Joseph Mascolo, known for playing the iconic villain Stefano DiMera on Days of Our Lives, has died at 87. Mascolo first joined the long-running soap opera in 1982, taking on the role of a European businessman with, of course, a slew of shady connections to the crime world. Mascolo left and returned to Days several times in the decades since, while also taking roles on other soap operas such as The Bold and the Beautiful, General Hospital, and Santa Barbara. In addition, Mascolo also appeared on shows like All in the Family and Lou Grant, and in films such as Jaws 2 and Sharky’s Machine. “It is with great sorrow that I’m sharing the news of the passing of our dear friend and beloved member of the Days of Our Lives family, Joseph Mascolo,” Days executive producer Ken Corday said in a statement. “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.”
Mascolo, who was born in West Hartford, Connecticut, and trained as a classical musician before he started his acting career, had been living with Alzheimer’s diesase for several years before his death. He last appeared on Days earlier this year, when Stefano suffered the last of his numerous deaths on the show.