The late Lee Phillip Bell, co-creator of both The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful, has left behind many legacies. One of her most important ones was helping her late husband William J. Bell, YR and BB co-creator, incorporate social issues into storylines.
Lee Phillip Bell: A Pioneer
Today, viewers on YR are watching Sharon (Sharon Case) go through breast cancer just as over 30 years ago, fans watched BB’s Beth Logan (Nancy Burnett) battle the disease. The first time the Bells addressed breast cancer was on YR in the 1970s when Jennifer Brooks (Dorothy Green) was diagnosed with the illness. Lee Bell also addressed breast cancer in a documentary on Chicago TV.
“After we did this special on breast cancer, letters and phone calls even came in from women who, prior to that, had not done a self-examination,” Bell explained to John Callaway of WTTM-TV (a PBS station) in Chicago.
“After they watched the show and saw how simple it was [to do], they took a shower, they took a bath and they did their own self-examination, found a lump, went in, and found that they had cancer and had a mastectomy and saved their lives.”
Asked by Callaway if that gave her a sense of accomplishment, Bell simply responded, “That’s what it’s all about. I really feel that we’re all here to serve one another. That’s what our life is to serve…”
You can see the entire interview on WTTW’s home page. Meanwhile, tributes to Lee Bell continue to post on social media. “[Lee’s] consistently positive and encouraging demeanor was a result of her strength,” wrote Jack Smith, a veteran YR and BB writer, and former head writer/co-executive producer for YR.
“Lee was a warrior. A kind, gentle warrior, but a warrior nonetheless. She stood steadfastly by her husband, Bill, and their children as they built two TV shows that were, and continue to be, on-air five days a week, year-round.
“It was no easy task for a woman who left Chicago and a career as the host of a daily news and talk show, years before Oprah came on the Chicago scene. She was truly a groundbreaker – beloved by all her Chicago followers, so many of them.” The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful air weekdays on CBS. Check local listings for air times.