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Soap star likes face time with fans

October 16, 2008|By JULIE E. GREENE

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Kamar de los Reyes will turn 41 this year.

Like many 40-year-olds, he's thinking about his legacy, both professionally as an actor and personally as a father to an 11-year-old son.

After portraying Antonio Vega on the ABC daytime drama "One Life to Live" (OLTL) for the better part of the last 13 years, de los Reyes isn't sure how much longer he'll be on the soap. His contract expires in February and there are other things he wants to accomplish.

Fans will have a few opportunities to see and meet de los Reyes, as well as former Pittsburgh Steeler wide receiver Louis Lipps, during the Mountain State Apple Harvest Festival, which runs today through Sunday.

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"I've always said from the beginning that my favorite part of what I do is being able to meet my fans one on one, to be able to look them in the eye and see how their day is going," de los Reyes said.

He added that he likes to talk to fans about what they're up to, where they came from and about the show, to "make them feel like they make me feel, which is appreciated."

De los Reyes comes from a family of renowned professional drummers and percussionists, but he preferred acting.

After critics praised him for his theatrical performance in "Blades of Heat," de los Reyes got a brief recurring role as a paramedic during the first season of "ER." Then he did Shakespeare in the Park in New York with Patrick Stewart and was offered the job on the daytime drama.

In 1997, he left OLTL for a couple years for a TV pilot, "Four Corners," but the show was canceled. After staying in Los Angeles for a little while, de los Reyes went back to New York and to "One Life to Live."

"I plan on taking some leaps this year. Where they take me is really not up to me. That's kind of up to the universe. I don't know how much longer I'll be on 'One Life To Live,'" de los Reyes said.

De los Reyes said he owes it to himself and younger minority actors to pave a bigger, broader way, building on the groundwork laid by actors such as Jimmy Smits and the late Raul Julia.

"More has to be done in the way of diversity and if I can become some way a voice in that respect, one piece of the puzzle, then that's what I really would like to do," de los Reyes said.

"It's not so much about just creating opportunities. That's just the beginning," he said. "It's not about hiring a bunch of good-looking Latinos or good-looking African Americans to walk across the screen. That's not good enough."

What he wants to see is more compelling stories written for minorities, more respect and "negotiating in the same way as they do with our Caucasian counterparts. It's also about setting a different standard, a barometer that is much higher about how they appreciate us," de los Reyes said.

"Also, when it comes to my legacy, I have a lot to do for my son," de los Reyes said. "Really, at the end of the day, it's all about him and I want him to be proud of his dad."

To do that, de los Reyes said he plans to do bigger, brighter things. "Nothing I can talk about just yet," he said.

And if those leaps he plans to take are successful, will he leave OLTL rather than renew his contract?

"I never say never. There are no guarantees," de los Reyes said.




If you go ...



WHAT: Mountain State Apple Harvest Festival

WHEN: Today through Sunday, Oct. 19.

WHERE: Various locations in the Eastern Panhandle, including War Memorial Park, Berkeley County Youth Fairgrounds and downtown Martinsburg.

COST: Free admission to many events.

CONTACT: For more information, call 304-263-2500. The festival schedule can be found at www.msahf.com.

MORE: Kamar de los Reyes, who portrays Antonio Vega on "One Life to Live," and former Pittsburgh Steeler wide receiver Louis Lipps will be at the sports breakfast at 8:30 a.m. Saturday at the Holiday Inn in Martinsburg. There will be a limited amount of time at the breakfast for autographs and photos. Tickets cost $15 and advance tickets are recommended.

Reyes and Lipps will be celebrity grand marshals for the parade at 1 p.m. Saturday in downtown Martinsburg. Parade starts on King Street, near Alabama Avenue, then goes left on Raleigh Street, right on Martin Street and right on Queen Street.

Reyes and Lipps will be at the grand ball, which is 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday at Heritage Hall on U.S. 11 south in Inwood. They will be available for autographs, photos and dances. Tickets are $30 per person and advance tickets are recommended.

Reyes and Lipps will be at the arts and crafts show at Berkeley County Youth Fairgrounds, noon to 2 p.m. Sunday. They will be available for autographs and photos. Admission is $3, free for ages 6 and younger.

For ticket information, go to www.msahf.com.

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