James Reynolds, it is believed, may have logged more hours on television than any other African-American actor in the U.S. (since 1981). We made that statement in May of 2002 when we first published this profile. At that time, with over 19 years on "Days of our Lives" and another year as an Emmy nominated lead of NBC-TV's "Generations", he had averaged over 100 hours of airtime each year. Today that number has been blown out of the park. Mr. Reynolds has now been a Working Actor like no other amassing over 940 episodes on "Days" alone!
Reynolds was raised in the small farming community of Oskaloosa Kansas. "It was great growing up in a small town", he recalls. "The town's entire population came to only eight hundred and our lifestyle was generally one of peace and quiet, disturbed only rarely by an unexpected event. My grandparents told me of the time they were held hostage overnight by several escaped convicts from the nearby Leavenworth Federal Prison. That, of course, was the exception to the rule and it was the biggest news event to occur in OskaIoosa within anyone's memory".
In high school, the subjects Reynolds enjoyed most were English and History. With a small student body, there was never any shortage of extra-curricular activities and, in addition to performing in many school plays, he became very active in sports, playing football, basketball and track.
Following graduation from high school, Reynolds joined the Marines. After boot camp he was assigned to the Information Service Office where, first stationed in Hawaii, he became a reporter for the service newspaper, The Windward Marine. Later he was sent to Vietnam and served for almost a year with a variety of units in and around Chu Lai, adding battlefield reporting to his combat duties, until a wound resulted in his discharge.
Returning to the States, Reynolds enrolled in Topeka's Washburn University, majoring in pre-law and journalism. Advised that the best place on campus to meet girls was the theatre department, he began auditioning and performing in plays. In addition to his improved social life, Reynolds reaped another unexpected benefit -- he discovered a passion for acting. He went an to appear not only in regular campus productions of musicals and dramatic plays, but with local theatre groups as well.
Reynolds enjoyed campus life but, after all the travel he did in the service, he often became restless and took periodic breaks from his studies in order to travel the country. Working the docks of Houston, the orange groves of southern California or hopping freight trains in between, he got a unique look at the U.S. before deciding to leave school permanently and heading to San Francisco where he worked as an actor for a time.
A few months after landing in San Francisco, Reynolds' life took another turn. Finding it necessary for family reasons to return to Kansas, he used his experiences and background in journalism to land a post with the Topeka Daily Capitol for which he wrote on theatre, film and music. It was here, over a period of almost two years, that he met and interviewed many film and TV stars on tour with stage plays and it was here that he resolved to pursue a professional career in acting. When he learned a few years later that a new repertory was being organized in Colorado Springs, Colorado, he auditioned and was accepted. Reynolds played major roles in a number of productions until, barely through its inaugural season, the company went broke. Undaunted, Reynolds simply walked into the offices of the Colorado Springs Sun and landed another newspaper job as entertainment reviewer and feature writer, a job which still allowed him time to investigate other acting jobs in the area. Soon, he landed his first television commercial as well as a featured role in "Mr. Majestyk", which starred Charles Bronson and was filmed in Colorado.
Finally moving to Los Angeles, Reynolds soon amassed an impressive list of prime time television and motion picture credits as well as becoming one of the foundation blocks of " Days of Our Lives". In addition to guest spots on such series as "Seinfeld", "Highway to Heaven", "Room 227" and "Hart to Hart", he co-starred with Vincent Price in CBS's "Time Express" and appeared in such films as "The Magic of Lassie", "The Foundation" and "Hotline". Continuing his interest in theatre, he organized and ran the Los Angeles Repertory Theatre for seven years.
Deeply committed to his charitable work, Reynolds has been involved in more that 300 fund-raising events in the last ten years. He annually hosts a celebrity basketball game that raises money for South Pasadena's High School basketball team.
Reynolds, wife Lissa, and son Jed also own and operate Big Man Apparel, a line of clothing that takes a stand against domestic abuse (tee-shirts bear slogans such as "Big Men Don't Hit, They Hug"). They devote a portion of the proceeds to various children's charities.
Reynolds is still an active sportsman, enjoying basketball and racquetball on his days off. He and his wife make their home in suburban Los Angeles.
Abraham 'Abe' Carver
Henry Marshall #2 (1990-1991)
Ron Chandler (as James V. Reynolds)
Frank La Rue
Mr. Payton / Mr. Gibson
Barsak (as Jim Reynolds)
African Leader / Additional Voices
R.J. Walker / Conductor R.J. Walker
Tom (hospital receptionist)
Officer Wilson (as James V. Reynolds)
Johnson, Income Maintenance Technician (uncredited)
Black Prisoner (uncredited)
"Journey To Day"
"Paul Robeson: An American Tragedy"
"I, Too, An America"
"A Thousand Clowns"
"The Odd Couple"
Dr. Louis Gutera
L.A. Rep Theatre
L.A. Rep Theatre
New Playrights Foundation
L.A. Cultural Arts Center
Toff-Rey Prods,, L,A,
Toff-Rey Prods., L.A.
Company Rep Group
Company Rep Group