Susan Seaforth Hayes Interview on Success — ‘I Probably Didn’t Handle It Very Well’

Seven decades of glory for this talented actress.

Soap operas were in the family for Susan Seaforth Hayes. Her mother, Elizabeth Harrower, was an actress and screenwriter who wrote for Young and the Restless, where Hayes played Joanna Manning, and ironically, the place Hayes would come to call home for the last seven decades, Days of our Lives.

Some folks might remember Hayes’ time before Days in television shows such as Death Valley Days, My Three Sons, Matlock, Perry Mason, and General Hospital, as Dorothy Bradley. She was also DA Patricia Steele on NBC’s Sunset Beach for a short time.

Hayes started on Days of our Lives as Julie Olsen (Williams) in 1968 before I was born. I, and I’m sure, several other hoards of fans missed out on her meeting and marrying her onscreen spouse, Bill Hayes (Doug Williams), who started on the soap in 1970. They met while they worked together.

susan and bill hayes days of our lives
Herb Ball/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Hayes did an interview with Soap Opera Digest recently, where she discussed the “Glory Days” of soaps. Soap fans often refer to the olden days of soaps as such, a time when the writing was at its peak, and when there were still original ideas to be had. When she was asked to describe the “glamour and prestige” of soaps back then —  she said, “Well, prestige-wise, none. We were supposed to look very natural. We weren’t encouraged to do anything special or fabulous looking; the emphasis on the show was on the acting and the story. I was fortunate that I came along when [former Head Writer] Bill Bell was there.”

She went on to talk about becoming part of “a wonderful acting company.”  Frances Reid [ex-Alice] and Mac [Carey, ex-Tom], Ed Mallory [ex-Bill], John Clarke [ex-Mickey], Susan Flannery [ex-Laura] and Denise Alexander [ex-Susan] was the cast when I came on. Everyone was serious but we spent so much time together that we knew each other. Indeed, it was a family. The glamour came later, and the emphasis on appearance came later with the emphasis on a bigger budget, which was wonderful.”

Bill susan hayes 2016 days of our lives
Howard Wise/JPI

Doug and Julie were big with the fans once they were married in reality, and this is how the actress admits she handled being successful and noticed:  “It gave me a mistaken sense of my own importance in the greater scheme of things, and I probably didn’t handle it very well. Bill handled it beautifully.” Since the actor had already been well known for his singing on Your Show of Shows, she said, “You couldn’t walk into a theater to watch a movie without people jumping over their seats to get an autograph to be with him. He knew what it would be like.”

Find out her special memory of the show, and one of the favored events she attended by reading the rest of the interview.

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