James Reynolds is a daytime treasure. He’s the gift that keeps on giving at Days of Our Lives, where he won the Daytime Emmy in 2018 for Outstanding Lead Actor. The actor, born in Oskaloosa, Kansas has played Abe Carver, since 1981 (minus a break he took to head up the cast of Generations in 1991 – and get his first Emmy nomination for his trouble). He married his wife Lissa in 1986, and the two are equally involved in theatre and charity work in South Pasadena, California. But, it’s the effort in raising their son, Jed, that brings the most pride to the enormously happy and personable couple.
Are you ready to get back to work?
James: Absolutely. However, I want to be sure we are taking all precautions necessary to be safe against Covid-19.
Have you had any opportunities to sneak out of town in the open air?
James: We have considered renting a house at the beach or taking a driving trip, but each idea has a number of challenges we don’t want deal with right now. I’m not getting on an airplane for the rest of 2020.
Has this shut down given you new ideas of things you want to accomplish?
James: Of course. Now I have to find the energy to get them done. It takes a new way of creating. I’m impressed that so many people have seized this moment to find their passion.
Is there anything you’ve always thought of visiting, haven’t, but now you’re going to make sure?
James: I have been fortunate enough to have so many of my dreams come true and that includes travel. Now, I want to return to favorite places as diverse as Paris and Yellowstone.
Your Instagram post about your family history regarding slavery was perhaps the most important statement many of your fans, DAYS fans, everyone, could relate to. Was that satisfying to you, knowing the impact it has made?
James: I was extremely pleased that so many people wanted to share that story and that I could tie it into the national conversation we are finally having about race. Every person has a story. Every family has a tale to tell. As African-American much of my story and our story as a race has been banished to history’s attic. However, if we can share what each of us knows of those who came before we can begin to fill in the empty spaces.
Was there a lot of discussion in your household about America’s racial culture?
James: When I was a boy, race was a constant. It was the middle of the Civil Rights Era. We lived America’s racial culture. There were businesses we couldn’t enter. Each day brought new indignities, and verbal slights. Society placed limitations on our mobility. Parents placed limitations on ambition because they were afraid it would lead you to disappointment and maybe danger.
James: When I was 12 my mother and I spent two weeks in Mississippi and Louisiana. I realized racism and hatred knew no bounds. My sadness with the daily indignities were little compared to my southern brothers and sisters constant humiliations.
Is that something you had talked to Jed a lot about – both interacting with police and prejudice overall?
James: I think many parents of color speak to their children about how the larger – white – society sees them. Obviously we speak about how to interact with police. How to read the situation. Respond civilly without being aggressive. Remember what was said and how. His white friend have a privilege that his friends of color don’t have. You are constantly feeling for the temperature of the room. If you are a person of color accused of something you may not receive the benefit of doubt that your white buddy will. We talked a lot about treating people with kindness and good intentions. Hopefully it will be returned. Regardless, always be true to yourself and don’t allow anyone to take your dignity.
Have you ever spent so much time, 24 hours a day, day in and day out, with your wife? And how is that going – and would Lissa say the same?
James: Lissa and I would both say it is going well. We consider ourselves each others best friend so we enjoy our time together. We both love to read. We, usually, enjoy binging the same TV shows and movies. Basketball and baseball are sports we love to watch. Of course we operate our business together and sometimes our volunteer work. Throw in daily exercise and we are good.
What have you missed most – sporting events or movie theaters?
James: Sports, without question.
Have you picked up any new hobbies this summer?
James: Yes. Sleeping too late. Procrastination.
Have you been doing any cooking?
James: Absolutely. We are cooking. I’ve always enjoyed it. Delivery has become a newly discovered pleasure. Ordering online has made me more specific about the ingredients I use. Unfortunately, I find myself making a pie, ice cream, or some special dish every few days. Thank goodness we have plenty of time to work out.
What is your specialty?
James: No specialty. Literally everything from soup to nuts. Anyway, I do make great chocolate chip cookies, apple cobbler, and chili.
Is there a favorite food that your mother cooked that you have carried on the tradition?
James: Not really. Like so many midwestern midcentury kids I grew up around great food, but grease, butter, salt, and starch was a big part of it. Now its lean meat, vegetables, and sea food. I have not given up hot sauce and won’t.
Have you discovered and television shows that you’d never have found if it wasn’t for more free time?
James: Oh, my goodness yes. This is the Golden Age of TV drama and there is so much of it you can’t possibalily catch it all.
What is the last thing you’d never think you’d reveal in an interview?
James: My shoe size!