Thursday, February 4, 2010

In Tribute To Frances Reid

Frances Reid touched so many days of our lives in her 95 years.  As the nurturing, understanding, and often times ethereal Alice Horton, she gave her viewers a sense of morality, sensitivity, and infinite kindness rarely seen in our own daily lives.  How do we say goodbye to a figure who has offered so many generations so much?

As someone who just lost his real-life grandmother three weeks ago, the loss of my fictional grandmother in Salem comes as a pretty heavy blow.  But I have found that when devastated by a loss, it helps to remember what I loved and admired most about that person, and then I seek to incorporate that in my own life.

With Frances Reid, I will always remember how her portrayal of Alice Horton came to symbolize the ability to see the light in others, even when their behavior spoke otherwise.  Alice had never-ending patience when the Horton family members were in trouble, which of course was quite often.  She didn't turn her back on her son Bill when he assaulted Laura, she didn't judge Julie as she made mistake after mistake.  She remained a friend, a confidant, and an unrelenting advocate of the power of love and redemption as she served as a spiritual anchor for the emotional turbulent residents of Salem.

Why does this matter now?  Because Reid's contribution in this performance is something that can continue to live on after her death.  We can use these examples to remind ourselves to be a little gentler, a little more patient, and a little more compassionate to the family and friends in our lives.  By incorporating these aspects into our daily lives, we can keep the heart of Reid alive, and never allow her spirit to die.

On a personal note, I had one chance fan encounter with Ms. Reid on a Friday evening in 1982.  My brother was in a play at Santa Monica Playhouse with a relative of Ms. Reid's.  That Friday had been a particularly dramatic day in Salem, and when I saw Ms. Reid waiting in the lobby I felt it was my 10-year-old duty to tell her what I thought.  She was wearing a long dark mink coat.  I came right up to her and said, "Hello Ms. Reid, I really admire you...and I don't think Marlena died today, I think it was Samantha."  She looked rather surprised, slightly quizzical, then smiled, winked at me and said, "Come back Monday, you never know what will happen next."  

Today I celebrate Ms. Reid, mourn her passing, and honor that wink.  We never do know what will happen next but I know I'm committed to keeping Reid's memory honored here at We Love Soaps. Please join me below to celebrate your own thoughts and memories of Ms Reid and/or Alice Horton.


  1. Damon, I share your feelings about Frances and Alice alike - she had the warmth of a grandmother and everyone loved her so very much.

    As far back as I can remember, my Mom and my Grandma watched Days of our Lives, and I remember seeing this radiant woman on the screen and I knew I'd like her.

    As I grew, I watched Days with my family, and with her adventures with Bo and Hope to her wise advice and drugged donuts (remember that?) to her love of her Tom and her family... she truly was everything I thought she was when I first saw her as a tiny kid.

    We all knew she'd be leaving us soon, but the loss still hurts deeply. She lived a wonderful, rich and amazing life. I'll always remember her. I think I'll get some powdered donuts tomorrow to celebrate her memory.

  2. Such sad news. Ms. Reid provided so many hours of pleasure and mothering to me.

    Hope Days goes all out with a proper funeral for Alice that brings back lots and lots and lots of old characters. It's only fitting after 49 years of playing the character.

  3. You've always been the epitome of a wonderful actress. It was you that made DOOL what it was. I love you, Alice!!!

  4. Firstly, Damon i wanted to offer my condolences about your loss. I know it's not easy to lose a grandparent. I was just thinking about my own who passed almost four years ago now. I can remember i called her Gran, because that's what Alice's grandkids called her with such affection when they came for advice served up with a nice warm donut.

    Alice and Tom's love was something to be envied, and her brand of nurturing was unmatched. Frances reid portrayed Alice with such class and such realism, it was hard not to fall in love with her. She was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, aunt, friend...confidante...she wore many hats and she wore them well. I will remember with great fondness the warm talks in the kitchen with Hope and Jennifer. I recall her closeness with Billie, and how she accepted Lucas into the fold. It didn't matter if you were no longer married to a horton or were estranged or whatever, once you were loved by Alice it meant you were loved. I think her smile sticks with me the most, her cheeks always rosey and the optimism that was clear in her eyes. Frances will be missed but not forgotten. Alice will be remembered fondly and there will never be another quite like her.

    I hope that Days can come up with a tribute that's befitting such a great woman as this

  5. I too am truly saddened by the passing of Francis Reid. I remember fondly as a child watching "Days" with my Grandfather. Some of my fondest memories, however, are the scenes that Ms. Reid would do with Peter Reckell in the mid 80's when he was the "rebel" and he would continually get her involved in one comical caper after another...Francis Reid may The Good Lord welcome you home with open arms and may you rest in are sorely missed...God Bless

  6. This is a sad loss. Frances and Alice was one of those people you expected to always be there. Its truely a loss for all of us. And the news came as a shock, even if she was an elderly person. I just had expected her to live forever, even though no one does. But..she's ALWAYS been there.

  7. Sorry to hear about your grandmother, Damon. What sad news about Ms. Reid.

  8. I only got to meet her in person once, at the Mayor's Pre-Emmy event in 2004 which honored all the Lifetime Achievement Award recipients. But I felt like I knew her from growing up watching her play Alice. Will "always" remember her fondly.

  9. I used to watch Days 30 years ago and one of the highlights was watching the Horton family put the ornaments on the Christmas tree. They always had an ornament with the name of each absent family member, which was a great way to remember those characters. Frances Reid was such a comforting presence on Daytime. She will truly be missed.

  10. I started watching DAYS in the early to mid-90s. Alice Horton was the matriarch you felt you could come to and would always be there for you in your time of need...even if you were in the wrong.

