He’s often referred to, but we’ve yet to see Ava’s father on Days of Our Lives. Beginning May 2nd that will all change, as we’ve learned the role of Martino Vitali has been cast in the form of Joe Penny.

A familiar face to primetime TV, Penny has starred in such series as “Riptide,” “Jake and the Fatman,” and most recently, the Hallmark Channel’s “Jane Doe” series, also starring Lea Thompson. The veteran actor has also made memorable guest starring appearances in a long list of television shows including, “CSI,” “The Sopranos,” “Walker Texas Ranger,” “Touched by an Angel” and “T.J. Hooker.”

As for the character of Martino, all we really know about him is that he conducts shady business, keeps a tight grip on his daughter and doesn’t much like Steve. With such a seasoned actor taking over the role, it’ll be interesting to see just what the real story is on the head of the Vitali family.