Jess Walton

Birth Name: Jess Walton
Birth Place: Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States
Profession: Actor

Birth Name: Jess Walton
Birth Place: Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States
Date Of Birth: February 18, 1949
Profession: Actor
Soap: The Young and the Restless
Character Name: Jill Foster Abbott


Jess Walton was born on February 18, 1949, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, but grew up in Toronto, Canada. Jess knew that she wanted to act early on.

She left home at the age of 17 to study at the Toronto Workshop Productions’ Repertory Theater. A couple of years later, Walton headed to Hollywood.

Not too long after arriving in Los Angeles, Jess signed a contract with Universal and began booking roles on shows and films such as The Guns of Will Sonnett, The Strawberry Statement, The Young Lawyers, Montserrat, The F.B.I., Medical Center, Young Dr. Kildare, The Sixth Sense, The Victim, The Bold Ones:The New Doctors, Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law, You’ll Never See Me Again, and Griff.

1974 was a big year for Walton’s career. Jess worked non-stop adding more projects to her resume with Kojak, Toma, Rex Harrison Presents Stories of Love, Sierra, Marcus Welby M.D., and Ironside.1975 was just as busy, with roles on The Six Million Dollar Man, Movin’ On, The Rockford Files, Gunsmoke, S.W.A.T., Cannon, and Starsky and Hutch.

Work slowed down a bit over the next decade. In 1980, Jess embraced the opportunity to take a much needed break from acting to deal with some personal issues. She also tied the knot with her partner-in-life, John W. James, a renowned grief recovery authority. Walton gave birth to a son, Cole, adding a sibling for James young daughter, Allison.

By 1986, Jess was ready to jump into the ring again and signed on to play Kelly Harper on the daytime series, Capitol. In 1987, Bill Bell had seen her performance on the show and quickly signed her to take the place of Brenda Dickson, the actress who originated the role of Jill Foster Abbott on The Young and the Restless. The rest is history.

She currently divides her time between her home in Oregon and Los Angeles, where she shoots The Young and the Restless. Jess and John wanted to a quiet life, away from the glitz and the glamour, not to mention to be around their children and grandchildren.

Fast Facts

  • February 18, 1949— Birthdate
  • She left home at the age of 17 and joined a Toronto theater company.
  • In 1969, she moved to Hollywood and in next year, signed with Universal Studios.
  • Was briefly married to actor Bruce Davison.
  • Singer/songwriter Laura Nyro taught Jess and Joni Mitchell to dance.
  • One of her homes was featured on Joni Mitchell’s Ladies of the Canyon cover.
  • Her husband, John James, is an author and founder of The Grief Recovery Institute.
  • Considers herself a bit of a bohemian, a rock and roller.


  • Frank Walton — Father
  • John W. James — Spouse
  • Bruce Davison — Ex-spouse
  • Allison James — Stepdaughter
  • Cole James — Son


Jess Walton’s career dates back to 1968 for her role on Festival, The Guns of Will Sonnett, The Young Lawyers, The F.B.I., Montserrat, Medical Center and Young Dr. Kildare to name a few.

However, it was her role as driven and ambitious Jill Foster Abbott that won her a loyal following since 1988, and two Daytime Emmy Awards.

Jess Walton Photos

Actor (16 Credits)

Title Role Year

The Young and the Restless (TV Show)

10-20-2017 — 2017
10-19-2017 — 2017
10-18-2017 — 2017

Jill Abbott Atkinson 2017

Capitol (TV Show)

Shelly Granger/Kelly Harper

Mrs. Columbo (TV Show)

A Chilling Surprise — 1979

Judy 1979

Kate Loves a Mystery (TV Show)

Kate Loves a Mystery — 1979


The Streets of San Francisco (TV Show)

In Case of Madness — 1976

Lois 1976

Baretta (TV Show)

Soldier in the Jungle — 1976

Muriel Sims 1976

Cannon (TV Show)

The Victim — 1975
Missing at FL307 — 1975
Arena of Fear — 1973

Janice Elder 1973 - 1975

Gunsmoke (TV Show)

Manolo — 1975
Patricia — 1973

Kattalin Larralde 1973 - 1975

Ironside (TV Show)

The Lost Cotillion — 1974
The Ghost of the Dancing Doll — 1973

Jennifer 1973 - 1974

Marcus Welby, M.D. (TV Show)

The Fatal Challenge — 1974
Unto the Next Generation — 1972

1972 - 1974

Kojak (TV Show)

Die Before They Wake — 1974

Shana 1974

You'll Never See Me Again (Movie)

Vicki Bliss 1973

The Bold Ones (TV Show)

Short Flight to a Distant Star — 1972
Party to the Crime

Sharon 1972

The Peace Killers (Movie)

Kristy 1971

The Strawberry Statement (Movie)

Student 1970

Night Gallery (TV Show)

Flying Sepulchre of Death


Guest (2 Credits)

Title Role Year

Marie (TV Show)

40 Years of Young and Restless — 2013


Soap Talk (TV Show)

Soap Talk — 2006
Soap Talk


Appearing (1 Credit)

Title Role Year

"The Young and the Restless" On-Set (TV Show)

Subject (person only) (1 Credit)

Title Role Year

Soapography (TV Show)

Jess Walton & Austin Peck — 2006