It is with no small degree of sadness that I report the passing of Frances Reid, the last remaining original cast member of the daytime soap opera Days of Our Lives.
I was a Days fan for almost twenty years and enjoyed the continuity of familiar names and faces it provided. None were as constant a presence as Alice and Tom Horton, placed by Frances Reid and Macdonald Carey. It's hard for me to say I grew up with Days of Our Lives, given the rapid aging that so many of its younger characters underwent, but Tom and Alice always seemed so innocent compared to their dark and mysterious neighbors. Sure, there was that time it turned out their marriage was illegitimate, and in indignation, she banished her ersatz husband to the couch — but that was no result of scheming on either spouse's part. They always did their best to be kind and helpful to each other and their loved ones, weathering the storms of the Kiriakis and DiMera families, age, and fate. Even after Mrs. Reid suffered a real-life stroke twenty years ago, she recovered and insisted on returning to the show.
When Macdonald Carey passed away in 1994, his voiceover continued to be heard in the show's opening, maintaining a sense of the duo's involvement in the continuing complications of life in Salem. Although Frances Reid last appeared on the show in 2007, her passing marks the end of an era for the beleaguered show. Though perhaps sentimental, I'd like to share this tribute to Frances Reid, one of several uploaded to YouTube in the past week:
Days of Our Lives' cast members have also offered their own remembrances of this starring lady, in which Deidre Hall (Marlena Evans) offers a different side to the grandmotherly one seen above.
(Hat tips to Dead or Alive? and Nawal A.J.)