Doug Williams has been on DAYS OF OUR LIVES for decades, so it’s perfectly understandable if even longtime fans of the soap might need a little refresher on his life story. The character was first introduced in 1970 and has always been played by actor Bill Hayes, who earned two Daytime Emmy Award nominations for his work in 1975 and 1976. In 2018, he was given the Daytime Emmy Lifetime Achievement Award for his immeasurable contributions to daytime television.
Originally born Brent Douglas, he encountered Bill Horton in prison when they were made cellmates. Despite a rocky start, they became fast friends behind bars and when Brent was finally released, he went to Salem to look up Bill… and Susan Martin, who had inherited a lot of money from her late husband. Now calling himself Doug Williams, he attempted to woo Susan, but she wasn’t interested. She did, however, pay him to seduce Julie Banning away from Scott Banning so she could have the guy for herself.
Doug set out to charm Julie and the pair ended up falling in love with each other for real. But they had to have a secret affair because she was still married to Scott so she could remain a part of her son David’s life. Eventually, she filed for divorce and Doug planned their romantic honeymoon in Italy. But Julie’s mother, Addie Horton, arrived in Salem and didn’t approve of Doug. She revealed all the skeletons in his closet, including his true identity, his criminal record, a previous marriage to Kim Douglas, and the affair with Julie. But Doug countered by reminding Addie of her own litany of sins, so she backed down and they even became friends.
After making his split from Kim official, Doug prepared to marry Julie but their happily ever after was derailed when they fought about her son, David. After an angry Julie walked out on Doug, Addie stopped by and proposed they marry instead. Julie was crushed when Doug eloped with her own mother! Somehow, their marriage actually worked and Addie bought Doug a restaurant he renamed “Doug’s Place.” However, despite this happiness, Doug was still in love with Julie. Addie learned she was pregnant, but was then diagnosed with Leukemia. She refused treatment for fear of harming her unborn child, and miraculously, she gave birth to their daughter, Hope, and her cancer went into remission. Tragically, just a few months later, Addie was killed when she was hit by a truck.
Deeply depressed, Doug threw himself into his work and fearing he could never give Hope a sibling, hired a surrogate to bear his child. He and Julie rekindled their feelings but she was now married to Bob Anderson. After David died in a car accident, Doug comforted Julie, and Bob offered to divorce her. Julie was hesitant because she was carrying his child, but after she miscarried, they split and she and Doug were free to be together. He tried to back out of the surrogacy, but the woman carrying his baby turned out to be Hope’s nanny, Rebecca North, and she agreed to keep the child a secret.
Doug and Julie’s happiness was again ruined when Kim returned to Salem and revealed she’d never signed the divorce papers. Doug fought with Kim to make the split official while also fighting his lingering feelings for his ex. Kim finally confessed that she’d lied and they were really divorced, but by that point, Julie was engaged to Don Craig! Doug tried proposing to Kim and she accepted, but eventually they all realized they were making a mistake and Doug and Julie were reunited. They finally tied the knot and enjoyed their honeymoon in Europe.
While enjoying married life with Julie, Doug experienced business troubles and Doug’s Place nearly went out of business due to competition from a casino run by Larry Atwood. When Julie became distant, Doug accused her of having an affair with Larry, but she confessed he’d actually raped her! When Larry was found shot dead, Doug tried to confess to protect Julie, but she was arrested. Thankfully, during the trial, it was revealed that one of Larry’s disgruntled employees had killed him and Julie was freed.
Doug and Julie were considering having another child when they learned that Rebecca had been killed in a plane crash and that her son, Dougie LeClair, was really Doug’s! Doug didn’t want to take custody of the boy from Robert, but still wanted to be a part of Dougie’s life, so the men came to an understanding. After Julie was badly scarred in an explosion, Doug tried to support her as she underwent reconstructive surgery, but when it failed, she left him!
Heartbroken, Doug took up with Lee Dumonde and they even got married. However, his heart still belonged to Julie, and a jealous Lee tried to kill her rival! Eventually, Doug got his divorce and he and Julie were remarried once more. Although they spent a lot of time traveling, Doug and Julie have returned to Salem for holidays and special occasions. Doug was also a victim of the serial killer and one of the Salem residents that ended up on the island before returning home to resume his life. In 2017, Julie teamed up with Chloe to buy and reopen Doug’s Place. And the following year, he was by his wife’s side as she suffered a heart attack and required a transplant.
In September 2021, Doug began experiencing confusion, mixing up names and locking Julie in the freezer at the club. Julie was concerned, but also fiercely protective of her husband. Although Julie feared her beloved husband had begun suffering from dementia, during a session with Marlena, it was revealed that Doug was actually possessed by the devil! As Marlena reacted to the shocking news, the devil left Doug and moved back into her. And when Doug tried to tell people about what had happened, the possessed Marlena had Doug committed to Bayview! Thankfully, Julie was able to check Doug out of the hospital and he exposed Marlena as the devil, leading to Salem eventually getting rid of the evil force once more.
Thankfully, things calmed down quite a bit after that adventure, and Doug returned to his normal life, doing things like offering Chad advice about his relationship with Stephanie.
Stay tuned to DAYS to see what happens next!