Interviews

Veronica Redd Talks Bringing Mamie Johnson Back to Y&R

Veronica Redd reveals what it’s like to return to Genoa City as Mamie.

veronica redd reprises mamie johnson, who raised the abbott children on the young and the restless.Veronica Redd reprises Mamie Johnson on The Young and the Restless.

Veronica Redd appears again today on The Young and the Restless as Mamie Johnson, the former Abbott housekeeper who helped raise Jack, Ashley, and Traci after Dina split. The actress chatted with Soap Hub about her return.

Veronica Redd Is Back as Mamie Johnson

Redd took over the role of Mamie from actress Marguerite Ray in 1990. Around this time, Mamie stepped up as the strong-willed aunt of sisters Dru (Victoria Winters) and Olivia (Tonya Lee Williams), lending support and offering no-nonsense advice. Later, Mamie developed feelings for her employer John Abbott (Jerry Douglas), who, at the time, was in the middle of another contentious feud with his wife, Jill (Jess Walton).

Soap Hub: What was it like being back at the show?
Veronica Redd:
It was both delightful and surreal. In 2000, Mamie rang the doorbell of the Abbott household after an absence of five years. Jack’s reaction to finding her standing there was just as incredulous this time as it was back then. Peter [Bergman, Jack] truly believes the character of Mamie brings out the best in his. And the way he plays that moment of stunned surprise never gets old.

But I do…[laughs] get old, I mean! It’s okay to laugh at that remark because, indeed, alas, I am (at last!) somewhat near the age Mamie would have been all those years later after having helped John raise Jack and his siblings from young children into their adulthood…I must say that in the very same way, Mamie reacts to the state of the household living room, I, too, felt a bit surprised that it had not changed or even just “refreshed” in some way since her last visit!

Soap Hub: Do you have fond memories of working with Jess Walton (Jill) and the late Jerry Douglas (John)?
Veronica Redd:
Oh, that’s a tough one to answer…because it’s been a long, long time, and my acting buddy Jerry Douglas has since passed on in real life. That’s hard for me to believe, and the realization always makes me tear up. Jerry was such an intelligent and kind actor. He was a perfect scene partner every day we worked together. I did not know him personally very well, but he was an absolute joy to work with, and I miss that aspect of him very much.

Soap Hub: John and Mamie’s kiss took their relationship to a new level.

Veronica Redd: What I remember most about that storyline — at least in the way Jerry 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 to do so, ever-so-tenderly.

Soap Hub: Do you have a special shoutout to the fans who’ve been watching all these years?

Veronica Redd: I do! It was very difficult for me to keep up with the show every time Mamie would presumably depart Genoa City to yet again travel the globe. And, as can often be the case, when the play duplicates real life, like Mamie, I too lost the love of my personal, romantic life — and that was a second divorce for me. Associates of every kind can quickly disappear when one is no longer in the limelight.

Fortunately, in my case, however, my daughter and son-in-law began growing a family and joyfully included me in that process. So, much of the last 20 years of my life has been devoted not only to the raising of my two granddaughters, but also to my own personal development as a human being, my love of theatre, film, and television arts, and in an exploration of several writing forms. Having grand-girls for whom today’s technology is second nature, it has only been since they have become young women out in the world on their own, that I have found myself unengaged with the burgeoning of so many social platforms. That is, up until Josh Griffith [Y&R head writer, executive producer] invited me to participate in celebrating the anniversaries of both Genoa City and of Y&R.

Had it not been for Josh and the light-hearted expertise of Y&R’s publicist Matt Kane, I wouldn’t have had a clue how beloved Mamie was by fans of the show. It has been both flattering and stupefying to experience how many fans are still so loyal and devoted to her. It makes me proud of all the years of hard work and joy that Marguerite Ray and I both put into the development of such an enduring character. Thank you, “Mamie Fans!” You’ve all been so gracious and generous in this — my third return to the show.

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