‘Days of Our Lives’ Comings and Goings: Vanessa A. Williams Returns to the Canvas

The Days of Our Lives cast often features a wide swath of actors from a variety of disciplines. It’s not unusual for veterans of the stage and screen to stop by Salem. And in our latest comings and goings roundup, we take a look at Eli’s mom, who has come into town after finding out her son has been shot by none other than TR Coates. Eli’s mom is played by a veteran actor on the stage and screen. And, in fact, her character is a longtime staple on Days of Our Lives.

Days of Our Lives cast member Vanessa A. Williams in a white T-Shirt
Vanessa A. Williams joins the ‘Days of Our Lives’ cast | Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic

Dr. Valerie Grant first joined the ‘Days of Our Lives’ cast in the 1970s

In the 1970s, Dr. Valerie Grant first became a part of the Days of Our Lives cast. TVLine revealed that Dr. Grant’s character was going to be groundbreaking in many ways. Despite the progressive storylines of soap operas, even back then, Valerie (as she was then known) was a controversial character.

At the time, Valerie — who was played by Tina Andrews — was involved in an interracial relationship with David Banning (a role originated by Chad Eric Barstad, David’s last appearance was in 1983 when he was played by Gregg Marx). Days of Our Lives came under fire for this move, because this was the first interracial relationship portrayed on soap operas.

Ultimately, while Valerie and David planned to marry, the plans fell through when it was revealed that he’d had an affair. But that didn’t affect Valerie much, because she went on to become a cardiologist and have affairs with other handsome men in Salem — including Abe Carver!

Vanessa A. Williams will now play Eli’s mother

Now, however, Vanessa A. Williams is part of the Days of Our Lives cast as Dr. Valerie Grant. According to SoapHub, fans can expect to see her in the March 17 episode of the show. There, her son Eli — whose father, believe it or not, is none other than David Banning! — will be recovering from his gunshot wounds. Fans of Days of Our Lives know that Eli was recently shot by TR Coates, who is desperate to cover his tracks.

Unfortunately, things aren’t looking good for poor Eli.

“While Shawn Brady (Brandon Beemer) investigates Eli Grant’s (Lamon Archey) shooting, the victim — who, not so coincidentally is the detective’s good buddy — takes a turn for the worse…much to the consternation of his mother, Dr. Valerie Grant (Vanessa Williams), and his wife, fellow SPD officer Lani Grant (Sal Stowers),” reports the outlet.

Williams is a veteran of the big and small-screen

Though her given name is Vanessa Estelle Williams, the actor is sometimes credited as Vanessa A. Williams so as to avoid confusion with the former Miss America-turned-singer and actor of the same name.

Prior to joining the Days of Our Lives cast, Williams was known as Keisha in the legendary film New Jack City. She also portrayed Maxine in the Showtime series, Soul Food, and won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series for the role.

She also had roles in the film Candyman and the television show Melrose Place.

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