Melrose Place veteran Vanessa Williams has joined the Days of Our Lives TV show cast, on NBC. The actress announced the news on Instagram (see below). She is a re-cast of the Dr. Valerie Grant character, originated by Tina Andrews in 1975, who played the part until 1977. Kitty Lester and the late Lawrence Cook played Valerie’s parents, Helen and Paul Grant. Soap Central reports Andrews was not approached to reprise the role.
Rose Fonseca assumed the role of Valerie from 1977 to ’78. Diane Sommerfield brought the character back to Salem, from 1981 to ’82. Per Deadline, Williams’ first airdate is slated for October 25, 2016. Since Valerie’s former love interest, Abe Carver (James Reynolds), is widowed, unattached, and still living in Salem with son Theo (Kyler Pettis), expect them to reconnect.
Reynolds joined Days in October 1981, and stayed until September, 2003. He returned to the Abe Carver role in May 2004, and has remained in it, since then. Sommerfield’s Valerie Grant was Carver’s first romantic partner on DOOL, in 1981.
As Valerie, Andrews’ first significant storyline on the daytime drama was an interracial romance with Julie Williams’ (Susan Seaforth Hayes) adult son, David Banning (Richard Guthrie). The soap reportedly dropped it, after racist fan complaints — which is shameful.
There is an excellent write up at about it, including interviews with Andrews, Guthrie, and Lester, at The Washington Post. For its part, Corday Productions denied those charges, at the time. As a little girl, this reporter watched it play out on screen and accepts the actors’ version of events.
Here is Williams’ Instagram post, announcing her Days debut. The caption reads, “This month #VanessaWilliams joins the cast of #daysofourlives @nbcdays @nbctv Don’t miss your girl back in #primetime Thanks for all the Love and support! #moretocome.”
Williams other TV series work includes Showtime‘s Soul Food, which was cancelled in 2004, after five seasons. Recently, she recurred as Francine West in The Flash on The CW.
Williams also has a part in Famous in Love, which is coming to Freeform in 2017. Soap-wise, she guest starred on four episodes in the fourth season of the online soap, The Bay, starring Days‘ Mary Beth Evans.
What do you think? Are you a fan of the Days of Our Lives TV series? Do you remember the character Dr. Valerie Grant? Do you plan to tune in to catch Williams in the role?