James Reynolds has to be one of the busiest, most positive people working in Hollywood today.
You soap fans know who I’m talking about–Police Captain Abe Carver on NBC’s “Days of Our Lives,” the network’s longest-running scripted series (45 years) to date.
Reynolds began in that role 1981, and for some 28 years he’s kept the “Days of Our Lives” cast of characters under the watchful, knowledgeable eye of the law.
However, after the first nine years Reynolds moved to the new daytime series “Generations” where he earned an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. With the subsequent demise of that series, Reynolds returned to “Days of Our Lives” in 1991.
Reynolds, a former Marine, worked as a journalist in the corps but got the acting bug while attending college. A friend talked him into auditioning for a play, and he realized he liked acting, and went for it.
Ironically Reynolds says he never thought about acting in a television soap opera, but he was fresh off the CBS series “Time Express,” which starred the iconic actor Vincent Price, when he got the call from the soap producers. Always ready for an adventure, Reynolds says at that time in the ’80s it was the heyday of soaps, and the daily dramas were hitting their stride. He says, “I did it because it was a chance to do something I hadn’t done before.”
Reynolds had already amassed an impressive list of prime-time television and motion picture credits. From guest spots on such series as “Seinfeld,” “Highway to Heaven,” “227,” and “Hart to Hart” to appearing in such films as “The Magic of Lassie,” “The Foundation,” and “Hotline;” not bad for a small town guy hailing from the farming community of Oskaloosa, Kan.
In 2004, Reynolds received a NAACP Image Award nomination for Best Actor in a Daytime Drama for his role on “Days of Our Lives,” followed by a 2004 Daytime Emmy nomination for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama.
He admits that there have been “a lot of rocky times” while working in Hollywood. He says “Anybody that survives in this business for any length of time … the rocky times are there. Fortunately I’ve been able to survive all those,” he continued.
Reynolds says working on a soap was a great way to have a family, and raise his son, including having time to coach a little league team, showing up at high school events and spending quality time with his wife and son. He describes himself as “a long-term guy” married to his wife 25 years, living in his house for 22 years, and appearing on “Days of Our Lives” 28 years.
Despite his busy schedule, Reynolds heads Free State Productions, a film and TV production company involved in producing documentaries, movies and music videos. And did I mention he enjoys directing and performing on stage? He starred in “Buffalo Soldier” at Theatre/Theater; this was a taut drama about Black U.S. Army troops in the American West for which he was nominated for an NAACP Theatre Award. Unfortunately, this article doesn’t have the space to list his stage work and his commitment to charitable work.
And don’t think his home state hasn’t noticed his accomplishments. Reynolds’ name was added to the Kansas Historical Society’s list of famous Kansans, and he’s right up there with Langston Hughes, Amelia Earhart, President Dwight Eisenhower and Barry Sanders, just to name a few.
Reynolds says he’s “very proud to be the current national chair for the Department of Veterans Affairs Salute to Hospitalized Vets, a position he’s held for four years. He tours hospital facilities around the country and participates in programs that draw attention to our soldiers.
Keep your eyes on NBC’s “Days of Our Lives,” because the producers promise to bring sweeping changes to the show that are filled with romance and intrigue; rumor has it that big surprises will be coming to Salem.
And Reynolds is excited about “Law & Order: SVU” star Tamara Tunie, who joins the series for a special story arc.
I tried to get the lowdown, but nothing doing; we have to tune in and watch. “Days of Our Lives” airs weekdays at 1 p.m. or your check local listing.
Gail can be reached at email@example.com.