- 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.