to each other by castmate Macdonald Carey).  (The program left broadcast television in 2022 but continues streaming on NBC's Internet "Peacock" channel.)

Mr. Hayes very kindly allowed me to interview him on Ann Blyth for my book, Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star. in 2014.  (Has it really been ten years?)  He was charming, funny, and gracious.  I enjoyed talking with him very much and listening to his memories of his career in theatre and television.

He first appeared with Ann Blyth in the summer theatre production of Brigadoon in 1968 at the St. Louis Municipal Opera (MUNY), and in 1985 they appeared opposite each other in Song of Norway at the Long Beach Civil Opera.  In 1992, they formed a cabaret act and sang together at New York's exclusive Rainbow & Stars room atop Rockefeller Center and continued to play other dates across the country in the early 1990s.

His contribution to my book was invaluable, and I'll carry the warm memory of my chat with this dear man always.  My heartfelt condolences to his family and loved ones.  As Ann Blyth is still with us, this is, undoubtedly, her loss as well.

For more on Bill Hayes' long career, have a look at this article in The Hollywood Reporter.


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Jacqueline T. Lynch is the author of Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star. and Movies in Our Time - Hollywood Mirrors and Mimics the Twentieth Century and Hollywood Fights Fascism and Christmas in Classic Films. TO JOIN HER READERS' GROUP - follow this link for a free book as a thank-you for joining.


Karen said...

I enjoyed this lovely recollection, Jacqueline. I never watched Days of Our Lives (I was an ABC soap gal), but I feel like I've always known who Bill Hayes was. I love the idea of him being introduced to his wife by Macdonald Carey, as well as him working right up until the end.

-- Karen

Jacqueline T. Lynch said...

Thank you, Karen. Yes, I was very impressed with the sight of him working, albeit in a few restricted scenes where he never left a chair, but still sharp and delivering his lines well. I would not have known, except my sister, a longtime fan of the show, brought my attention to the episode when we heard news of his passing.

Jeannie said...

I remember watching "Days" when I was a teenager and loving Bill Hayes and his wife Susan. They had such wonderful chemistry together. How fun that you got to interview him. May he rest in peace (and sing with the angels in that swell voice of his)!

Jacqueline T. Lynch said...

Sing with the angels is right, Jeannie.

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