Thursday, June 17, 2010
Matthew Ashford Tribute to Frances Reid
Since Matt Ashford was on tour with Mamma Mia, sadly his character of Jack Deveraux could not accompany Jennifer for Alice's passing. From most of the returning cast members, there have been published statements about their feelings regarding Alice. Now we get to read this wonderful tribute from Matt Ashford.
VIA MATTHEW ASHFORD'S PAGE ON FACEBOOK posted Tuesday, June 15, 2010:
Frances Reid, who played beloved matriarch Alice Horton for more than forty years on Days of Our Lives, passed away earlier this year at the age of 95. On a cold day in February, while preparing to enter the national tour of Mamma Mia, Matt sat down to write this tribute to his long-time co-worker and friend.
I could give a quote about Frances and talk about how awesome she was, and that would be true. But that would not include the flash in her eyes when I talked to her about her role of Ophelia on Broadway in the 1950's -- she didn't think anyone remembered that. Or her way of dealing with how she had to list all the children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren who couldn't be home for any particular Christmas (due to the fact that they weren't on the show.) At one point she would say, “Little Timmy, and Bill and little … whatever that little -------'s name was.” (You fill in the blank.)
Or when she got into a debate with one of the actresses on the set about what she thought Grandma Horton's drink of choice was. (No, it wasn’t milk with her doughnuts.) Frances stated: “I believe single malt scotch was the way to end the day and, if not that, a margarita would do just fine." Frances had nothing to gain from getting into a scrap about what her character would or would not do with an actor who wasn't even thought of when she first stepped on stage. But I saw that flash, that fire in her eye. I saw that she would always fight the good fight for not only Grandma Horton's right to do more than bake doughnuts and hand out advice that other characters and writers had no intention of ever following, but also for Frances' right to be an active partner in the creative process regardless of age, airtime, or importance to the current moment of the show.
In this age of 15 minutes (or seconds) of fame, Frances had days, weeks, months, and years of notoriety for good solid work. If people look back and call all these disappearing shows "family shows," it is only because of Frances and the few like her who made it possible for generations of families to sit down together and find commonality in human folly -- or "the Human Comedy," as Balzac called it. I know I was there at the golden era of Daytime television, and working with Frances Reid made it only more so.
- Matt Ashford