July 31 is actor James Read’s birthday.
My favorite movie of all time is the miniseries North and South based on the novel by John Jakes. I remember watching it when it premiered on ABC on Sunday, November 3, 1985 when I was twenty. Now thirty-four years later, my love for this epic drama remains as strong today as it was then.
John Jakes already had a dynamic narrative in place: Two sons on their way to West Point in 1842, one from the north and one from the south who forged a friendship that spanned the decades of the turbulent years leading up to the Civil War and beyond. The two actors cast for the leads of Orry Main and George Hazard had a difficult challenge ahead, convincingly making the audience believe in their strong bond of friendship. Patrick Swayze and James Read more than met this challenge.
I had never heard of either actor before North and South but I knew that I would remain a loyal fan forever. James Read reminded me of one of my favorite old Hollywood actors, Cary Grant. He had a twinkle in his eye that made you fall in love with the heroic character of George Hazard.
After watching Read in North and South, I began actively following his career. I was thrilled when he was cast in the recurring role of the Halliwell sisters’ father, Victor Bennett on Charmed. If Read was in it, I would watch it. He has extensive television and film credits in some of the best projects of the last three decades.
In a beautiful story of life imitating art, just as North and South’s George Hazard met, fell in love with and married Constance Flynn, James Read met on the set of North and South, fell in love with and married Constance’s portrayer, Wendy Kilbourne.
In daytime television, James played the dastardly Clyde on NBC’s Days of Our Lives. More recently, Read appeared on ABC’s General Hospital as the father of Dr. Hamilton Finn (Michael Easton) and Detective Harrison Chase (Josh Swickard).
I want to thank James Read for the many hours of enjoying he has given this fan and on this July 31 his birthday, I wish him continued success and happiness.
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