Published: Dec 30, 2012 12:02 AM
Modified: Dec 30, 2012 12:02 AM
“Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale her infinite variety.” William Shakespeare
Les Reynolds grew up in Goldsboro, NC, daughter of Dr. Alvin and Mrs. Lessie Mallard. She exhibited her dramatic talent early, winning a city-wide talent contest (imitating three well-known movie stars!) competing against adults, while she was still in elementary school. Before graduating from Goldsboro High School with high honors, she also won medals as part of the school swim team. Later, she continued to perform with academic and creative excellence at UNC in Chapel Hill, married to Ralph Casey (head swim coach at UNC) while raising her children, Dee and Mike Casey. During those years, Les wrote, directed and acted in many UNC Radio/Television Department and Carolina Playmaker Theatre productions. She received the coveted advanced Playmaker Master Award the same night that both of her children (at ages 9 and 12) were the youngest Playmaker Award winners, at that time. Les earned both her Bachelor of Arts and Masters of Arts degrees from UNC as a Phi Beta Kappa member. In 1957 she married Chris Reynolds, Professor of Theatre, Winthrop University and moved to Rock Hill, SC. After a year of teaching at Winthrop Training School, Les joined the faculty of Winthrop University. While a Professor of English and Theatre, she and her husband often collaborated in Winthrop Theatre productions. They both earned Ph.D.’s at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor.) In 1972, Les stepped into the role of Affirmative Action Officer for Winthrop University and became an activist in the Women’s Movement on campus and nationally. In the classroom she continued to teach, mentor and coach students, several of whom won national awards in theatre or roles in Broadway shows. Moving to Florida after their retirement, she supported her husband in his second career in jazz performance. In 1999, Les and Chris returned to the scene of their first meeting—Chapel Hill. There the collaboration continued as she helped him to produce several professional jazz recordings.
Les is survived by her husband, Chris Reynolds and daughter, Dee Casey of Chapel Hill; granddaughter, Casey Bazemore (Jerry Odom) of Winston-Salem; son, Mike Casey and grandsons, Donovan Casey and Chris Casey of Oakland Park, Florida; cousins, Jane Brown (Bob) of Fayetteville; Bill Bostic (Carol) of Beulaville; Anne Grice (Drew) and C.H. Pope (Elizabeth) of New Bern.
Donations in memory of Les may be made to UNC Hospice (919) 542-5545/877-715-0606) or to the Robert and Pearl Seymour Center, (919-245-4252, Robin Bailin, manager.)
A private memorial concert will be held at a later date.
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