Legendary head writer James E. Reilly (DAYS OF OUR LIVES, PASSIONS) passed away over the weekend. He was 60. Jonathan Russo, Reilly's agent and friend for over 25 years, says Reilly had been recovering from cardiac surgery when he died suddenly in the hospital. His beloved sister Cathy Robinson was by his side. "James Reilly was one of the most profoundly lovely human beings in our industry. 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," adds Russo. There are no funeral plans. There may be a memorial service at a later date.
James E. Reilly, most recently the creator and head writer for PASSIONS, has passed away at the age of 60. More details will be provided as they become available.
Over the years, Reilly has written for a number of soaps including a memorable stint as head writer for DAYS OF OUR LIVES. He also worked on writing teams for SUNSET BEACH, THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS, GENERAL HOSPITAL, RYAN'S HOPE and GUIDING LIGHT throughout the last few decades.
He was born on July 15, 1948, in Bountiful, Utah.
Reilly won a Daytime Emmy in 1993 as part of the GUIDING LIGHT writing staff, and a WGA Award for GUIDING LIGHT in 1992. He received nine other Daytime Emmy nominations over the years for his work
Soaps Scribe James E. Reilly Dies at 60
James E. Reilly, a sometimes controversial soap scribe who twice served as Days of Our Lives' headwriter and created the supernatural-themed Passions, passed away over the weekend, at age 60, Soap Opera Digest reports. Reilly was recovering in the hospital from cardiac surgery when he died.
"James Reilly was one of the most profoundly lovely human beings in our industry," his agent and longtime friend Jonathan Russo tells 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."
Reilly ruled the bible at Days from 1992 to 1997 (during which he gave us Marlena's possession) and again from 2003 to 2006, at which time he set loose the "Salem Stalker" in a bid to boost ratings. The serial slayer appeared to snuff veteran characters such as Abe, Roman, Doug and Alice (god bless her donuts), but ultimately the "deceased" were revealed to be held captive on island replica of Salem called Melaswen (read the name backwards).
Between his Days gigs, Reilly created for NBC a new soap named Passions, and served as headwriter until its cancellation earlier this year. As headwriter of Guiding Light, Reilly's staff won a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series Writing in 1993.