Wednesday, September 5, 2012

50 Greatest Soap Couples: #2 Doug & Julie From DAYS OF OUR LIVES

COUPLE: Doug Williams & Julie Olson
Doug: Bill Hayes
Julie: Susan Seaforth Hayes
YEARS: 1970-present (with some years off starting in 1984)

Doug was a con artist who met Bill Horton in prison in 1970.  When Doug was released, he came to Salem to find Susan Martin (Denise Alexander), a widow with money Bill had spoken about.  Susan ended up hiring Doug to come between Scott Banning and his girlfriend, Julie.  Doug and Julie had an instant rapport.  Doug took a job as a singer at Sergio's and fell for Julie.  Doug's real identity was orphan Brent Douglas and this helped him for a bond with Julie's mother, Addie Horton Olson (Patricia Barry).   After a fight with Julie over her son, David, Doug went to Addie's and she proposed to him.  He accepted and the two of them were married.   In 1974 they had a daughter together, Hope.   After surviving leukemia, Addie died after being struck by a car pushing Hope's carriage out of the way just in time to save her daughter.   Eventually Julie, who had married and divorced Bob Anderson, reunited and the two of them married in a beautiful ceremony in 1976.

Over the next few years, Doug and Julie would face many obstacles including the loss of Doug's Place (formerly Sergio's), Julie's rape and eventual trial for the murder of her rapist, and Julie being disfigured in a fire on Maggie's farm.  The latter led her to divorce Doug but the two of them remarried in 1981 after Doug ended his marriage to Lee DuMonde.  The following years saw the couple deal with titanium deposits, a grown up and rebellious Hope, and another divorce and remarriage!  In the past decade Doug was "murdered" by the Salem Stalker but, like the other victims, turned up alive.  In 2012, they are still happy and together.

The couples in the countdown all shared chemistry but there was something extra special about the Doug and Julie dynamic.  Fans would find out later, Hayes and Seaforth had actually fallen in love and married in real life.

The couple was featured on the cover of TIME magazine in the January 12, 1976 issue, a first for daytime soap opera.   Popular industry magazine, Daytime TV, wrote about the cover: "It was almost inevitable that when TIME was looking for the actor and actress who personified the power of the daytime serials, it just had to choose Bill and Susan."  The magazine also called them "Daytime's First Royal Couple."

Bill Hayes explained further in a 2009 Mental Floss feature: "In 1974, Susan and I got married in my living room with 16 people. In 1976, when Doug and Julie got married, we had 16 million people."

The actors' personal story and the long wait for Doug and Julie to finally marry brought DAYS OF OUR LIVES and Daytime much publicity in the 1970s.  When Doug and Julie finally married for the first time, women all over America threw wedding parties that day to celebrate.  DAYS also maintained a 30 Nielsen ratings share through 1976.

The foundation of Doug and Julie's love story was crafted by Bill Bell, one of his many contributions to the countdown.

Bill Hayes was nominated for two Emmy Awards, in 1975 and 1976.  He won a Soapy Award as Outstanding Actor in 1977, the same year Susan Seaforth Hayes was voted Outstanding Actress.  Susan was nominated for Emmys four times from 1975 to 1979.

From Patrick Erwin (A THOUSAND OTHER WORLDS): Daytime’s answer to great silver screen couples. Doug and Julie’s story played out like a matinee movie – grand but seldom over the top. The fact that Bill and Susan Hayes were falling in love along with Doug and Julie made it all the more believable.

- Doug and Julie's first kiss (1970)
Doug and Julie's weddings (1976, 1981)
Doug and Julie in Foxy Humdinger's bed (1982)
Doug and Julie's reunion (2004)

Share your thoughts on Doug and Julie in our Comments section below or on our message board.

- 50 Greatest Soap Opera Actors: The Complete List
- 50 Greatest Soap Opera Actresses: The Complete List
- THE COMPLETE LIST: 25 Biggest Blunders In Daytime Soap Opera History


  1. Wow guys this is surprises, but I do love them. :)

  2. Nice to see them this high. They were high romance and have always been classy. I have only seen clips of early Doug and Julie and I can only surmise the fervor their story created.

  3. Doug and Julie were, next to Steve and Alice from "Another World" the quintessential couple of the 1970's. They surpassed Steve and Alice because, unlike Paul Rauch and Harding Lemay, the Cordays knew not to write out their core characters.

    Their 1976 wedding was a huge event (which can be viewed on youtube, by the way). Days was at its best when Doug and Julie were front and center.

  4. Oh . . . and I *STILL* have my copy of that Time Magazine! ;)

  5. Steve Frame and Doug Williams were the kinds of complex heroes that aren't written in soap today. They were charming and urbane but, underneath they were vulnerable due to their troubled childhoods. This vulnerability played out in their romances with strong women. Rachel and Julie both loved their debonair men but Doug and Steve both felt unworthy because of their poor backgrounds or looked for women like their mothers that they could save. These stories were told in subtle ways but were the through line of the romance.

    Today, male characters tend to lack vulnerability. Perhaps because they are called upon to be constantly heroic when saving their respective towns over and over again. The ultimate example is John Black on Days- 20 years later I still don't know the effects of being an Alamain (or a DiMera) on his psyche.

    However, I still remark that this type of subtle story telling is cheaper and more engrossing than big stories about poisoned water.

  6. I would have had them #1 hands down. Dulie are the definition of true supercouples in my view everybody else pales. I guess Luke/Laura will be #1.

  7. Roger, there's typo on the top of this website where Doug and Julie (at #2) are behind Victor and Nikki (at #3) messing up the orders of the daytime soap couples cowntdown a bit!

  8. GAA!!!! Todd & Blair got SNUBBED?! Shenanigans!!!

  9. hmmm…who oh who could be #1…..(lol)

  10. Love them! They were #13 on my list of favorites, but they really do deserve to be #2! Only behind Luke and Laura!