‘Fresh Prince’ star Reid on creative life
LOS ANGELES — When Daphne Maxwell Reid filmed a scene that required her to dash through woods and across streams, the younger actors scrambling alongside her were surprised.
"You're keeping up with us?" was the sentiment, said Reid, 70, who played Aunt Vivian opposite Will Smith on "The Fresh Prince of Bel-air" and starred with her husband, Tim Reid, in "Frank's Place."
"I stay ready in this business," said the actress, who taped the action scene for an upcoming film. She's currently on the small screen in "Jacqueline and Jilly," as grandmother to a young woman struggling with a prescription drug addiction. The miniseries is streaming through Jan. 10 on UMC, the Urban Movie Channel .
Reid has shown before she's capable of meeting challenges. As a model, she was one of the first African-american women featured on the cover of Glamour (preceded by Katiti Kironde, winner of the magazine's "best-dressed college girl" contest) and was the first elected as homecoming queen at Northwestern University.
The magazine coup was a breeze for Reid, who dabbled in modeling in college after impressing powerhouse agency head Eileen Ford. But even Reid was surprised when a brief photo session resulted in a shot of the smiling, fresh-faced beauty on Glamour's cover in October 1969.
Her experience at her alma mater was less comfortable. She entered the Northwestern contest as a lark only to encounter a stinging backlash.
After she won, she said, the school "just ignored me. They didn't put it in the yearbook, it wasn't that 'important,' although the year before the girl had gotten a three-page spread." In response, she cut ties with Northwestern after graduating until, decades later, she got an apology and an invitation to crown the new queen.
For "Fresh Prince," she had to persuade viewers to accept her as Vivian after replacing original cast member Janet Hubert in the role.
Reid, who's settled with her filmmaker-actor husband in his native Virginia, had the luxury of staying close to home when "Jacqueline and Jilly" shot in the state. The miniseries, starring Nikko Austen Smith ("Queen Sugar"), was written and directed by Victoria Rowell ("The Young and the Restless"), who's also in the cast.