The Young and the Restless (YR) has gone through a lot of changes over the last decade, but fans are grateful for one particular constant with the show — two-time Emmy-winning actress Jess Walton, who recently celebrated her 30th anniversary in Genoa City!
The show threw an on-set celebration, honoring Walton‘s three decades on the top-rated drama!
It Almost Didn’t Happen
Timing is everything. Walton had been a series regular on the soap Capitol, which went off the air in March 1987.
A short time later, Y&R needed to find itself a new Jill to replace exiting Brenda Dickson, but Y&R creator Bill Bell almost didn’t view Walton’s reel because he thought “Jess Walton” was a man!
Walton stepped into the part and wardrobe with ease. Y&R’s ace hair, makeup, and wardrobe departments did their best to create a physical similarity between Walton and her predecessor, but it was Walton’s dynamic and engaging interpretation of the character that ultimately won viewers over.
She dove into the rivalry between Jill and Katherine (Jeanne Cooper), and instantly made it seem like the women had been battling each other for years!
The fan favorite actress went on to tackle each story with gusto; highlights include Jill’s battles with Nina; a brief fling with Victor, remarrying John and having their son, Billy; fighting Katherine for possession of the Chancellor mansion; finding out she was adopted and that Kay was her mother (and then having that not be true), learning Lauren is her half sister, and her dysfunctional romance with Colin.
Celebration And Gratitude
Two of Walton’s former leading men, Jerry Douglas (ex-John) and Michael Corbett (ex-David), joined current cast members to celebrate Walton’s life at her tribute party.
The appreciative actress wrote to her fans on Facebook: “A big thank you to my fans for putting up with Jill’s shenanigans for the past 30 years! So proud to be part of The Young and the Restless for such a long time. Thank you for welcoming me into your living rooms!”
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