Joseph Mascolo, who played iconic villain Stefano DiMera on the NBC daytime soap Days of Our Lives, has died. He was 87 years old.
Mascolo passed away Thursday after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease, the show said in a statement on Friday. He joined the Days cast in 1982 and made crime lord/business tycoon Stefano DiMera into one of the most hated (and most loved) bad guys in soap-opera history.
Mascolo left and returned to the role of Stefano several times over the years, even joining CBS’ The Bold and the Beautiful for an extended stint from 2001 to 2006. But he always came back to Days, most recently for the character’s death earlier this year. He also made appearances on TV shows like All in the Family and Lou Grant, and in films like Jaws 2 and Sharky’s Machine.
“It is with great sorrow that I’m sharing the news of the passing of our dear friend and beloved member of the Days of Our Lives family, Joseph Mascolo,” Days executive producer Ken Corday said in a statement. “The smile on Joe’s face is something we’d all come to find comfort in, and he will be sorely missed. His larger-than-life presence, kind heart and unwavering positivity has impacted us all for decades, and will live on in the memories of his many fans. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family during this difficult time.”