This weekend marks the initial Soap Hub Performer of the Week, a new ongoing series that pays tribute to a show’s outstanding actor. For The Young and the Restless, the inaugural choice is Daytime Emmy nominee Marla Adams, whose character Dina Abbott Mergeron, passed away from complications from Alzheimer’s disease.
Performer of the Week: Marla Adams
One of the challenges Adams and her fellow actors faced was taping this farewell episode in the age of COVID-19. Normally, family members would hold a loved one’s hand, kiss them, hug them, and/or place a supportive palm on their shoulder.
In a way, not being able to do any of this with Dina, as they normally might have, worked. After all, the Abbott children — Jack (Peter Bergman), Ashley (Eileen Davidson), and Traci (Beth Maitland) — could never forget that their mother walked out on the family so many years ago.
When she returned to the canvas again in 2017, it was eventually revealed that Dina was suffering from Alzheimer’s. The character declined slowly. At times, there were heartbreaking moments, especially when Dina didn’t remember who her own daughter (Traci) was.
Dina was always a fighter — the wiry lady successfully wrestled a deadly syringe from Graham (Max Shippee), a man half her age, who was trying to kill her — and turned it on him, making him the victim of his own scheme.
Appropriately, Dina’s final scene was in the Abbott living room, the same room where she had dramatically re-entered her family’s life back in 1983. This time, her hair was flat and, except for perhaps a base, she wore no makeup. Jack presented his mother with the Teardrop of Love, a treasured jewel she once had, and that helped bring a moment of clarity, which intensified the dramatic impact of this powerful moment.
Dina was taking her final breaths, but Adams managed to bring her character’s energy up just enough to interact coherently with her children. Dina tearfully told her family that while she had left them, they were always in her heart and would be forever.
In her last moments, Dina was able to recognize Traci, informed Ashley that she was indeed an Abbott (despite her being fathered by golfer Brent Davis), and told Jack that this was his family now, asking him to keep them safe.
Dina’s last words were “And I love you all.” The scene then dissolved to an empty Abbott living room save Dina, beyond pain. She opened the front doors, heard the voice of her late husband, John (Jerry Douglas), who called out “Dina.” She replied, “John!”
We’re led to believe that a now joyful and smiling Dina, bathed in light, was reunited with John in the afterlife. In a promo for the show, Marla Adams says she hopes that Dina returns as a ghost. We hope so, too! The Young and the Restless airs weekdays on CBS Check local listings for airtimes.