The Young and the Restless is making good on its word to celebrate the CBS soap’s golden anniversary throughout the year. The show is set to honor the late Jerry Douglas, who played patriarch John Abbott, with a special episode.
Y&R Honors the Late, Great Jerry Douglas
“In the spirit of its 50th anniversary, The Young and the Restless celebrates the legacy of John Abbott and his portrayer, the late Jerry Douglas with a special episode airing on Thursday, June 22,” reads a statement from the show. The release goes on to say: “The episode is filled with classic flashbacks and includes a special appearance by the late actor’s wife, author, and television personality, Kym Douglas [The Ellen DeGeneres Show]. She’ll appear as Zelda Wilford, who shares a special connection to the Abbott family.” Jerry Douglas died on November 12, 2021, at the age of 88 — just two days shy of his 89th birthday.
John Abbott: Family Matters
When late Y&R creator William J. Bell took his creation to the hour format in 1980, he expanded two families to help fill the canvas. Jack Abbott (first, Terry Lester; now, Peter Bergman) was already on the canvas, so Bell added family members John (Jerry Douglas debuted in 1982), Ashley (Eileen Davidson), and Traci (Beth Maitland) along with beloved Abbott family housekeeper Mamie Johnson first, Marguerite Ray; then, Veronica Redd, who revisited the show for the Y&R’s 50th).
Over the years, John was embroiled in two tempestuous marriages with Jill Abbott (Deborah Adair; Brenda Dickson; now, Jess Walton). After his first split from Jill, John fell in love with Jessica Blair (Rebecca Street), Cricket’s (Lauralee Bell) mother. The two divorced so that Jessica, who was dying from AIDS, could marry Cricket’s dad Jim Grainger (first, John Phillip Law; later, John O’Hurley).
In the 1990s, John and Jill’s second marriage produced a son, Billy (first, David Tom; now, Jason Thompson). Mamie and John shared a kiss, much to the chagrin (to say the least!) of Jill. The second divorce between John and Jill was epic, with the two having knockdown battles over Mamie, her infidelity with Jed Sanders (Josh Taylor), Jabot Cosmetics, and custody of Billy. After John and Jill split, he moved to New York with Billy, returning often to Genoa City. After about a decade of Victor Newman (Eric Braeden) owning Jabot, John was able to see the company return to the Abbott family.
Jerry Douglas: When John Called Gloria
John (Jerry Douglas) fell in love with Gloria Fisher (first, Joan Van Ark; Judith Chapman), much to the chagrin of his children. After killing Tom Fisher (Roscoe Born), Gloria’s abusive ex-husband, and Kevin’s (Greg Rikaart) father, John Abbott, was sentenced to prison. He was released due to health reasons, and John Abbott died in August 2006. In 2008, Douglas returned to the show was an actor named Alistair Wallingford. Jack attempted to employ Alistair to deal with a pesky Gloria.
Alistair’s time in Genoa City was relatively short. He left town to pursue other roles. However, Y&R wasn’t through with Douglas. The show continued to have him back for multiple appearances as Jack’s conscience. He’d occasionally appear as some kind of spirit or astral projection to other characters, too.