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Days of our Lives Icon Joseph Mascolo Passes Away At 87

Courtesy/NBC

In heartbreaking news on Friday, the soap world has learned that  Days of our Lives iconic Joseph Mascolo (Stefano DiMera) has passed away at age 87.

Mascolo, beloved for his portrayal of the evil villain Stefano DiMera died on Wednesday, December 8,  2016. He had battled Alzheimer’s disease for many years.

He is survived by his wife, Patricia Schultz-Mascolo, his son Peter, his step-daughter Laura, and his sister, Marie and her husband Ronald LaVoie. He also had five grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, one niece, one nephew, 3 great nieces, one great nephew and one great-great niece.

In a statement DAYS executive producer, Ken Corday expressed: “It is with great sorrow that we share the news of the passing of our dear friend and beloved member of the Days of our Lives family, Joseph Mascolo. 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.”

From the official press release on Mascolo, and his daytime career it noted: “Ironically, his first foray into television was in the role of Domino in the daytime drama General Hospital.  But it was his appearance in the made-for-television mini-series The Gangster Chronicles  that attracted the attention of Pat Falken-Smith, then head writer for Days of Our Lives, that took his  career in an unexpected new direction. She created the role of Stefano DiMera specifically with  him in mind and though he at first turned the role down because he did not want to be tied down to  a long-time contract, she was relentless in her desire to have him be her Stefano. Joe became an  instant fan favorite and continued as Stefano on Days for 18 years, taking time off now and then to do theatre, his first love. He has been nominated for numerous Daytime Emmys, and was awarded two successive Favorite Villain Awards by the editors and readers of Soap Opera Digest.

In 2001 Stefano DiMera said farewell to Salem and Mascolo left Days of Our Lives to take a well-deserved vacation and pursue other career options. But very quickly Bradley Bell, Executive Producer of the CBS daytime drama The Bold and the Beautiful called and offered to create a role  for him on his show. The character of Massimo Marone was created and the history of that show was shaken when viewers found out that Massimo, not Eric Forrester, was the real father of Ridge – a startling revelation which set the course for years of exciting new storyline. He left The Bold and  the Beautiful in August 2006.  He returned to Days of Our Lives in 2006 to resume his iconic role of Stefano DiMera and  continued there until his last performance 2016. Aside from his career, Mascolo had given freely of his time and talents to a wide variety of causes. A street in Ocilla, Georgia was renamed “Mascolo Drive” in recognition of the efforts he made in helping to build a group home for mentally and emotionally impaired citizens in the remote southeast corner of that state. He was very  involved in the fundraising efforts of New Horizons, a non-profit organization in Los Angeles that  offers guidance, counseling and careers for adults with developmental disabilities, among numerous other charities that he supported.

Our thoughts and prayers and condolences are with Joseph’s famiy, and everyone at the Days of our Lives family.  Mascolo, was a one of a kind performer who meant so much too so many viewers worldwide.

On-Air On-Soaps will bring you reactions from the soap world in this developing story.  Share your thoughts and remembrances on the death and the performances of Joseph Mascolo in the comment section below.

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Ricardo
Ricardo

Very sad news, I am devasted the man was a terrific actor. Stefano Dimera was a wonderful character, Stefano was charming, evil but loved his children. He will be missed. RIP Joseph Mascolo.

Patrick
Patrick

“Oh, my, God ”

one of MY ALL-TIME, Faves: Joseph Mascolo

so much command

so much every thing

I believe he relished life

as for his character : outside of his conquering the world over for corporate

it was always his relationship with his offspring… that always caught me

intriguing man

Lexie, Kristen, Peter, Andre, Chad, Tony, EJ

Benji, Renee, Megan ( I do not know these)

Any and all scenes he shared with Celeste, Vivian

because of my love for DAYS – I could never thank Joseph Mascolo enough.

Godspeed

Johnny
Johnny

Very sad news, Joseph looked good for his age. I loved Stefano Dimera, he was a terrific actor. May he rest in peace.

