Susan Seaforth Hayes, My Great Aunt

Susan Seaforth Hayes
Susan Seaforth at 14 years old

Susan Seaforth Hayes, the American actress best known for her six-decade-long stint on the Days of Our Lives (1965), was born Susan Seabold on July 11, 1943, in Oakland, California. She was the daughter of the actress and writer, Elizabeth Harrower. She made her debut on the Cavalcade of America (1952) omnibus TV series in 1954 and, beginning in 1956, started working steadily on series television, though not as a regular in any one series.

(Newscom TagID: showcasepix616814)       [Photo via Newscom]
(Newscom TagID: showcasepix616814) [Photo via Newscom]

In 1968, she made the transition to daytime soap operas when she was cast as “Julie Williams” on Days of Our Lives (1965), playing the role continuously from 1968 to 1984 and 1990 to 1993. She made recurring appearances on the show in 1994 and 1996 and has appeared regularly since 1999. She married her co-star, Bill Hayes, in 1974. They became the first soap opera actors to appear on the cover of Time Magazine in its January 12, 1976 issue. She was nominated four times for a Daytime Emmy as Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama Series for her work on “Days of Our Lives” from 1975 through 1979. She lost to her fellow “Days of Our Lives” co-star, Susan Flannery, in 1975 and to Helen Gallagher of Ryan’s Hope (1975) in 1976, Laurie Heineman of Another World(1964) in 1978, and Irene Daly of Another World (1964) in 1979.

From 1984 to 1989, she appeared as “JoAnna Manning” on The Young and the Restless(1973), with guest appearances in 2005-06 and 2010. She also had a recurring role on the show, Sunset Beach (1997), as “District Attorney Patricia Steele”.

In 2005, she and husband Bill Hayes published a joint autobiography, “Like Sands through the Hour Glass”, taking its title from their soap opera’s catchphrase.

– IMDb Mini Biography By Jon C. Hopwood

Hayes’ career dates back to the earliest days of television in 1949 when he starred on Olsen & Johnson’s “Fireball Fun-for-All” and later, “Your Show of Shows.”

“The cameras were huge and immobile back then,” Hayes says. “They didn’t have the capability of zooming in or out. It was all live until 1958.”

Born in Harvey, Ill., Hayes, a singer and dancer, found success on Broadway in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “Me and Juliet,” and his rendition of “The Ballad of Davy Crockett” has sold more than 4 million copies. But in 1970, the divorced father who had custody of his five children wanted stability. He found it professionally after being cast as “Days’” Doug, a con artist, and personally, with Seaforth Hayes, the love of his life.

“I’d been on [“Days”] since 1968, but I was no more important to it than anyone else until Bill came onto the show and into my life,” says Seaforth Hayes, an Oakland, Calif., native whose early credits include selling television sets on “Matinee Theater” and playing a sunburned teenager on “General Hospital.”

Doug and Julie emerged as the show’s favorite couple, topping magazine popularity polls. (Their portrayers earned multiple Daytime Emmy Award nominations, too.) When Doug couldn’t tell Julie he loved her, the writers would have him sing how he felt.

Bill Hayes and Susan Seaforth Hayes were the original super couple of daytime drama, and we all have been so fortunate that they remain perennially vibrant and endearing as a couple to this day,” says “Days of Our Lives” executive producer Ken Corday.

The couple wed in real life in 1974 and on-screen in 1976, the same year that Time magazine wrote about the growing popularity and profitability of soaps. The talent at serials on both coasts was interviewed and photographed. Editors selected them for the cover image.

“Knowing the magazine had a red border, I went out and bought a red negligee to wear the day they came to shoot at the set,” Seaforth Hayes says. “We added glycerin tears. I think that’s how the title ‘Sex and Suffering’ came about.”

In 1984, the couple quit “Days” after their characters’ airtime diminished. Seaforth Hayes ended up returning to the show in 1990 without her husband, and writers then tried pairing Julie with villainous Victor (John Aniston).

“All I felt was resentment to poor John,” recalls Seaforth Hayes. “I did everything I could to make sure the scenes wouldn’t work and, sure enough, they didn’t.”

Bill Hayes and Susan Seaforth Hayes married in 1974, after meeting on the set of “Days of Our Lives.”

When her character exited again in 1993, it was a bittersweet moment for the actress and for much of the audience. Seaforth Hayes’ mother, Elizabeth Harrower, a former head writer at “Days,” scripted her daughter’s farewell. In it, Doug recaptured the heart of his “fair lady” with a music box that played “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World.”

The pair made sporadic appearances in Salem and performed on stage throughout the rest of the 1990s while Hayes also earned a doctorate in education from West Virginia University.

In 2003, “Days” called again, but this time they had reservations related to reprising their roles. The program was telling a tale in which veterans were being killed off. Hayes had one request for doomed Doug — that he go out fighting.

The show obliged, and Hayes “did all his stunts,” his wife says. She stayed on as a family mourner, noting that the show’s costume designer Richard Bloore bought her “one great black outfit after another.”

Later, the presumed deceased characters were miraculously resurrected and, today, both Hayes and Seaforth Hayes still appear on the show.