INTERVIEW: Days of our Lives' Susan Seaforth Hayes reacts to her Emmy nomination

Posted Tuesday, June 02, 2020 8:07:25 AM

Days of our Lives' Susan Seaforth Hayes (Julie Williams) opens up about her sixth Emmy nomination, her earliest moments with Bill Hayes (Doug Williams), and the special escape that soaps provide during troubling times.

The Daytime Emmy Awards are always a wild ride for Susan Seaforth Hayes (Julie Williams, Days of our Lives), who is celebrating her sixth nomination in the Outstanding Supporting Actress category. She's had the pleasure of sharing the category with some huge names in the industry -- like One Life to Live alum Judith Light (ex-Karen Wolek) -- and she has experienced the honor of receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award, which she shared with her real-life husband, Bill Hayes (Doug Williams), last year. This year will be another crazy adventure, seeing as how the ceremony will be taking place virtually, and actors will be accepting their awards from home for the first time in history. Soap Central caught up with Seaforth Hayes to find out how she feels about the technologically advanced ceremony, what it's like to be nominated once again, and if the emotional scenes in which Julie said goodbye to Doug before she died still grip her heart today.

Soap Central: Congratulations on your Emmy nomination, Susan!

Susan Seaforth Hayes: Thank you! Yes, it's terrific. This is number six!

Soap Central: Number six, wow! Does it feel the same as the first time you were nominated, or does each experience feel different?

Seaforth Hayes: Well, the first time I was nominated [and a few thereafter] were in the 70s and then I was nominated last year, so I've had a lot of gap years! [Laughs] But it feels really wonderful to receive that accolade again, and I'm looking forward to another terrific Emmy show, even under these circumstances of the pandemic. The show will be back on CBS, where I think they've done through the years 14 different Emmy shows, but in the last decade, the show has not been carried on television, which seemed to be a tragedy, to me, anyway, and now we're back on television with the award show. That proves that our loyal audience is still there! And the networks are grateful for it.

Soap Central: I think everyone is grateful for it! Especially now, because it's an event that brings us together, even if only virtually, and it provides comfort. I mean, soaps are part of the fabric of America!

Seaforth Hayes: Yes! Exactly. It's a comfort that is a good distance from current events. [We're] always aware of current events, but it's that delicious escape into the world of other kinds of drama besides your own and national ones.

Soap Central: Exactly. So how did you find out that you'd been nominated?

Seaforth Hayes: One of the producers called to congratulate me.

Soap Central: Oh, how nice -- straight from the source!

Seaforth Hayes: Yeah, it was very nice! [Laughs] And after that first call, all of the producers have called to wish me well and say that the nomination was deserved, and that has been a lovely moment for me.

Soap Central: Who did you share the news with first? I have a pretty good guess, but you never know!

Seaforth Hayes: My husband, of course! Yay, Billy! [Laughs]

Soap Central: Have you been in contact with your show's other nominees or vice versa to share congratulations?

Seaforth Hayes: There are very few people from the cast that I have seen, but I received congratulations from Jim Reynolds [Abe Carver], who won the Emmy for Lead Actor a couple of years back, and Deidre Hall [Marlena Evans], and Suzanne Rogers [Maggie Horton]. So, yeah, I've been fortunate to get some fist bumps from some of the nicest people in my life.

Soap Central: Which must be a nice feeling. It's always lovely to get that love from your colleagues and the people you care about, but it somehow seems to mean even more this year.

Seaforth Hayes: Exactly! It's wonderful, yeah.

Soap Central: What scenes did you end up submitting for your reel?

Seaforth Hayes: Julie's death.

Soap Central: I should have guessed!

Seaforth Hayes: She didn't quite die, but she came real close, and they wrote a beautiful scene between Doug and Julie, where she expires and then gets restarted in another episode, but this was the farewell to life and farewell to him. And we felt very emotional the day that we did it. It was wrenching, which it should be, and I thought that was my best work of the year.

Soap Central: The fans loved it because it was so, so powerful. As you said, it was emotional for you to film, but is it equally so now or when you were looking back on it to put stuff together for your reel?

