Long-ago Recast Finally Announced

Last April, I posted about a casting call for a classic Days role that hadn’t appeared onscreen in decades. Finally, we know who will be playing the character…

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Vanessa A. Williams — no, not the Miss America/”Save the Best for Last” singer/Ugly Betty actress, but the other one — will first appear as Valerie Grant later this month, as was posted on her personal Instagram. If she looks and/or sounds familiar to you, there’s a reason: not only has she worked pretty steadily over the years, but she played Rhonda Blair, a.k.a. The Aerobics Instructor Who Only Lasted One Season, on Melrose Place.

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Presumably Valerie will still be a doctor and not a “funk aerobics” instructor, but this is Days, which never met a trend it wasn’t at least 10 years behind, so who’s to say for sure?  She’s definitely a bit on the, er, young side for the character of Valerie, having been born in 1963 (making her 53 years old now), as opposed to original portrayer Tina Andrews’s 1951 birthdate. I suppose it’s a bit of a stretch that Valerie, who was a doctor by the early 80s, would only be in her early-to-mid-50s in 2016, but her age also isn’t explicitly tied to anyone else’s, so it isn’t the end of the world. Making her a little younger than she should be gives me hope that they’ll play the Julie/Valerie history (Valerie was engaged to Julie’s son, David, in soaps’ first-ever interracial romance), so this might be a way of handling David’s outrageous SORASing and its subsequent effect upon Julie, who is not actually 85 years old.

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8 Comments on “Long-ago Recast Finally Announced”

  1. Fluffysmom Says:

    I’m guessing she will date Abe or end up in a story with Abe somehow. It’s interesting that the writers are bringing back some long lost characters.

    • mykleraus Says:

      I’m almost positive they intend her as a love interest for Abe. They already have a history, and this show doesn’t seem capable of fathoming him with a woman who isn’t black (or an older black woman with a white man). I do like the idea of digging into the past in general, though, and I’m interested to see what they do with Valerie.

  2. Shea Says:

    I am only familiar with the Valerie Grant character from reading the history of the show but when the character was on in the early 80s I believe she dated Abe so I will be interested in seeing how they play the characters history with both Abe and Julie.

    I am familiar with this actress from Melrose Place and a bunch of other TV shows but I found it interesting that she had appeared on The Bay last year so I may have see if those episodes are still online. I think she is a capable actress but I don’t think I have ever seen her do anything that really stood out as a strong performance.

    I think Anne Marie Johnson would have been a great choice but she just played Abigail’s therapist so I guess it is too soon to return as another character (although it would be nothing like the Judi Evans’ transition from Bonnie to Adrienne…LOL). Anne Marie Johnson is such a strong actress that I would like to have seen her play a role with some real character interactions instead of wasting her talent on a role that was essentially a day player type of role.

    • mykleraus Says:

      I would’ve thought Anne Marie Johnson would be a great choice, but that therapist character was such an idiot that I feel soured on her. Maybe she deserves another shot.

      Vanessa Williams definitely reads younger than I was imagining, but I’m willing to give her a shot. She’s at least a capable actress! I’m hoping she’s a good fit.

  3. marypickford Says:

    I want Gregg Marx back as David Banning. 🙂 It would be fun to revisit that groundbreaking storyline!

    I think Abe should get married again, so if that’s what happens, I’m cool with it.

    • mykleraus Says:

      I would love David back in any incarnation! Gregg Marx was still looking pretty good, last I saw. I’d like to believe that the fact that Valerie is being played at this age means they’re open to bringing in Julie’s son, too, who’s her contemporary.

  4. ADW Says:

    FINALLY! I was wondering when Valerie Grant would make her debut. It’s good that they are introducing another non-extra African American Salem citizen (other than Maxine) who aren’t related to Abe. 😀 I remember Rhonda from Melrose Place back in the day and if you ignore the dreads and funky 90s look she still looks exactly same, funk areobics does a body good.


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