It was announced today that Joe Mascolo, best known for his role on "Days of Our Lives" passed away on Wednesday, December 7, 2016. The actor and musician was 87 years old. Here is a link to what was posted on NBC.
Joe Mascolo's Stefano DiMera was the phoenix who always rose, but he can't ever again. Of course, with soaps they could use more flashbacks. I hope Days mentions the real life death on screen with an on air announcement or in memory card. He played that role the longest on and off for over 30 years, and still listed as a contract cast member during the Days' credits. His other major soap role was Massimo from "The Bold and the Beautiful". On that show he played the former love of Stephanie, and Ridge's biological father. What I found interesting is his first credit in the Soap Opera Encyclopedia was for his part on "From These Roots" in 1961. He also was on "Where the Heart is" starting in 1970 (which was the show CBS cancelled to make room for "The Young & the Restless".) In the late 80s, he played a villain on "General Hospital" which was referenced as Domino on some sites, but in the history books was named Nicholas. He also did a bit part as a policeman on "The Doctors" in the late 60s, which aired on RetroTV. Joe was instantly recognizable and it was funny to see him on the other side of the law. (I can't comment about what he did on "Santa Barbara" as I never saw it, and have no information other than IMDB.)
If you've been a soap fan as long as I have, you know a little bit of his back story. Other than acting, Joe was a talented musician. He performed classical music both as a vocal artist and clarinetist. Whenever "Days" would use certain themes in the background with the character, it felt like they were referencing the actor's real life talents.
My heart goes out to his family, friends and fans. Many of us have seen countless hours of his work, and I hope that remains. I also wish that the people who he helped with his philanthropic efforts continue to get that support.