Seaforth Hayes: Of course. Of course. Whenever we look back on love scenes between Doug and Julie, and we have been doing that lately quite a bit, looking at old, old tapes of things. We actually found our first scene together -- in the garage! [Laughs] And we looked at it, and I saw that there was chemistry between us that we didn't really realize was happening at the time, but the head writer [William Bell] did, and he scrapped his original story idea for my husband's character and put the two of us together and kept us together until he left the show to start The Young and the Restless. Looking at it now, I can see that it was as obvious to the audience as it was to the head writer, Mr. Bell. We were falling in love, falling madly in love, and there was even a parallel in my own life. The man I was seeing, I had been involved with him for six years, and it wasn't going anywhere, and the character of Julie was in an unhappy marriage, and there you are! I looked at who is now my husband and thought, "This is the most terrific human being I've ever seen. Boy, would I love to jump on him!" [Laughs] And it's kind of there, it's there in the scene. And it was always there in the music, when the show had a lot of music on it. So, I think the audience was pulling for us all along. They wanted us to be together, and they continue to want that, which is very dear and very sweet. Of course, the people who were watching the show, when all of this began in the 70s, many of them are no longer on the planet -- not that they've been taken away, but they've just faded away. So, it's a story that needs rekindling all the time as the audience changes, and fortunately -- very fortunately -- most of the writers through the years have written to that and supported that. They've supported that they may get into scrapes and they may have quarrels, but these two really love each other and belong together.

Soap Central: I'm also happy that the writers realize that and keep you together, because that's part of what makes Days of our Lives Days of our Lives!

Seaforth Hayes: Yes, we've also always thought so -- quietly! [Laughs]

Soap Central: What do you think about the competition in your Emmy category this year? You're up against some very talented women.

Seaforth Hayes: They're always talented people in the category. Supporting is a category that is wide open to all kinds of interpretations, and so there is all kinds of good talent in it, and this year, it is no different than all the others. In the other five times that I've lost, I've lost to terrific actresses: I lost to Susan Flannery [ex-Stephanie Forrester, The Bold and the Beautiful], I lost to Judith Light [ex-Karen Wolek, One Life to Live]. I mean, you can't complain about those ladies! They're tremendous. So, I know I'm fortunate to be included. Anytime you get nominated, no matter how vain an actor or an actress really is, it's humbling to be called up as potentially the best in your category.

Soap Central: We talked a bit earlier about how the ceremony will be televised this year, and it looks like it will be done via something like Zoom. How do you feel about that? Have you jumped on the Zoom bandwagon yet?

Seaforth Hayes: Oh, yes! The family Zooms from time to time. We have a techie in the family, a grandson who is a techie who helps up with that. So, we're managing! [Laughs] We'll see what happens. When we get closer to the event, I'm sure there will be more bulletins from CBS, but so far, all I have seen is, "To be announced." It's going to be 8:00PM on the 26th of June.

Soap Central: Do you think you'll get dressed up for the virtual ceremony?

Seaforth Hayes: Well, certainly dressed up from the waist up! [Laughs]

Soap Central: I love how everyone can just wear slippers, and everyone is saying, "Oh, I don't have to wear trousers!" It's cracking me up.

Seaforth Hayes: Many items of clothing have been not regretfully abandoned, just abandoned, yes! [Laughs]

Soap Central: How do you feel about the possibility of doing an acceptance speech online rather than in person in an auditorium with a live audience?

Seaforth Hayes: Oh, I think that everyone who prepares something and pre-tapes it will be eloquent. You know, when you're gasping for breath with the excitement, sometimes you don't get out the thought that you really wanted to get out. I'm trying to remember the name of the actor who is so wonderful, when he came up when he won a Tony, he said, "All I ever wanted was to be an actor." That's the first thing he said, and I thought, "Yes, that's it! Yeah! You've got that in common with how many million of us?!" [Laughs] Last year when we got the Lifetime Achievement Awards, we had prepared and prepared and prepared, but when you walk up to that podium and start talking, even though you're prepared and you knew it was coming, it's a big punch in the gut, and you're lucky to get anything out! [Laughs]

Soap Central: I know that you haven't been on set for a while, because DAYS isn't in production at the moment, but before you all went on break, many fan-favorite actors returned to the show -- people like Jay Kenneth Johnson (Philip Kiriakis), Alison Sweeney (Sami Brady), Martha Madison (Belle Brady), etc. Did you have the chance to work with any of them before the hiatus?

Seaforth Hayes: Have not, have not been asked. But I will say that Days of our Lives, because we tape so far ahead, still has new material through October. It's the only show with new material every day; the rest of the shows are stuck in the nostalgia moment. We're looking very smart right now! [Laughs]

What do you think about Susan Seaforth Hayes receiving an Emmy nomination for her work as DAYS' Julie? Do you think she'll take home the gold? We want to hear from you -- so drop your comments in the Comments section below, tweet about it on Twitter, share it on Facebook, or chat about it on our Message Boards.

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