James Reynolds

(Deb) Frank you know when I as growing up even though it wasn’t in Kansas, people all over the country were like me grew up watching the stories everyday and Mom and my Aunts, and especially some of the guys hated to admit it, but they were watching the stories too. And those soap operas have just become such a piece of our culture and just so ingrained. It’s like family, really that you feel about. And you’ve got a great story today about a soap opera star from right here in Kansas. (Frank) Yea Jim Reynolds, of course his professional name is James Reynolds, but Jim grew up in Oskaloosa. And Linda and I, my wife and I, were involved with the Dale Easton Players for about 26 years, and Jim was part of the Dale Easton players at one time. We did shows downstairs in McFarland’s, if you can believe it or not. We did regular shows and we did The Drunkard there. Then we went to Apple Valley Farm. And those were the years that Jim was involved in the Dale Easton Players. I remember because I laugh about it every time I think about it, he played Miles Gloriosus in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. And I just remember cause he has this big deep voice. And there’s a line that Miles has, Step back, I take big steps. And I can just see Jim saying that today. But Jim joined the cast of Days of Our Lives, I believe in 1983. They’re celebrating 50 years on the air, this year. And Jim’s been with them for about 30 of those years. Of course, he’s Abe Carver on the show and he left the show for a little bit, but he has come back. And he’s been mayor, police chief, the commissioner of police, and everything else on there. (Deb) Well he’s one of those stalwarts on the show too. And like you said that voice and everything. He has a great, commanding presence, the trust worthiness No doubt because he’s a native Kansan. Let’s take a look. (Frank) Oskaloosan. Jim Reynolds. Millions have been viewers have been following the tangled storyline of soap opera Days of Our Lives for fifty years. For many of those, James Reynolds has portrayed Abe Carver, policeman, mayor, commissioner and all-around decent guy and heartthrob. The Oskaloosa native graduated high school and then joined the Marines where he worked in information services and was a reporter for the Windward Marine. Back in Kansas, he attended Washburn and worked as a DJ at WREN Radio. He reviewed films for the Topeka Daily Capitol giving him the opportunity to interview the likes of Jack Nicholson, Michael Douglas, and Peter Fonda. He found a passion for theater and was part of the Dale Easton Players, who performed in Topeka and at the Apple Valley Playhouse. So did his close friend, Marilyn Schreffler, who paved the way to Hollywood. She and Jim shared the same theatrical agent. Marilyn appeared in several national TV commercials. And, just before her untimely death due to cancer, she was the ghost in the inn in the Bob Newhart Show. Jim and his wife, actress Lissa Layng, own and operate the Fremont Centre Theatre in South Pasadena. Jim heads Free State Productions, a film and TV production company involved with documentaries, movies and music videos, as well as making occasional appearances on stage in Los Angeles. He starred in Buffalo Soldier, a drama about black U.S. Army troops in the American West following the Civil War for which he was nominated for an NAACP Theatre Award. He also starred with other Vietnam veterans in the acclaimed drama Tracers. Reynolds tours colleges in his one-man show, I, Too, Am America. The show, written and performed by Reynolds, is a commentary on the African-American experience from the time the first slaves were brought to this country up to the present day. Reynolds’ charitable work includes raising money for South Pasadena’s High School basketball team and for the Pasadena chapter of Ronald McDonald’s House. Reynolds has also toured with the USO to the Mediterranean, Kuwait and Afghanistan to meet and show support for our troops overseas. He also participated in the first USO Celebrity Education Program. One of Reynolds’ greatest honors was being added to the Kansas Historical Society’s list of famous Kansans. Another honor came in 2003 when Reynolds was awarded the Heroes and Legends TV/Film Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions made in the entertainment industry.

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