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.
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