Joseph Mascolo, Stefano DiMera From ‘Days of Our Lives,’ Dies at 87

“Joseph was a big ‘ol bear with a puppy dog heart,” his wife Pat Mascolo says

Joseph Mascolo
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Joseph Mascolo, who played Stefano DiMera on the soap opera “Days of Our Lives,” has died, his wife Pat Mascolo said Friday. He was 87.

“Joseph was a big ‘ol bear with a puppy dog heart,” Pat Mascolo said in a statement. “I’m so blessed to have had these many years with him. I will miss him every day.”

“Days of Our Lives” executive producer Ken Corday said in a statement that Mascolo will be “sorely missed.”

“It is with great sorrow that we are sharing 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,” Corday said. “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.”

Born in 1929 and raised in West Hartford, Connecticut, Mascolo originally trained in classical music before taking up acting. He originated the role of Stefano DiMera on NBC’s “Days” in 1982, recurring up until earlier this year.

Mascolo’s other credits included the 1978 film “Jaws 2,” playing property developer Len Peterson; and the Burt Reynolds films “Sharky’s Machine” and “Heat,” released in 1981 and 1986, respectively.

Though perhaps best known for his portrayal of the villainous DiMera, Mascolo appeared in a number of other soaps, playing roles on “General Hospital” and “Santa Barbara.” His small-screen appearances also included parts on “All in the Family,” “Lou Grant” and “The Rockford Files,” among others.

According to Soap Opera Digest, Mascolo died on Thursday, after battling Alzheimer’s disease for years.