The Young and the Restless premiered in 1973 and featured families and characters that today’s viewers might not know. The first family of YR was the Brooks family, and they drove the storytelling on the show for its first decade.
The Young and the Restless: Family Matters
Wealthy newspaper publisher Stuart Brooks (Robert Colbert) and his wife, Jennifer (Dorothy Green), were the parents of four very different daughters. The eldest, Leslie (Janice Lynde, Victoria Mallory), was a fragile girl who was a bit socially awkward.
The only time she was sure of herself was when she was playing the piano and, so, she became a successful concert pianist. Suitors pursued her, but her biggest obstacle to happiness with men was her own sister, Lauralee, who went by Laurie.
Laurie (Jaime Lyn Bauer) was the free-spirited, carefree, and sexually aggressive daughter who wanted all the men who wanted her sister Leslie. These two were locked in battles over men for years. First, it was mystery man Brad Eliot (Tom Hallick), whom Leslie was in love with. Laurie’s machinations caused Leslie to have a nervous breakdown. Fortunately, Brad and Leslie were eventually reunited and married.
Perhaps Laurie deserved it, then, when she found out that she was the product of an affair that her mother had had. Not only was Laurie devastated to learn that Stuart Brooks wasn’t her biological father, but the new man she’d fallen in love with turned out to be her half-brother.
Soon, a new man entered the picture in the form of rich playboy Lance Prentiss (John McCook, Dennis Cole). Lance was at first infatuated with Leslie, but he later fell in love with Laurie and the two were wed. Circumstances kept the sisters and Lance entwined in a triangle, which developed into a quadrangle when Lance’s brother, Lucas (Tom Ligon) came to town.
The Golden Child
The third daughter, Chris (Trish Stewart, Lynne Topping), was a golden child. She was idealistic and innocent and all she wanted out of life was to fall in love, get married, and raise a family.
Sadly, Chris’ innocence was taken from her when she was brutally raped by a stranger — George Curtis (Anthony Geary). She managed to survive her ordeal with the help of her family and the love of her life, William “Snapper” Foster (William Gray Espy, David Hasselhoff). Chris became stronger because of her ordeal, and that strength was needed when her younger sister, Peggy, suffered the same brutal fate.
Peggy (Pamela Peters, Patricia Everly) was the youngest of the Brooks daughters. She was still a college student when all of the drama was happening with her older sisters, but she soon found herself enmeshed in her own when she fell in love with her teacher. Her heartbreak over that relationship was nothing compared to the despair she suffered after she was raped. Peggy wound up going through the same trauma as Chris but was fortunate to have her sister as her ally and advocate.
The Young and the Restless Bond
Through all their difficulties, and despite their familial conflicts, the four daughters always united in times of trouble. That bond was tested when their mother, Jennifer, battled breast cancer, which she beat. Unfortunately, she later died, leaving them devastated. They managed to survive the tragedy and continued on with their lives.
After being center-stage for so long, the family began dissipating. Backstage at the show, all of the main Brooks girls, except for Laurie, had been recast and it was getting more and more difficult to root for them.
One by one, the daughters left Genoa City. Laurie was the last remaining member of the Brooks clan, and her departure signaled the end of an era for The Young and The Restless. Since then, the ladies have made guest appearances at special events over the years, but none have returned to stay.
Note: Photo credit – CBS