Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Bill & Susan Hayes - The We Love Soaps Interview, Part 6

In Parts One, Two, Three, Four, and Five of our inteview, Bill and Susan Seaforth Hayes generously shared their on-set and off-set  memories of working on DAYS OF OUR LIVES, as well as beloved deceased cast members, the demise of Doug & Julie, and Susan's admitting to having been a "pain-in-the-ass."  In this final part, Susan shares insights into expressing her opinions openly, and both discuss what they would do if put in charge of DAYS.

We Love Soaps: Susan, when you were fired from DAYS in 1993, you gave an interview during which you said, “If Julie had a story line during the last three years, even I slept through it.” Do you remember that?
Susan Seaforth Hayes: Stupid!  I should have said, “It’s wonderful working there and the writers are so talented.”  That’s what you should say anytime someone asks you for a quote.  It won’t get printed, and you won’t get in trouble.

We Love Soaps: Yet you do have these sharp quips that live on years later.
Susan Seaforth Hayes: It’s not worth it.  “Keep a smile on your face and your big mouth shut.” That’s been Bill’s advice to me. 

We Love Soaps: I have always related to you in this way.  I have worked in several clinics where I have been considered the loud mouth instead of being a “team player.”
Susan Seaforth Hayes: You are the one who says what must not be said. 

We Love Soaps: That is me.  There have been times my opinions were welcomed, most recently they were not.  But I have always admired that you speak your mind even when it has not been trendy or popular to do so.  If you could go back to the beginning of your time on DAYS, what would you do differently?
Susan Seaforth Hayes: I wouldn’t express my opinions.  I wouldn’t force myself.  I’d stop going to talk to the writers,  I’d stop speaking so loosely with other actors, and getting into a negative whiny situation.  It’s never productive!

We Love Soaps: What is next for the Hayeses?
Susan Seaforth Hayes: We have written another book which we are hoping to get published soon.  We have an agent, and we have already been rejected by three publishers.  It’s a historical fiction.  We’ve spent nearly five years on it, and just finished it a few months ago.  We are very very proud.  It’s about the theatrical profession.  Not television, not modern times.  Full of sex, violence, and romance.  And pretty funny too. 

Susan Seaforth Hayes: We are going to be working in June on the show.  The show has been given another 18 months of life, so I have every anticipation that we will be part of it in some way.  I am very happy about that.  We are going to Europe this year, Germany and Russia.
Bill Hayes:  In December and January I did a series of concerts with Dick Hyman.  He is an incredibly talented pianist.
Susan Seaforth Hayes: Dick Hyman has been around forever.  He has done more than 2000 recordings.  He is the premiere bebop pianist.  He worked with Bill in the 1950s and ever since.  He did all the piano and conducting on all the Woody Allen films.
Bill Hayes:  He also did the score to Moonstruck. He is a greatly talented guy, and I enjoyed that a lot. 

We Love Soaps: And Bill now has a CD available on your website? 
Susan Seaforth Hayes:  And our book.
Bill Hayes:  "Like Sands Through the Hourglass."  

We Love Soaps: If you were the producer of DAYS OF OUR LIVES, what would you do at this point to keep it on the air longer than the next 18 months?
Bill Hayes:  I would instantly go back to what the creators and the first writers did with it.  I would talk about people and their families and their problems.  I would not have supervillains...
Susan Seaforth Hayes:  Or generational grudges that have inexplicable origins.  Or inexplicably murderous villains.  Stefano rules the world.  Does he really? Why is that?
Bill Hayes:  I would not make it The Bourne Ultimatum on the small screen.
Susan Seaforth Hayes: And I don’t think we’re going to.  I don’t think it’s going that way.
Bill Hayes: People talk to us as we go around the country.  We’re all a part of a big family. The things that they remember are not the wildly imaginative things.  They are the stories that deal with the human heart.  That’s what the show should be.  That’s what the stories should be.  When I run it, that’s what it will be.
Susan Seaforth Hayes:  I appreciate that we’ve added some very talented new leading men.  I appreciate the new cast that has come in, and that a taste of the old cast is scattered throughout the show again.  People are returning from Siberia, so to speak, and it’s very satisfying 

We Love Soaps: I love that Suzanne Rogers has been front and center in so many stories this past year.
Susan Seaforth Hayes:  She is amazed.  She was certainly, if not in Siberia, then Mongolia, for many years.
Bill Hayes:  She’s a perfect example.  Maggie is a character with heart.  She is a family person.  The problems she has are the problems the viewers at home relate to.  They should write about her heart.
Susan Seaforth Hayes:  We certainly have some nasty patriarchs.  But since there aren’t any nice patriarchs on the show, I would like to see Bill Hayes as a patriarch and old Julie turn into a matriarch.  At this point I am the oldest cast member standing.  I have been there since 1968.  I don’t have a bunch of children like Caroline Brady, but Julie was there in the first episode.  So it would be nice to have a kitchen of our own. 

