James Reynolds DOOL’s Abe Carver

Most of us know James Reynolds as Abe Carver on NBC’s Days of Our Lives soap opera from 1974 to the present. There is much more to the man than we know. As Days of Our Lives Fan Talk will show you, he has had an impressive background!

Early Life

Born on  August 10, 1946 in Oskaloosa, KS.


In high school, the subjects he enjoyed most were English and History. With a small student body, there was never any shortage of extracurricular 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, James 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.

Returning to the States, Reynolds enrolled in Topeka’s Washburn University, majoring in prelaw and journalism. Advised that the best place on campus to meet girls was the theater 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 on to appear not only in regular campus productions of musicals and dramatic plays, but with local theater groups as well.



Reynolds originated the character of Abe Carver on the NBC dramatic serial Days of Our Lives in 1981, which he has played since then. He has been on contract with the show since 1981 with only two short breaks in 1991 and 2003 where he still appeared as a recurring character.

He is the only actor to play the role of Abe Carver.

After serving as stalwart police commander Abe Carver on Days of our Lives for nine years, Reynolds moved to the new series, Generations in 1991 to play powerful business tycoon Henry Marshall, replacing actor Taurean Blacque in the role.

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, Reynolds was invited to return to Days where he was promoted in rank to Chief and named the top law enforcement official in Salem, the mythical community which is home to Days of our Lives.

James Reynolds Personal Life

His son Jed is a student at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Reynolds is an active sportsman, enjoying basketball and racquetball on his days off. He, his wife Lissa Layng Reynolds and son Jed reside in South Pasadena, California.

The husband and wife Artistic Director team of James Reynolds and Lissa Layng Reynolds bring an impressive background to the Fremont Centre Theatre as actors, producers, entrepreneurs, and for their community involvement.

One of Reynolds’ 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 Earhart, Langston Hughes, Barry Sanders, and many others.

Deeply committed to his charitable work, Reynolds 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.

James, has been nominated for two Emmys and four NAACP Image Awards and is known presently, and for the past twenty eight years, as the stalwart Commander (sometimes Mayor) Abe Carver on NBC’s popular daytime drama, “Days Of Our Lives”, where he has the distinction of being the longest running African American on television, in a continuous run. He also starred in the series “Generations” (where he was nominated for another Emmy), the series “Time Express” with Vincent Price, and has guest starred on numerous television shows, including “Seinfeld.” James was formerly the Managing Artistic Director of the LART (Los Angeles Repertory Theater Company) at DeLacey Street theater in Old Town Pasadena, for which he gained a reputation for theatrical innovation and excellence.

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