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Bryan Cranston Shares Heartfelt Memory Of DAYS's Bill Hayes

Bryan Cranston, Bill Hayes

Robin L Marshall/Getty Images; John Paschal/

Before Bryan Cranston found award-winning success in prime-time (MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE, BREAKING BAD), film (Saving Private Ryan, The Lincoln Lawyer) and Broadway (All The Way, Network), and even before he cut his teeth in his first long-term daytime role, LOVING’s Doug Donovan (1983-85), he was a young and inexperienced actor trying to find his footing in the business. Enter Bill Hayes, DAYS’s Doug, who passed away on January 12 at the age of 98. Commenting on Deadline‘s announcement of Hayes’s death, Cranston recalled, ” One of my first professional acting jobs was on Days of Our Lives. It was 1980 and I won a 3 day gig on the show. My first day was a disaster. I failed to fully extend the stem on my alarm clock and missed my call time…Panicked, I raced to NBC and arrived over two hours late…I was embarrassed, and failed in my first attempt at making a positive impression. I missed the rehearsal of my two scenes, and the irritated stage manager arranged for an assistant to give me a quick review of the blocking, then I was on my own. Trying not to fall into a shame spiral, I was alone in my tiny dressing room when there was a knock on the door. I opened it to see Bill Hayes – the star of the show. For a moment I thought he was coming to fire me personally! Instead, he said some comforting words, commiserating with my situation, and asked if I wanted to know the backstory to the character and the scene. I was shocked. He spent 20 minutes helping a stranger to feel a little less humiliated. He really cheered me up. I will never forget his kindness and patience. From that moment, I think of Bill whenever I see an actor in need. Bill Hayes was a Prince, and a damn fine actor. Rest now, Bill, and thank you.”