On March 26, 1998, a time capsule filled with Young and the Restless memorabilia was buried at TV City. Recently, Lauralee Bell was present for the unearthing of said capsule, and one of the unexpected contents inside gave her an emotional rush.
Lauralee Bell Hears Her Late Father’s Words
Y&R stars Christian Le Blanc (Michael) and Sean Dominic (Nate) opened the capsule and presented contents to host Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki), who shared with attendees specifics of the items that had been put in the capsule in honor of the show’s Silver Anniversary. Lauralee Bell was deeply touched when Scott read note cards (that were in the capsule) of a speech given by William J. Bell, the show’s creator, head writer, and sr. executive producer — and Lauralee’s father.
“I was like, uh-oh, I may have to walk away for a second,” Lauralee Bell later told Soap Hub. How often does she get emotional thinking about her late parents — William J. Bell and Lee Phillip Bell? “It’s usually times when I’m not expecting to get emotional that I will,” the actress says.
The Thin Red Flair
Bell theorized the capsule might have contained one of her dad’s red Flair pens, which he famously used to edit Y&R scripts. Instead, she was able to hear her father’s words. “This is what [Bill] said at our anniversary party 25 years ago,” Scott said. “‘This night, this fabulous exciting special night began 43 years ago — the day I met legendary Irna Phillips at her apartment in Chicago.'”
Phillips, who became Bill Bell’s mentor, had developed numerous radio serials in the 1930s and ushered them into television in the 1950s. She created both Guiding Light and As the World Turns. “‘Her reputation was that she was a tough lady,'” Scott continued reading Bill’s notes. “‘Brilliant but a real bitch when she had to be, which was much of the time — especially when she was dealing with the network and Procter & Gamble. But Irna was determined not only to survive in a man’s world but to be the very damn best in her field, which she was.'”
Lauralee Bell: Everyone Is No. 1
Scott went on to read Bill’s history in his own words, detailing how he and Phillips co-created Another World and how Bill later left her employ to take over struggling Days of our Lives, and how he and Lee even later created Y&R. Then, Scott recited the heartfelt words about why Y&R was No. 1 that struck an emotional chord in Bill Bell’s daughter.
“‘Why? Why were we No. 1?'” said Scott, noting Bill Bell was addressing the Y&R company from 25 years ago. “‘I will tell you why. It’s because of all of you — each and every one because all of you, each and every one of you are No. 1.’
“‘No matter what your responsibilities, you bring a pride to what you do, which makes all the difference, and that, my very dear and talented and young and restless friends, is why this night is your night, each and every one of you, and a very happy birthday to all of us.’ Twenty-five years later, we are still hearing the great Bill Bell’s words, very exciting,” Scott concluded.
“It got me,” Lauralee Bell said. “I can picture him at the podium saying this. And it doesn’t feel like it’s been 25 years. Suddenly, words become so different when they’re said [now]. Just like with Jeanne’s [Cooper, Katherine] words. You can hear her saying what she did. It’s so eerie and wonderful to wish the future well.”
Lauralee Bell echoes her father’s sentiments about acknowledging everyone’s contributions that have kept Y&R No. 1. “I try to reiterate constantly that it is [still] such a team,” she says. “My dad would say that and it meant so much coming from him. It takes everybody. It was nice in his speech that he reiterated that.”