Chloe
Chloe

He was always one of my favorites. No matter how bad Stefano was, he made him enjoyable to watch & helped humanize him. Rest in Peace, Joe. You will be missed.

k/kay
k/kay

My prayers are with his family my sister is in early dementia and she does not have children or a spouse basically my husband and I are her support team a terrible disease. I always enjoyed him when I watched the show he always gave it his all no matter how outrageous the storyline was.

Eric Gover
Eric Gover

You played the best bad guy EVER! Stefano will always be felt in Salem in one form or another. You will definitely be missed.

Mary SF
Mary SF

I am sadden to hear this news— another daytime great gone—-Stefano Dimera was my favorite villain and Joe’s portrayal was the biggest reason for that– my condolences to his family, friends and fans– I hope Days does a memorial episode because Joe was one of those actors and character in Daytime that deserves one.

Lou piikes
Lou piikes

I was about 12 years old when Stefano came to Salem. His character was bigger than life itself.

Mo
Mo

Very sad. I enjoyed him immensely as Stefano. Also enjoyed him as Massimo on B&B. I wonder if Massimo will die on B&B.

I’m sure he would be glad to know Stefano is still driving story on Days.

Boop
Boop

I wondered about Massimo too!

Rickie Boguille
Rickie Boguille

I believe his first daytime role was that of Ed Lucas on CBS’ “Where the Heart Is.”

Vicki
Vicki

A fine gentleman has left us. He was a great actor and he will be missed. I am hearing an opera and seeing a glass of wine and a chessboard . RIP Joseph

Peri Levine
Peri Levine

I wish he’d been treated better by Days in the end, his legendary character killed off in such a poor, undignified way. RIP Stefano and Joseph!

Chloe
Chloe

I agree. The way they killed him was awful. And now the inept, crooked SPD is trying to justify Hopeless murdering him by saying he arranged it and wanted it. Killing an unarmed, elderly man in a wheelchair is not justified & is definitely not “suicide by cop”. Stefano & Joe deserved better.

Boop
Boop

I agree ; unless he gave his okay to the way Stefano departed the show

vinman
vinman

REST IN PEACE JOSEPH!!!!

JustSaying
JustSaying

There’s a reason he’s called the Phoenix. May his afterlife be a blessed one.

Nicholas
Nicholas

I have just read this terrible news ! it’s so heartbreaking … the talent of that man , his presence on the screen , the accent made him unique and quite exceptionnal . Days of our lives will never be the same again and neither will be bold and beautiful ( yes he left many years ago but you always hoped for his return ) . Stefano for us soap fans was like the Blofeld character in the James Bond movies . Blofeld is the only other character i could compare Stefano to . I heard he knew or was even friends with Luciano Pavarotti : interesting if that were to be true . Thank you Mr Mascolo for your decades of entertainment in the soap industry , it was not missed on us , when the talent is there , the talent is there . My heart goes out to his family , his soap friends and colleagues .

davlestev1
davlestev1

R.I.P. Joseph Mascolo

Kenneth
Kenneth

I’m deeply sadden to hear Joseph Mascolo aka Stefano has died. He will be missed. Stefano was one of those character that you can’t see anyone play except Joseph. Thank you for your gift, now rest in the arms of GOD.#loveformascolo

sam
sam

Joseph Mascolo was ignored for 30 years at the daytime emmys.He was never ever nominated.

Patricio
Patricio

A loss to the soap world! They don’t make them like that anymore! God speed and thank you for sharing your talent with us. God Speed and God Bless!

Ray
Ray

One of the greatest characters in DOOL history. He was so larger-than-life, that I can’t help but think that even Joe will rise again like the Phoenix.

Beth
Beth

Joe Mascolo was a great actor and a terrific villain. I always appreciated how much he loved Daytime, and if he wasn’t on DOOL, he was on B&B. The man wanted to work, and he seemed to appreciate the fans and his co-stars and Daytime as a whole. He will be missed. Rest in peace, Mr. Mascolo.

Jimh(leave it to beaver)
Jimh(leave it to beaver)

Im without words…

Jimh(leave it to beaver)
Jimh(leave it to beaver)

Im trying to escape my own bad news…i have very little hope left!!!

