Soap Hub Flashback Friday: Veronica Redd Recalls Mamie V. Jill

Veronica Redd and Jess Walton created on-screen fireworks on The Young and the Restless.

mamie versus jill was appointment television on young and the restless.Veronica Redd recalls Mamie and Jill's epic showdowns over John on Y&R.

Veteran Y&R fans were treated to an exchange between Mamie Johnson (Veronica Redd) and Jill Abbott during the show’s 50th-anniversary gala. Years ago, the two sparred over the well-being of John Abbott, Jill’s husband and Mamie’s employer. Recently, Redd chatted with Soap Hub about the epic rivalry.

Veronica Redd Talks Mamie V. Jill

Jill (Jess Walton) was having an affair with Jed Sanders (Josh Taylor), a contractor hired to do work for John (Jerry Douglas). Mamie got wind of it and was simply not going to let John be duped. As evidenced by Mamie’s recent reaction to Jill, there’s still not a great deal of love lost between the two women.

Soap Hub: The Mamie/Jill feud took on a whole new dimension after John and Mamie shared a kiss. What are your memories of that storyline?

Veronica Redd: I remember — at least in the way Jerry Douglas played it — was when John one day just looked at Mamie so genuinely enraptured of her that he just could not help but kiss her, and he did so ever so tenderly.

I recall that upon reading that scene, my heart actually skipped a beat and then began racing. When it was time to tape the scene, Jerry was so calm, so poised, and professional — and in each of the two takes we did, he executed the kiss so thoughtfully. He made it seem as normal as apple pie and vanilla ice cream to lean in for that kiss.

I had no idea how he was going to approach it. But, it was almost as if he knew it was going to be terrifying for me — and it was! It was my first (heaven forbid!), might I say, at the age I am now, and likely to also be my very last romantic kiss ever on screen. Then again, no one knows the future!

Soap Hub: Do you recall how you felt at the time?

Veronica Redd: As I reflect on it now, it was almost as if Jerry knew I was overwhelmed by the stage direction, and as John, he ever so gently “crossed that line” between employer and employee with such sincerity that the only reaction Mamie could have was the same one I had when I first read the scene. It was one of the sweetest moments of my life.

Soap Hub: That’s beautiful. What else do you recall about the story?

Veronica Redd: What I remember post-kiss — all the scripts thereafter portrayed John as having forgotten that he had been developing romantic feelings toward Mamie — was that Jill suddenly had so much vested in wresting John’s attentions away from Mamie and diverting them toward her instead.

Having to play that after the sweetness of the kiss became one of the most tragic times of my personal life. That may have been the one time when I finally understood how deeply involved fans can get into the lives of their favorite characters in a serial drama. Those scripts were heartbreaking and way too easy to play.

People may not realize just how difficult it was for me — as well as it must have been for the Y&R cast and crew — to pull off the switch from my predecessor Marguerite Ray in the role of Mamie, to me, a much younger woman, to slip into that character’s skin, quite literally, overnight.

Soap Hub: Had you seen Y&R before joining the cast?

Veronica Redd: I was unfamiliar with the show back in 1990, but today, I can honestly say I am proud of the kind of training and skill that helped us all pull that one off. I can’t imagine what it must have been like for the fans of the show at the time. But there was no time for those kinds of considerations back then. “The show” must always go on, “darhlink!” And so, that’s what we all did. We soldiered on. Although I am sure it is fair to say, that after my first few days on set, I was most certainly not the same Mamie Johnson [that Jill] had grown accustomed to dismissing. Jill was out to get my Mamie from the first scene she and I had together.

Another challenge encountered in that expedited circumstance: there was a notable enough difference between my real age at the time and the decade of life that Marguerite and Jerry were living at the time. My being their “junior” in a sense, was a big hurdle to maneuver — one I must first credit the producers for in having taken such a gamble. I don’t know exactly what I did to pull that off, but I think I have good reason to be proud of having done so.

I was so busy finding aspects of the character of Mamie that would melt the distinctions of age and era between myself and my predecessor that I never really had an opportunity to connect with “who” Mamie was or may have been before I began to portray her. Ultimately, today, I don’t believe I, Veronica, actually became the character until the day John kissed Mamie.

At the risk of sounding prejudicial, I’m willing to bet that kiss was one of the most genuinely professional acting moments in all of television history. “Brava!” to me and “Bravo!” to Mr. Jerry Douglas. May he forever rest in peace.

Soap Hub: Mamie was not going to back down when it came to Jill.

Veronica Redd: One thing is for certain: Jess Walton had to step back and reassess her Jill in relationship to this Mamie. The rest is history, or, at least, ‘her-story’ as written by Jill. Much of the dialogue that informed my portrayal of Mamie in my earliest years in the role appeared to have been temporarily ignored, forgotten, or was most probably unknown. I, however, have not forgotten anything I know about her, so a wealth of untapped wonders about this avatar of a woman remains to be seen.

That said, I personally know nothing of Mamie’s attitude toward Jill and her shenanigans before I took over the role, but once I saw how calculating and disingenuous Jill was with John, I became a most ardent fan of the show and expressed all of my disgust about Jill’s misbehavior in relationship to John through Mamie. The battle was on, baby. No way was she going to get away with toying with that man’s affections on my watch, honey.

Soap Hub: The story came to a conclusion when Jill offered money to Mamie to leave town. She left and went on a cruise.

Veronica Redd: I guess I’ll never know what happened to that particular storyline…whether it was the untimeliness with which it coincided with the O.J. Simpson trial — and all of its interracial undertones — or if the kiss was quite simply as far as America herself could go with telling a fictional story of a love so enduring it could stand the test of our times and our limitations.

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