[dropcap]A[/dropcap]ctress Melody Thomas Scott was cast as Nikki Reed on The Young and the Restless in 1979. Originally a girl from the wrong side of the tracks, Nikki fell in love with Eric Braeden‘s character, Victor Newman, who introduced her to society. Married and divorced multiple times, Scott’s half of this Y&R super couple is most commonly referred to as Nikki Newman.
Born Melody Ann Thomas, in Los Angeles, California on April 18, 1956, this actress, singer, and dancer made her mark at the tender age of three. She studied under the late Ethel Meglin, and was in the last group known as “The Meglin Kiddies.” Previous eras of this children’s singing and dancing troupe included luminaries such as Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, Gwen Verdon, Gloria Lynn, and Shirley Temple.
A member of the Hollywood Children’s Theater and the Three Arts Studio, Scott performed in the U.S.O. and other charity productions. Her early theater work includes roles in Heidi, The Bad Seed, and Bye Bye Birdie. At age six, she landed her first national TV spot as a sleepy little girl in a Kellogg’s Rice Krispies commercial.
In 1964, Scott played Marnie, the younger version of Tippi Hedron’s title character in the Alfred Hitchcock feature film of the same name. She also had guest roles on television series of the day, including Wagon Train and Ironside.
Love Y&R? Take this fun quiz to see how much you know (or don’t know) about the soap!
In her teens, Scott focused on becoming a concert pianist, but after a year at USC, decided she didn’t want to practice music at that level of intensity. She returned to acting in the movie Posse, a Western directed by Kirk Douglas, and continued in Brian DePalma’s The Fury. She also had the honor of playing one scene opposite John Wayne in his final film role, The Shootist.
After guest spots on 1970s TV shows, including Charlies Angel’s, The Rockford Files, Fish, Makin’ It, and Billy, Scott won the recurring role Darlene Jarvis on The Waltons in 1977. The character was Ben Walton’s girlfriend, and later, wife.
In 1979, Young and the Restless cast Scott as Nikki Reed, replacing actress Erica Hope who originated the role. With a regular role on Y&R, Scott had to leave her recurring part on The Waltons.
In 1985, Scott married Edward J. Scott, then an executive producer on Y&R. Upon marrying, the actress changed her name from Melody Thomas to Melody Thomas Scott. This Beverly Hills couple has three grown children: Jennifer, Alexandra, and Elizabeth, and are the grandparents of twins James and Charlotte.
In addition to playing Nikki Newman, Scott continued to do guest appearances on other TV shows, including Diagnosis Murder, The Nanny, The King of Queens, My Name Is Earl, Castle, and The Crazy Ones.
Nominated for Outstanding Actress in 1995 for the 11th Soap Opera Digest Awards, and as Outstanding Lead Actress in the 1999 Daytime Emmy Awards, Melody Thomas Scott won the Outstanding Actress trophy in 2001 at the 17th Soap Opera Digest Awards. She also won Outstanding Lead Actress in the Soap Opera Update Awards in 1992, 1993, 1995, and 1996.
Melody Thomas Scott stars as Nikki Newman on The Young and the Restless, which airs weekdays on CBS. Leave a comment in the section below, or in our forums. For more Y&R spoilers, updates, and news, join the conversation on Soap Shows’ Y&R Facebook page. Follow SoapShows on Twitter, for ’round-the-clock Genoa City updates. Follow writer Cindy McLennan on Twitter, too.