Jimh(leave it to beaver)
Jimh(leave it to beaver)

Sorry…from now on i will keep my comments soap related…

Mary SF
Mary SF

This is the number of 24/7 prayer line– they might not be able to help, but they will listen– and offer hope– it is a free call in NA— 1-866-273-4444—I hope you stay with us–

Jimh(leave it to beaver)
Jimh(leave it to beaver)

Never mind i think i just leave the sight for good..its just one thing after another!!!

Christine Milligan
Christine Milligan

Rest in peace Joe! What a great bad boy you made. My day’s will not be the same.

Softjohn
Softjohn

Such a sad day for him and his family. May God bless him and his family!

Celia
Celia

Happy voyage, Joseph.
West Hartford is in mourning. I know so many people who knew you and loved you.
Many times I have visited your Alma Mater…..not too far from Choate….everyone will always hold you in high esteem…..you will be missed. God Bless.

Michelle
Michelle

R.I.P. Mr. Mascolo. Prayers to his family.

mark
mark

He was fun to watch!

Susan
Susan

Goodbye Mr. Mascolo. RIP Sir.

mike
mike

One of very few daytime actors who are not replaceable. The most memorable villan in the history of daytime.

penny
penny

Today’s episode was really creepy too. RIP Joseph Mascolo.

Patrick
Patrick

saints preserve us… smelling salts… rosary beads … all the shebang… no Hope

it’s a plausible back story to behind the scenes … may make sense.

kudos to Quan and Higley for trying to find dignity and save the HUGE enigmatic classically trained chess magnate

Joseph Mascolo IS Days of OUR Lives… he ignited LIFE… everything that DAYS undertook… the DiMera Clan were continually one step knowhow

just pure magic this family

I HATE the way Stefano was brought down… with three bumbling police force ( Roman, Rafe, Hope ) grans jewel is so dusty.

I love these characters… just in small doses… I do not buy in to.. Hope and Rafe. now that we have Quan and Higley… aren’t they smart enough to canvas the whole cast ? Rafe and Hope are not the show.

this show treads so far down… and it’s Ken Corday… the son of the great Ted and Betty Corday. that has left this show

SPLIT UP Rafe and HOPE… that may be all the justice, the audience needs

Hope has so much baggage… so fraught in Bo and the family bible. she’s dry

Rafe and Carrie for the WIN

Patrick
Patrick

Hi Penny… I know what you’re saying… it just doesn’t seem appropriate that they are doing every thing they can to “save” Hope…

BUT ?

not necessarily at the expense of THE character of Stefano

JUST

saving face ( ? )

if Quan and Higley can pull this off.. then I say kudos to this writing team for RESPECTFULLY giving the best character a lead out the door. why should he budge or give an inch…

unless his end to a means… is deemed otherwise

argh! once again… I have to climb aboard that cross if once again.. Hope magnificence wins out

JUST … NOT WITH RAFE !

Rafe and Carrie

you forced a pair on us.. and it’s just not quantifiable… ugh .. do we have to watch that

Boop
Boop

I agree -don’t save Hope at the expense of Stefano . She’s suppose to up hold the law ; not break it.

Patrick
Patrick

the 6-7 month jump VS. what’s currently happening… Is not in conjunction with the show

I know that… perhaps Quan and Higley realize they had to fix this mess.

whew!

Joel
Joel

What a man! What an entertainer! Loved him on both Days and B&B.

Boop
Boop

I’ll miss both Joseph and Stefano; the show won’t be the same! He was in my top ten of bad guys/girls in Soaps- in no particular order: 1.) Roger Thorpe (2.) Abby Ewing (3. ) Alan Spaulding (4.) J.R. Ewing (5. ) Victor Newman (6.) Asa Buchanan ( 7.) Angela Channing ( 8.) Rachel Cory ( 9.) Todd Manning and you know who.

Rest in the Lord!

Patrick
Patrick

Hi Boop

thanks for sharing… I love your top 10…. GET IT… writers of the last 4 remain

argh! i’m so sick of it… General Hospital… i’m sick of you… GH… sick of you.

