Camryn Grimes has been a part of The Young and the Restless for 25 years, having made her debut on the CBS soap opera on March 19, 1997. She recently chatted at length with Soap Hub about spending a quarter of a century in Genoa City. As longtime fans know, Grimes started out playing Mariah Copeland’s twin Cassidy ‘Cassie’ Newman.
The Story That Brought Camryn Grimes to Y&R
Sharon Rosales (Sharon Case), Cassie’s birth mother, and her then-husband Nick Newman (Joshua Morrow) were keeping vigil over their son Noah Newman (Rory Gibson), who was born prematurely. Fearing that Sharon would be inconsolable if Noah didn’t make it, her best friend Grace Turner (Jennifer Gareis) and her pal Tony Viscardi (Nick Scotti) set out to find the little girl whom Sharon had given up for adoption when she was in high school.
Soap Hub: Your first scenes were Cassie getting off a school bus to go home to Millie (the late Ernestine Mercer), her grandmother. The segments were shot in Pittsburgh.
Camryn Grimes: Yes. I was a little California girl, and I remember it was very, very cold. My grandfather took me. It was cool seeing another part of the country. I had a really close relationship with my grandma, so it wasn’t difficult to fall into that sort of dynamic with [Ernestine]. She was so kind, and sweet. She’s definitely missed.
Soap Hub: Tony and Grace brought Cassie back to see Sharon — but then Noah lived! So, Grace and Tony kept Cassie with them while they figured out what to do.
Camryn Grimes: For the first few months, I worked exclusively with Jennifer Gareis and Nick Scotti. Then, Cassie was introduced to Sharon and Nick as her new parents. With Sharon, she was initially like, ‘I don’t really know you.’ It was well played by the writers. Nick was so much fun. He was playful and silly. Jennifer was kind, loving, warm, and welcoming. I never felt like I was ‘working’ with adults who were judging me. We were a team and they were helping me and I was helping them. That’s how it felt when I was working with Josh [Morrow, Nick] and Sharon [Case, Sharon]. We have a history that you see now.
Soap Hub: Did you go to regular school while you worked?
Camryn Grimes: I did! People may have felt I was homeschooled, but I went to regular high school. I think I owe a lot of my personality to the fact that other than being on a television show, I had a very standard upbringing. On the days I wasn’t working, I went to public school. When I would come on set, I’d do the packets for my school work with the school teacher who was the same teacher when Bryton [James, Devon Hamilton] was little and my uncle’s [actor Scott Grimes] teacher when he was little.
Soap Hub: Did other kids at school take time off to take acting jobs?
Camryn Grimes: There was one other kid actor in my public school who did that. I’m sure it wasn’t uncommon for schools to have arrangements. I liked [the school] part of my life as well. I love to work. A lot of the specifics of [professional] etiquette and work ethic were taught to me by my grandfather. My grandfather wasn’t in the business, but he was repeating the same things that he told my uncle from being on sets with him. He instilled in me that these are adults and that this is your job, and my job is to make their job easier. As fun as it is, you have to take it seriously. I took to that. I like structure. I like rules.
Soap Hub: Cassie went to live with Sharon and Nick, but the arrival of her legally adoptive mother Alice (Tamara Clatterbuck) threatened her new life.
Camryn Grimes: [Tamara] is so funny and is the total opposite of her character. She’s incredibly maternal. Whenever I see her, it’s so fun. She’s so interested about my life and what’s going on with me. Working with her a few years back was such a fun opportunity. It was very, very cool.
Soap Hub: What scenes did you submit to win your first Daytime Emmy in 2000?
Camryn Grimes: I know they were from the courtroom [where Cassie’s custody was being decided]. Back then, the show or my grandparents decided that stuff. I couldn’t see a thing past the stage when I went up there. My memories of going to New York for the Daytime Emmys are seeing [Broadway] shows, going to FAO Schwartz, and to the Rainbow Room. The Daytime Emmys were this cool thing I got to dress up for. I loved getting into pretty dresses. It felt like going to a ball. The gravity of it all never landed on me. I never thought I’d win. I was ardently told by my family I wasn’t going to win. That sounds bad, but they were thinking you’re nominated against [experienced] adults. It was just as much of a shock [to me] that I won.
Soap Hub: Cassie never went through SORAS (Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome). You stayed on the show as you became a teenager. Then, Cassie got a crush on Daniel (Michael Graziadei).
Camryn Grimes: I remember that story. I was growing up and going through puberty and coming into my own. They cast the younger teens who were only about two years older than me. But there’s a big difference between 14, which I was, and 16. I remember following Christel [Khalil, Lily], Lyndsy [Fonseca, Colleen], and Thad [Luckinbill, JT] around like a puppy dog. ‘Hey, guys! Wait for me!’ I remember thinking I was finally going to be a part of the teen storyline! That was all cut short given Cassie’s death, but it was exciting for me to start to get all the juicy stuff.
Check back with Soap Hub for the next part of our interview with Camryn Grimes in which she’ll talk about Cassie’s death, her return visits as a spirit, and how she adjusted to life after leaving Y&R.
The Young and the Restless (YR) airs weekdays on CBS. Check your local listings for airtimes. For more about what’s coming up in Genoa City, check out all the latest that’s been posted on Y&R spoilers, and for an in-depth look at the show’s history, click here.