We Love Soaps: Would you like to see Julie making doughnuts?
Susan Seaforth Hayes: I could handle the doughnuts.  Actually there is a scene coming up where Julie and Maggie make doughnuts, which we managed to get through.  I’m not complaining about it!

We Love Soaps: Is there anything I haven’t asked you that you would like to share with the readers of We Love Soaps?
Susan Seaforth Hayes: Only that when they are considering Ken Corday’s new book that they look for ours as well.  It was very well received when it came out [in 2005].  It’s candid, and has a lot of truth about the show.
Bill Hayes:  We got home last night from Memphis and had a copy of Ken’s book that had arrived.  I read the first 30 pages.  It’s wonderful, you will enjoy it.
Susan Seaforth Hayes:  I’m anxious to plunge into it.  He said, “I hope you don’t throw it across the room when you read it,” so I’m very anxious to read what he had to say.  

EDIDTOR'S NOTE: Thank you so much for reading this very special series of interviews.  Many of you had questions for the Hayeses that were not covered in this series.  However, there is much more information about their lives, including Susan's work on THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS available in their wonderful book "Like Sands Through The Hourglass."

Damon L. Jacobs is a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist seeing individuals and couples in New York City at Mental Health Counseling & Marriage And Family Therapy Of New York.   He is also the author of "Absolutely Should-less: The Secret to Living the Stress-Free Life You Deserve."


  1. Thank you so much for this interview with my favorite soap couple. They were treated very shoddily by Days in the 80s, and Susan was wasted in her 90s return. I'd give anything for them to have a real story again – as it is, I only tape Days when I know they're going to be on.

    I loved their book (and I enjoyed much of Ken Corday's book, in which he was very complimentary of Bill & Susan). Anyway, thanks again -- this is the best interview of the Hayes' I've ever read.

  2. Thanks for providing this wonderful interview with Bill & Susan, Damon. :) My grandmother & aunt (now both deceased) enjoyed watching their performances as Doug & Julie on DOOL during the late '70s & early '80s.

    I never would've gotten the impression that Susan was an offstage constant complainer. Just as with Larry Bryggman from ATWT, Susan would do what very few young actors on soaps would do today. Today's kids on soaps just flex their muscles, swing their hair, & keep their mouths shut tight! :)

  3. Thank you a thousand times over for this interview, Damon! I wholeheartedly agree with them - I would love for Doug and Julie to become the patriarch and matriarch of the show now. It seemed that the show was shifting it towards Shawn and Caroline for the longest time, but now that Shawn is gone, it would be nice if Doug and Julie became that fixture.

  4. Loved reading Bill and Susan's interview.
    I think a lot of the time the actor is labeled 'difficult' if they question how their character is written. From what little I've heard, they voice the same things the audience was thinking. Then get punished for it. It's a no win situation.
    Drake Hogestyn said he watched John Aniston complain to James Reilly at the Emmys how he was upset that the younger characters were besting Victor. Reilly wrote Victor into a coma after that.
    There is an interview where Crystal Chappell was asked about being 'difficult' after she was let go from Days in 93. She said she just asked the writers what was going on with her character. God knows what Mathew Ashford did to Reilly that he was let go in 93 with Chappell and Sabatino, and was the first character killed when Reilly was rehired in 2003 during the serial killer storyline!
    Another 'outspoken' actor, Cady McClain- poisoned pancakes anyone? Enough said!

  5. Thanks so much for this wonderful walk down memory lane with Bill & Susan. My entire family has watched Days since it began (I still remember Julie shoplifting that fur stole...) - my father watched it for Susan Flannery in the early days :)

    It is a shame that the writers at the show do not seem to know how to write for families anymore, I have to agree with the entire "Evil Patriarchs" comment - Days really needs to bring Dough and Julie back as a stable relationship/family role model which is entirely lacking at present - and has been since Tom's death - while Alice carried on as the Matriarch, it was Tom & Alice that kept the show stable.