Actor Joseph Mascolo, best known to daytime audiences as the iconic Stefano DiMera on Days of our Lives, passed away on December 8 at the age of 87. Mascolo had been battling Alzheimer’s disease.
“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,” said executive producer Ken Corday in a statement. “The smile on Joe’s face is something we’d all come to find comfort in, and he will sorely be missed. His larger than life presence, kind heart, and unwavering positive has impacted all of us 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.
Mascolo played Stefano on DAYS on and off since 1982 — with his last appearance earlier this year. Mascolo jumped over to The Bold and the Beautiful in 2001 as Massimo Marino for five years.
Many of Mascolo’s co-stars have paid tribute to the late actor since the announcement. Lauren Koslow (Kate, DAYS) tweeted, “Good night, sweet prince… and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.” While Drake Hogestyn (John, DAYS) wrote “The Phoenix will rise… RIP Joe, we love you” on Twitter.
Former on-screen son James Scott (ex-EJ, DAYS) wrote “So long Joe. I’ll miss you, yet a part of you will always be with me and for that beautiful gift I am so happy and grateful.” Eileen Davidson (ex-Kristen, DAYS; Ashley, Y&R) wrote “Very sad to hear of the passing of the great Joe Mascolo. God bless him and keep him.”
Alison Sweeney (ex-Sami, DAYS) also took to Facebook for a nice tribute, “Some of my earliest memories of DAYS are working with Joe… I was really nervous to work with him because Stefano was such a strong, intimidating character and he embodied it so well. Joe was so talented, such a generous actor and always so prepared. I learned so much from working with him. Over the years, I go to know him much better and I stopped being so nervous around him (which probably made it easier for him) but I always had a sense of awe to work with him. There wasn’t a day when he didn’t give 100 percent to his performance and his character. When I became a director at DAYS, I remember him being so proud and supportive of me. Joe made a special point of pulling me aside to say that, having watched me on set, it really meant something to him. He was always such a kind and generous man with a fabulously wry sense of humour and a proud, strong and dedicated actor. He will be greatly missed.”
NBC has put together a photo tribute. Click here to check it out.