James E. Reilly, renowned head writer for Days of our Lives
, passed away this weekend at the age of 60. According to Reilly's agent and friend for over 25 years, Jonathan Russo, Reilly had been recovering from cardiac surgery when he died suddenly in the hospital.
Prior to working on Days of our Lives
from 1992 to 1997, Reilly served as head writer to Guiding Light
from 1990 to 1992 in which he won a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series Writing, and worked as a staff writer for other daytime dramas prior to that, including The Young and the Restless
and General Hospital.
When Reilly started writing for Days of our Lives
in 1992, one of his first story choices was to have one of the show's heroines, Dr. Carly Manning, played by Crystal Chappell
, buried alive. While critics slammed Reilly for the uneven storytelling, he still adopted the same plot later on for Passions
, the supernatural soap he created in 1999 following his exit of Days of our Lives
in 1997, involving heroine Sheridan Crane (McKenzie Westmore
) and Jessica Bennett. But his most infamous storyline on Days of our Lives
was when he wrote the show's central heroine, Marlena Evans (Deidre Hall
) as being possessed by Satan. The storyline continued for a year, and involved her lover, who was a priest in his past life, exorcising the demon from Marlena's person.
"James Reilly was one of the most profoundly lovely human beings in our industry," Russo told Soap Opera Digest
. "He was a towering person in our industry who had a tremendous faith in God and Catholicism, as anyone who watched Passions
knows. Everyone will miss him."
There are no funeral plans as of this moment but there may be a memorial service at a later date.
-Kris De Leon, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
Source: Soap Opera Digest
(Image courtesy of Soap Opera Digest)