James Reynolds Nominated for Daytime Emmy

Reynolds, known as Abe Carver on the “Day of Our Lives” set, was nominated as best actor for a lead performance in a daytime drama series.

James Reynolds Emmy Days of our LIves
PHOTO: provided by James Reynolds

James Reynolds didn’t expect it, saying he “was completely shocked” hearing on Thursday morning that the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences had nominated him to receive an Emmy for his long-running role on the “Days of Our Lives.”

“I didn’t expect it,” said Reynolds, a longtime South Pasadena resident. “I just didn’t think I had the work or the scenes, at least for the parameters I had set for myself. I kind of allowed myself to being talked into it and submitted scenes that I thought, well, ‘this is as close as I can get.’”

Last October, a special show highlighting Reynolds’ 40 years as a cast member with “Days of Our Lives” aired on NBC. “The nomination was actually from scenes included from that show,” noted Reynolds. “It’s actually astounding to me that I get a nomination from a show that was dedicated to my 40 years.”

- Advertisement -

Reynolds, known as Abe Carver on the “Days of Our Lives” set, was nominated as best actor for a lead performance in a daytime drama series. Early on, Carver was the show’s police sergeant, later moving up the ranks to police commissioner and then, as he described, “a catastrophe hit the town, where the mayor was corrupt. I was persuaded to run for mayor, and currently have that position in Salem,” the mythical town the show takes place.

After 56 years, some might assume “Days of Our Lives” is the longest running daytime soap opera, but that distinction goes to “General Hospital,” which recently celebrated its 59th.

“It’s a family show,” explained Reynolds when asked what makes ‘Days of Our Lives’ so popular. “We have four key families to the show, maybe five. We have three good families, two bad families. I think people like that.  Religion plays a pretty good part in our show. I think it’s a kind of old fashioned, mid-western 1950s values in a lot of ways. We address all the issues and take on what’s going on in the world. I think that’s very important and the audience goes along with us.”

And with that success, Reynolds said “Days of Our lives” is streaming a new show called “Beyond Salem.” He appeared in the first episode and hopes to be apart of more in the future. “It takes the idea that things go on in Salem that you don’t see on the daily show,” he said. “The audience really seems to be enjoying it.”

PHOTO: Jim Warren | SouthPasadenan.com | Actor James Reynolds holds his Best Actor Emmy and his wife, Lissa Layng Reynolds at the 2018 Daytime Emmys held at Pasadena Civic Auditorium April 29.

Reynolds, friendly and down-to-earth, has spent 50-plus years on stage, screen and in television and is an acclaimed, big time star in most circles. Yet, in South Pasadena where everyone knows your name, he’s simply “James,” a good-natured soul who seems to fit in with the community like an old shoe.

The now five-time Emmy nominee proudly won his first in 2018, showing the shiny hardware as he was being honored by the South Pasadena City Council. After accepting a Certificate of Recognition, members of the council and the city manager gathered around for a picture, each one not missing an opportunity to touch the prestigious award.

He and his wife, Lissa, are the owners and co-artistic directors of the Fremont Centre Theatre in South Pasadena and both founding members of SPARC – the South Pasadena Arts Council.

Together, they have received numerous designations, perhaps, none more worthy than the South Pasadena Image Award presented by the mayor each year to “citizens who have worked in the community to enhance the city’s image.”

If Reynolds is fortunate enough to win another one, it would be the first Emmy that an actor of color has won more than one, whether it be in a lead or supporting role. “So that would be an exciting thing to do,” he said.

None of these television accolades would have come his way had Reynolds pursued his one-time goal of becoming a journalist, which he was in the Marine Corp. “That is what I wanted to do,” he said, noting that he became a war correspondent when he went to Vietnam. “I was set up to explore that, but I was introduced by a very close friend of mine to try acting because I was looking for a great place to meet girls. And he said, ‘Come to the theatre department. We’re casting tonight.’ And I did. I auditioned and things changed. This is where I was meant to be. I did become a journalist at different times to make a living. I wrote for a couple of newspapers and edited a magazine.”

But, ultimately, the excitement of lights, camera, action won out.

Never forgetting his young adult years, the unselfish, former war veteran has traveled the world more than 20 times visiting troops for the USO.

And looking back, growing up in Oskaloosa, Kansas, enlisting in the Armed Services, giving back to South Pasadena at every turn, and now with possibly earning a second Emmy, life is good.

“It has been quite a journey,” he reflected, one he hopes to continue for a long, long while.

A good journey, indeed.

The 49th annual Daytime Emmy Awards is scheduled to run Sunday, June 24, on CBS at 6 p.m. on the west coast.