‘Fresh Prince’ star Reid on cre­ative life

Porterville Recorder - - COMMUNITY-FAVORITES - By LYNN ELBER

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.

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