Los Angeles - Joseph Mascolo, who played bad guy Stefano DiMera on NBC's daytime serial Days of Our Lives, has died. He was 87.
Mascolo, who had Alzheimer's disease for a number of years, died Wednesday, according to a statement released by NBC on behalf of his wife, Patricia Schultz-Mascolo.
Although he was best known for his role as crime boss and mogul DiMera, Mascolo was a classically trained musician and appeared on Broadway in plays including Dinner at Eight and That Championship Season.
His wide-ranging TV credits included the prime-time series Kojak, Hill Street Blues and It's Garry Shandling's Show. He began on Days of Our Lives in 1982 and, despite taking breaks from the show, spent a total of more than two decades with it.
Mascolo also appeared in the daytime serials The Bold and the Beautiful, General Hospital and Santa Barbara.
R.I.P Stefano DiMera ... the greatest villian to ever do it no doubt! what a legend— Paradigm Shifter (@M6_Andy) December 10, 2016
Like sands through the hour glass so are the days of our lives.— Too High To Riot. (@Being_ole0804) December 10, 2016
RIP Stefano Dimera
#days My Joe Mascolo moment began as he came to my table in a press room.I yell THE KING! He tells me that is a good thing to say ...— DaysCafe Cathy (@DaysCafe) December 10, 2016
A native of West Hartford, Connecticut, he began studying music as a youngster and attended the University of Miami before deciding to pursue acting.
To support himself while he studied with famed acting coach Stella Adler in New York, Mascolo played clarinet with the Metropolitan Opera, according to his family.
During his long career, he appeared on stage in London and Los Angeles and was active in regional theater, including in New York and Connecticut.
On the big screen, he had parts in films including Sharky's Machine, Jaws 2 and Yes, Giorgio the latter giving him the chance to sing with Luciano Pavarotti.
He is survived by his wife, son, stepdaughter, sister and five grandchildren.