During his long acting career, Mascolo was best known for playing the role of the evil Stefano DiMera on the NBC soap opera "Days of Our Lives".
He joined the Days cast in 1982 and made crime lord/business tycoon Stefano DiMera into one of the most hated (and most loved) bad guys in soap-opera history.
Mascolo had roles in many other TV shows and mini-series including General Hosptial, Bronk, Santa Barbara, and The Gangster Chronicles.
A statement released Friday by NBC on behalf of Mascolo's wife said he died Wednesday after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease. "I will miss him every day‚" said his wife‚ Patricia Schultz-Mascolo in a statement. He also appeared in films including "Jaws 2" as a property developer, "Shaft's Big Score", "Sharky's Machine", and the 1986 thriller "Heat".
"So long Joe. I'll miss you, yet a part of you will always be with me and for that lovely gift I am so happy and grateful" posted James Scott, who played Stefano's son EJ DiMera on the soap.
The character's leitmotif was that each time he seemed to die, he would return, fulfilling the soap opera cliche of the villain "returning from the dead".
Despite his character's dastardly scheming, Mascolo was much-beloved on the set of Days, one of the few soap operas still running on network television. 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 are with all of the members and extended members of the Mascola Family at this time".
Mascolo is survived by his wife; his son, Peter; his stepdaughter, Laura; his sister, Marie; five grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.