Date of Birth:
August 10, 1946
Place of Birth:Oskaloosa, Kansas
Commissioner Abraham “Abe” Carver (1981-2003, 2004-present)
Official Fan Website:
Married Lissa Layng December 21, 1986
The couple has one son named Jed, who is a student at the University of California Santa Barbara.
Enrolled in Topeka’s Washburn University, where he majored in journalism and pre-law.
- Reporter for The Windward Marine in Hawaii
- Film Reviewer for The Topeka Daily Capital
- Entertainment Reviewer and Feature Writer for The Colorado Springs Sun
- “Seinfeld” - Banker (1 episode, 1994)
- “Generations” -Henry Marshall #2 (1991)
- “227" - Mr. Cromwell (1 episode, 1990)
- “Highway to Heaven” - Dr. Sims (1 episode, 1988)
- “Hotline” - TV Movie - Ron Chandler (1982)
- “Hart to Hart” - Doctor (1 episode, 1981)
- “The Dukes of Hazard” - Clayton (1 episode, 1981)
- “Different Strokes” - Mr. Gibson, Mr. Payton (4 episodes, 1979-1980)
- “M Station: Hawaii - TV Movie - Barsak (1980)
- “The Incredible Hulk” - Ken (1 episode, 1979)
- “Jennifer: A Woman’s Story” - TV Movie - Tom (1979)
- “The Magic of Lassie” - Officer Wilson (1978)
- Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for “Days of Our Lives” (2004)
- Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for “Generations” (1991)
- Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Daytime Drama Series for “Days of Our Lives” (2007, 2004, 2002)
- James has interviewed celebrities Jack Nicholson, Michael Douglas, Madeline Kahn, Ann-Margaret, and Peter Fonda.
- First role was in the motion picture “Mr. Majestyk” staring Charles Bronson (1974)
- James has been named to the Kansas Historical Society’s list of famous Kansans
James’s acting background began back in high school, where he began performing in many plays. Additionally, he played football, basketball, and track. He joined the Marines immediately after graduation from high school. After boot camp, he was assigned to the Information Service Office where he landed his first reporting job. He served in Vietnam for nearly a year until he was discharged as a result of a wound.
Upon returning to Kansas, he enrolled in Topeka’s Washburn University. In addition to his studies, he auditioned and performed in plays, where he discovered his passion for acting. Periodically, he would take breaks from campus life to travel the country. He finally decided to leave school and head to San Francisco, where he worked as an actor. Due to family reasons, though, he returned to Kansas and landed a journalist postion with the Topeka Daily Capitol, covering theater, film, dance, and music.
A few years later, he auditioned for a new repertory company in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and was accepted. He played major roles in productions until the company went broke within its first season. Nevertheless, he investigated other acting jobs during his newspaper job at that time.
James finally moved to Los Angeles, where he added an impressive list of credits to his acting resume before landing the role of Abraham “Abe” Carver on Days of Our Lives in 1981. Notably, Abe Carver is the longest running African-American character in the history of television and James has portrayed the same character longer than any other African-American actor.
In addition to his role on Days of Our Lives, James and his partner Morey Sullivan head Free State Productions, which is a film and TV production company headquartered in Kansas. James and his wife Lissa are the Artistic Directors for the Freemont Centre Theater in South Pasadena. The couple also own and operate Classes Unlimited in the same city, which offers writing and computer classes among many others. Incidentally, James and Lissa were named Business Persons of the Year by the South Pasadena Chamber of Commerce.
James is an exemplary humanitarian and has been deeply committed to his charity work, which includes an annual “Bowl-a-Thon” in Los Angeles to benefit The National Asthma Center. He also hosts an annual celebrity basketball game in South Pasadena to benefit the city’s schools. Numerous other charities have recognized James for his contributions and work as well.
In March of 2008, James visited three Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) Domestic Dependent Elementary and Secondary Schools (DDESS) in Fort Stewart, Georgia. James spent quality time with dependent children of soldiers experiencing multiple deployments and discussed the importance of reading books as part of the USO Celebrity Education Program and the National Education Association's (NEA) "Read Across America" program. Since James is both an actor and a Vietnam Veteran, he truly recognizes the importance of reading and understands what military children experience in their lives.