Planned to study orchestral conducting in college and was a candidate for a Fulbright Scholarship, until a drama teacher suggested he try acting. Played clarinet with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in New York for two years to support himself while studying acting with Stellar Adler. First major stage role was in A View From the Bridge with Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman. Made TV history when he appeared on a 1974 episode of All in the Family and became the first person, other than Archie, to sit in Archie Bunker's beloved chair. Days of Our Lives writer Pat Falcon-Smith created the villain Stefano DiMera for him after seeing him on the 1981 mini-series The Gangster Chronicles. Won Soap Opera Digest Award for Outstanding Villain in 1984, 1985 and 1987. Appeared on The Bold and the Beautiful from 2001-06 before reprising his role as Stefano on Days of Our Lives in 2007. Has a road in Ocilla, Ga., named after him in appreciation for his charity work.