It's not many acting hopefuls who get the chance to personally quiz the likes of Jack Nicholson
, Michael Douglas
, Madeline Kahn
and Peter Fonda
on how to make it "big" in Hollywood, so when a young James Reynolds got the opportunity, he grabbed it. Having studied journalism in college, James spent time as a film reviewer for the Topeka Daily Capitol and, as part of his duties, interviewed a number of filmdom's brightest talents. James' research paid off as viewers who have seen him regularly on Days Of Our Lives
After serving as stalwart police Commander Abe Carver on Days Of Our Lives
for nine years, James moved to the new series, Generations
in 1991 to play powerful business tycoon Henry Marshall. He was rewarded for his powerful portrayal with an Emmy nomination as Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. With the subsequent demise of that series, James was invited to return to Days Of Our Lives
where he has been promoted in rank to Commander and named the top law enforcement official in Salem, the mythical community which is home to Days Of Our Lives
. James has subsequently established Abe Carver as the longest running African-American character in television history, and James, of course, the only African-American actor to portray a single character for so many years.
Despite his heavy schedule on the series, James, along with partner Morey Sullivan, still finds time to head Free State Productions, a film and TV production company headquartered in Kansas, and to make occasional appearances on stage in Los Angeles. He starred in Buffalo Soldier
, a taut drama about black US Army troops in the American West following the Civil War for which he was nominated for a NAACP Theatre Award. When time permits, James tours colleges in his one-man show, I, Too, Am America
, a commentary on the African-American experience from the time the first slaves were brought to this country up to the present. James and wife Lissa are also the Artistic Directors for the award winning Fremont Centre Theatre.
James, and his wife, actress Lissa Layng Reynolds
, own and operate s Unlimited a learning centre in South Pasadena, California, where one can enrol in such s as "How to Write a Romance Novel", "Rapid Spanish", "Basic Bookkeeping", "Gold Prospecting", many computer s, and a variety of other s. The South Pasadena Chamber of Commerce recently named James and Lissa
Business Persons of the Year. The Pasadena Weekly has also named them as one of the one hundred most influential couples in the Pasadena area.
One of James' greatest honors is being named to the Kansas Historical Society's list of famous Kansans, a list that includes such notables as President Dwight Eisenhower, Amelia Earhardt, Langston Hughes
, Barry Sanders
, and many others.
Deeply committed to his charitable work, James has been involved in more than 300 fund raising events in the last ten years. He annually hosts a "Bowl-a-thon" in Los Angeles to benefit the National Asthma Center and a celebrity basketball game in South Pasadena for the city's schools. Haven House (a home for battered women and children in Pasadena), the PTA, YMCA, the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, The National Asthma Center, The National Jewish Hospital, the Boy Scouts of America and numerous other national and local charities and service organizations have recognized James' work with awards and commendations. James, Lissa
, their son Jed and other members of their family have established 'Big Men Stuff'; a company that utilizes clothing items with slogan embroidered on them (such as: Big Men Don't Hit They Hug) to help in the fight against abuse.
James' son, Jed is a student at the University of California at Santa Barbara.
James is listed in Who's Who in Entertainment
, Who's Who African-Americans
, Who's Who in Business
, and Who's Who International