Get some tissues ready, because Days of our Lives is about to kick off a storyline that is guaranteed to bring on the waterworks. This month marks James Reynolds' 40th anniversary playing the role of Abe Carver, and the NBC soap opera is celebrating the special occasion with an emotional storyline that puts the spotlight on Reynolds' fan-favorite character.
The storyline will kick off on Friday, October 22, when Abe is suddenly rushed to the hospital. Kayla (Mary Beth Evans) tries to revive the ailing mayor on Monday, October 25, but her efforts might be all for naught, because as Abe's loved ones gather at the hospital and reflect on his 40 years in Salem, he walks into the light...
Reynolds taped his first DAYS episode on October 12, 1981, and first aired on October 29. (Click here to see a scan of Abe's first DAYS scene). His first major storyline was when Abe -- then a police officer -- investigated Anna Brady's (Leanna Hunley) claims that she was sold into so-called "white slavery." His next big storyline was a 1983 romance with Nikki Wade, who was played by Renée Jones -- the very same actress who later played Abe's true love, Lexi Carver.
Abe's decades-long romance with Lexie (who was also played by Cyndi James Gossett, Angelique Francis, and Shellye Broughton) was a roller coaster that included a storyline in which Lexie got the hots for Abe's brother, Jonah (Thyme Lewis) ; a long period of time in which Abe and Lexie couldn't conceive; a heart-wrenching story in which the couple adopted a baby, only to find out that the child belonged to Bo and Hope; a "who's the daddy" storyline in which it was briefly believed that Abe and Lexie's son, Theo, actually belonged to Abe's son, Brandon Walker (Matt Cedeño); the emotional realization that Theo had autism; and Lexie's devastating death after she was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor in 2012.
Other memorable Abe storylines include the character's astonishment to learn Lexie's father was Stefano DiMera (Joseph Mascolo); the character becoming the first "victim" in the show's 2003 Melaswen Island serial killer storyline; Abe losing his vision and receiving an eye transplant; the character becoming the mayor of Salem; Abe learning that Lani Price (Sal Stowers) was his daughter; and a current romance with Paulina (Jackée Harry), which follows a failed relationship with Valerie Grant (Vanessa Williams).
In an interview that appeared in the 2003 Ultimate Days of our Lives Fan Guide, Reynolds summed up why playing Abe for so long has meant so much to him. "Many times, I've met people who have told me that my character has made a difference in their lives, people who have turned their lives around because this character has convinced them of a specific way to be," he shared. "The integrity that Abe shows, the courage that he shows, has given them the impetus to make the right choices in their lives. That has been tremendous. It's one of those things that makes it all worthwhile. You think you're doing a little bit more than just entertaining people."
Reynolds' anniversary sees him continuing his record-breaking streak as the longest-running African American actor in the same role in television history. The actor also has the honor of having one of the longest tenures in the history of DAYS, an honor he shares with current long-running Salemites such as Suzanne Rogers (Maggie Horton), Susan Seaforth-Hayes (Julie Williams), Bill Hayes (Doug Williams), Deidre Hall (Marlena Evans), and John Aniston (Victor Kiriakis), as well as former Salemite Frances Reid (ex-Alice Horton). During his 40 years on DAYS, Reynolds has received four Daytime Emmy Award nominations and he took home the win in the Outstanding Lead Actor category in 2018.
Would you like to wish James Reynolds a happy 40th anniversary as DAYS' Abraham Carver? What are your favorite memories from the actor's time in Salem? What do you hope for Abe's future in Salem? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.