NBC ‘Days of Our Lives’ (DOOL) Spoilers reveal that Joseph Mascolo first appeared as the OG Stefano DiMera in Salem on January 18th, 1982. We came to eventually know him as The Phoenix because he died so many times and was brought back to life. He was romantically linked to several of Salem’s Vixens, including Dr. Marlena Evans (Deidre Hall) and fathered a whole slew of children! Some of which are still in Salem, kicking up a fuss as DiMera children are apt to do. But what about the man behind the Phoenix? We know all about evil Stefano, but we didn’t really hear all that much about the guy who played him. So for just a moment, let’s sit back and reflect on the life of one Joseph Mascolo, the man who, without him, the role just wouldn’t have been the same.
NBC ‘Days of Our Lives’ (DOOL) Spoilers: Beginnings
He was the son of immigrants from Naples Italy, on March 13th 1929 in West Hartford Connecticut. After graduating high school he attended the US Military Academy and then went on to attend the University of Miami. Afterwards he went to New York where he was classically trained in music and opera. He studied under famed acting coach, Stella Adler. He started his career in theatre, as most actors do and from 1962 until 1968 had a really good run. He starred in such productions as “Night Life” as Kazar and he understudied Neville Brand, in 1966 he was in “Dinner at Eight” as Ricci, and in 1969 he was in the play “The Time of Your Life” as Blick.
NBC ‘Days of Our Lives'(DOOL) Spoilers: Big Screen
The late 60’s and early 70’s was the time that Mascolo started getting into the big screen films. In 1968 he was in Hot Spur as Carlo, 1972 saw him in Shaft’s Big Score, in 73 he was in The Spook Who Sat by the Door, and in 1978 he was in the critically acclaimed Jaws as Len Peterson. He also made film appearance is 1981 and 1982 in Sharky’s Machine as JoJo Tipps and in 1982’s Yes, Giorgio. His last film role came in 1986 in “Heat” as Baby.
NBC ‘Days of Our Lives'(DOOL) Spoilers: Television and Daytime
From then on, Mascolo’s career was exclusively devoted to television. From 1982-1985 he had a recurring role as Stefano DiMera and the character just stuck around as one of the most iconic soap opera villains of all time, doing repeat stints from 88, 93-2001, then making off and on again appearances from 2007 until his death in 2016. Days wasn’t his only daytime role, apparently he played roles in Where the Heart Is, and From These Roots. He also played a very Stefano-like villain on General Hospital named Nicholas Van Buren. He was also in such primetime shows as All in the Family, Lou Grant, The Eddie Capra Mysteries, and The Rockford Files.
NBC ‘Days of Our Lives'(DOOL) Spoilers: Not just a villain!
If you think the only thing he has played are villains, then you’d be wrong, in 2001 he came on the scene as Ridge Forrester’s (Thorsten Kaye) real father, Massimo Marone! Massimo Marone was a shipping mogul whose business were rumored to have connections to underground organized crime, but that didn’t seem to be that big of a deal and nothing ever really came of it. However it was said that Massimo was a confidante to Stephanie Forrester (Susan Flanery) for years and they had once had a tryst in college that, according to a hospital DNA test, resulted in little Ridge! Woops! If you know anything about the current goings-on at B&B then you’ll know why this factoid is so amusing, but I digress – for now.
NBC ‘Days of Our Lives'(DOOL) Spoilers: The Un-Bad Guy
Unlike Stefano DiMera, his off-screen counterpart married his wife, Rose Maimone in 1953 and was with her until her death in 1986. It was a very long time until he got married again, and that was to second wife Patricia Schults in 2005. In 2016, when Mascolo suffered a stroke and had to go to rehab he decided that it was time for Stefano to leave Salem for good. He died later on that year after years of battling Alzheimers. The role of Stefano has been passed on to our dear Steven Nichols, who seems to be doing the role justice, currently, but you never forget the OG. Here’s you to, Joseph. For any other soap opera and entertainment news, please visit Daily Soap Dish. For more royal and celeb baby news, come back to Celeb Baby Laundry.