    My first memory of Frances Reid, which was later on in life, was watching her BLOOPER clip, and she dropped the F-Bomb on it. It was so funny, because it was GRANDMA HORTON! You didn't expect it from all! But, it just made it more real and lovable!

    I see everyone posting their favorite memories of Alice on DAYS...I wish I could compare to yours. I just hope that the show gives her the best tribute they possibly can...with flashbacks, character returns...been with us since day one. She deserves to be treasured!

    A true daytime legend, an icon, and loved by all...she will be missed.

  11. Watching Day's with my grandmother way back in the 70's, I remembering saying to my GMA that she looked like Alice Horton. My GMA watched days for over the whole time it was on until she passed away 13 years ago. I'll be remembering my GMA and Ms Reid.

  12. I am very sorry to hear the news about Ms Frances Reid.She is going to be missed. I have been watching the show for 41 years.The very first time I saw Ms Reid on Days of our lives I know I loved the show,she was warm and caring around her family and friends.And I also remember her with her donuts too.My favorite time watching the show was around christmas,Her and Tom and family always had a great time. Rest in Peace Ms Reid.

  13. The Hortons were the first soap family I came to know and enjoy, and even though I haven't watched DOOL for a long time, it still makes me sad that the many of the Hortons, both the fictional characters and/or the actors who played them, aren't around anymore.

  14. Frances Reid as an absolute treasure. I have watched Days for over 30 years, and it has been such a part of my life.
    "Alice" was the heart and soul of Salem, a true matriarch, loved by all. Such a gentle, wise, sweet lady.
    Frances the world is a much richer place for your being, may you rest in peace.
    My condolences to her family, and her family at Days, the world has lost one of the true great ladies.
    RIP Frances Reid

  15. Like so many of you, I also grew up watching the soaps with my Grandmother. It was always, and only, NBC. First Days with the incomparable Francis Reid, then AW, with the equally wonderful Constance Ford.

    My Grandmother had a hard life. Her husband died young, leaving her with eight children, all teenagers or younger. By the time I came along she was retired and loved to spend her afternoons with the soaps. She related to Alice (and Ada), and even resembled them. Mix Frances Reid with Constance Ford, and throw in some Vivian Vance, and you have Nana.

    I think I related to Frances so much because she reminded me of Nana in so many ways. In a way it made her like family to me. As an old TV junkie, I will often catch Frances in an old rerun of "Perry Mason" or "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" or "Wagon Train", and I would feel right at home. The connection is immediate.

    My favorite memories of Frances are the scenes with Bo and Hope in the early 1980's. I distinctly remember the first scene with Peter and Kristian. Nana immediately disliked Bo, because of his long hair and leather jacket. She would laugh at the way that Alice would get involved in their capers, from the poison donuts to Howie Hoffstedder. But I saw something that Nana didn't. Alice saw something special in the rebel Bo, and accepted him long before anyone else in the family did (other than Hope, of course). In my family I was that rebel, the one who never quite fit in, but Nana saw something in me like Alice did in Bo. We had a special connection just like they did. It was a beautiful message for the show to send, and tribute to her talents that they affected me as they did. I loved to watch Frances Reid work in those wonderful scenes with Tom, Mickey and Maggie, Bill and Laura, Doug and Julie etc, but it will always be those scenes with Bo and Hope (and that personal connection to Nana) that will be the first thing I think of whenever I think of Frances Reid. Rest in Peace, dear sweet lady (and say "Hello" to Nana for me.

  16. Very sad news. She was a beautiful actress. She was everyones Grandmother.. When she was on screen you watch and listen. She will always be in my memories..

  17. I was so sad to hear this! I saw her in 2006 at the SoapTalk Days 40th anniversary taping and it was so obvious how loved she was by her fellow castmembers.

    I remember growing up how much I admired her and her chemistry/relationship onscreen with Kristian and Missy (Hope and Jennifer).

    She felt like part of my family; she was just so fun to watch, and so classy. You don't see fiesty, fun, funny,wise, classy matriarchs/role models like that on tv shows anymore, do you? Current Days thinks it's more important to showcase abs and hair models. With Frances' passing, Days has officially lost it's heart and soul. She will be so missed.

  18. By the time I started to watch Days in 1990, Alice was already the grandmother figure on the show. Always there to give romantic advise to the young people of Salem. Every once in a while she would get to do something in a story, like punch out a bad guy at Jack and Jennifer's stuntman wedding! Fun stuff.

    in a 2003 Archive of American Television interview the last question to Frances was "How would you like to be remembered." She modestly said "I don't think I will be remembered. I think most people are not remembered. Maybe...some people that I had an affect on. Some of the people that I worked with, I made them feel comfortable at times. Or they enjoyed doing a scene as I enjoyed doing a scene. And...that's the way I'll be remembered...(laughs) ...not much."

    I disagree. There are millions of Days fans who will remember. Thank you for the wonderful memories Frances Reid. :)

  19. Thank you all so much for sharing your beautiful comments and memories. When I read these I feel less sad, and I am so grateful to be going through this loss with such a wonderful community.

  20. I agree with you regarding Ms. Reid's passing. Like so many of you, I too grew up with DOOL and its matriarch, Alice Horton. Salem has long since missed the mark when it went away from the Horton family (or any family-related matter FCOL!). Alice's compassion, understanding, love, instincts, etc., have been missed as well. Those Christmas and Thanksgiving tributes just will not be the same. And the doughnuts (yes I remember those "drugged" doughnuts)!

    I pray comfort upon Ms. Reid's family, friends and coworkers. At least we still have our tapes (yes, I still have and use my VCR!)

  21. Such a legend, will truly be missed.
    My thoughts and prayers will be with her family & loved ones