Kamar de los Reyes, acclaimed for his portrayal of Antonio Vega in the long-running soap opera “One Life to Live” and recognized as the voice behind the notorious villain Raul Menendez in the blockbuster video game franchise “Call of Duty,” has sadly passed away at the age of 56 in Los Angeles. His demise, announced by Lisa Goldberg, the publicist for his wife, the esteemed actress Sherri Saum, was attributed to cancer.
Kamar de los Reyes’ Journey from Soap Opera Icon to Video Game Villain:
Born on November 8, 1967, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, to a Cuban father, Walfredo de los Reyes, and a Puerto Rican mother, Matilde Pages, Kamar de los Reyes hailed from a family deeply rooted in music. His kin, comprising his father and two brothers, were esteemed percussionists, while his grandfather achieved fame as a trumpeter.
Growing up in Las Vegas, Kamar ventured into acting after high school and eventually relocated to Los Angeles to pursue his passion. Although his initial breakthrough unfolded in New York, he embodied Pedro Quinn’s character in the Off-Broadway production “Blade to the Heat,” earning accolades from the revered New York Times theater critic David Richards in 1994.
“More than any words he utters, the actor’s haunted eyes, sunken cheeks, and shaved head convey the extent of Pedro’s torment,” Richards said of Kamar’s performance. He’s practically spectral in repose. He’s like a short circuit in the ring, and his wordless cry of triumph is a sure spine-tingler.”
However, his enduring role as Antonio Vega, a gangster-turned-police officer in “One Life to Live,” solidified Kamar’s presence in entertainment. Spanning nearly 300 episodes from 1995 to 1998 and later from 2000 to 2009, his character evolved significantly—from a convict acquitted on self-defense grounds for a murder charge to becoming a police officer entangled in numerous romantic relationships.
Kamar’s real-life love story intertwined with his professional career as his wife, Sherri Saum, also featured on “One Life to Live” from 2001 to 2003. Their on-screen characters, Keri Reynolds and Antonio Vega, were romantically linked, mirroring their off-screen connection.
The soap opera, which aired predominantly on ABC from 1968 to 2012, made strides in diversity, featuring a varied cast, including the first Black actor in a lead role on daytime television, Ellen Holly, who recently passed away.
In a 2007 interview with Urban Latino magazine, Kamar de los Reyes said of the show’s impact, “We’re one of the few soaps that has an all-Latino family, a Puerto Rican family, which you don’t see much of, not only on daytime but prime time television overall, and is something I feel network television needs to work harder on.”
Furthermore, Kamar de los Reyes lent his voice to the malevolent character Raul Menendez in the 2012 video game “Call of Duty: Black Ops II,” etching a mark as one of the franchise’s most memorable villains, reprising the role in subsequent installments like “Call of Duty: Black Ops 4” and “Call of Duty: Vanguard.”
Kamar de los Reyes leaves behind a legacy celebrated for his compelling performances and for advocating for greater diversity and representation in the entertainment industry, leaving an indelible mark on the worlds of television and gaming.