Frank Valentini and Jean and Shelley ; with no imagination… are sinking GH

WITH

sonny and Carly ; Jason and Sam ; Finn and Hayden ; Michael and Nelle.

period

villians be it male or female… rose to the occasion.. stewed and simmered and passioned

MY – only – diss.. with your top 10… OVERKILL… i’m so done with Victor nuMAN

to replace that… Liza Colby, AMC… Marcy Walker… magnificent

Jane
Jane

RIP!

mollie
mollie

What sad news Joe was one of a kind! Loved him as Stefano and as Massimo on Bold and Beautiful. He seemed to have a great sense of humor and it seemed like the Days cast truly enjoyed working with him. So sorry to hear this.

Libby
Libby

I am so saddened by the news of Joe Mascolo’s death. He was talented and committed to making the best out of all that was presented on DAYS. Pat Falken Smith knew what she was doing when she snagged Joe for Stefano.

The character blazed a trail. I wish his last sotry had been a much better one. Joe Mascolo, by all accounts, still gave all.

Lovely tributes on Twitter. James Scott was very sweet in his words. I wish we had been granted a better farewell between EJ and Stefano. That is just how it goes at Days.

I hope they bring folks in for a round table and look at his career either in lieu of an episode or on CBS The Talk. I really cannot remember a bigger ourpouring of love even with the loss of Agnes Nixon, Claire Labine as of late.

Joe was one of the precious parts of Days. He truly will be missed. Those are not just polite words. It is reality.

Chloe
Chloe

It would be nice if they did a retrospective episode. I realize they tape 5-6 months in advance but I’m sure fans wouldn’t mind if they inserted a tribute episode to him sometime soon. Are you listening, Ken?

soapqueenforever
soapqueenforever

Although I was never a watcher Days, I do remember him on B&B. I loved the interaction he had with Susan Flannery. Aother icon of the soap world laid to rest. RIP, and my God bless youn and your family.

4ever DAYS
4ever DAYS

A different type of dark DAYS, but it’s OK because Joe is basking in the light. RIP, Joseph Mascolo.

Rodd
Rodd

Another Icon passes over. There was no one else like him. He will stand out for a long time to come just as he did while still walking this earth. Condolences to his family.

Angela
Angela

So sad. The daytime community has lost a legend. He was such a great actor. The Phoenix will rise no more! May he rest in peace.

xmascarol
xmascarol

This is so very sad,my heart goes out to all of Joe’s family and friends.May God be with you all and RIP Joe.You will always remembered for your great talent .but most of all you will be missed.

Lorraine
Lorraine

He was a great actor. I have been watching Days since it started in 1965. He will be missed. May he rest in peace.

blake
blake

Stefano is sooo missed on Days. I stopped watching around the time he left the show.

Rj
Rj

I am so sorry and sad to hear that the incomparable Mr. Mascolo/Stefano has passed. Some how you had hoped that The Phoenix would rise one more time, but he will live on as one of The Greats. His distinguished portrayal of the complex Stefano with a loving, caring, and gentle heart for his family, but evil, sinister, and controlling ways with the world will always stand out as one of the finest performances. He knew how to draw the audience in and capture your attention. You could watch him endlessly because he did not just act as Stefano he became Stefano, and he portrayed all the dimensions and depth of the character so well. He leaves an accomplished legacy. As others have said, I hope that Days will do a lengthy tribute to Mr. Mascolo/Stefano. We will certainly miss him.

Bill
Bill

So glad to see his role of Domino on “General Hospital” mentioned here … didn’t realize that he had not yet done Stefano at that period. Urbane, smooth-talking villain there, too. Had great scenes with Jane Elliott. Also remember him in “Jaws 2.” RIP

lecia
lecia

Terrific actor. So sad to hear of his death. I had a lot of problems with the cartoonish way they wrote his character the last couple of years but his talent could not be denied. He was so good no one had any idea he was battling Alzheimer’s. Talk about courage and grace. RIP. God Speed.

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