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THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS
Many leading ladies have graced our television screens since The Young and the Restless (Y&R) first aired. For over four decades now, the women of Genoa City have been fierce, as they’ve surprised us with their strength, endurance, and above all, drama! Nikki Newman has ruled the ladies with her Cinderella story of a stripper/prostitute-turned-socialite. Her daughter Victoria has been hot on her heels, proving that females can run a corporate empire just as good as the men. Sharon continues to make terrible and crazy choices, and the Abbott ladies remain to grace the little town with power and kindness. But what about some of the ladies who have left the Y&R never to be heard from again? Below is a list of popular but forgotten Y&R actresses.
Michelle Stafford, better known as OG Phyllis, originated this dynamic role, and while some fans are happy she’s returned, many will miss the interesting spin that actress Gina Tognoni brought to the part. But, what about Phyllis #2? Yes, Sandra Nelson played the character between 1997 and 1998 and brought out an even more villainess side to the evil role.
Williams portrayed Olivia Winters (on and off) for about three decades, playing the stable and level-headed sister of Drucilla. While she was not seen with the slew of other actors and actresses who returned for Neil Winters’ funeral with Nate back in town, many wonder if this popular but forgotten actress could ever make a Genoa City comeback?
Before Nikki, Hope, Ashley, and even Sabrina, there was Julia Newman, Victor’s first wife, who actually arrived in Genoa City on The Moustache’s arm. He was very controlling over her and even locked her up at the Ranch in the early ‘80s, leaving her isolated from the rest of the city. Alas, the two would eventually divorce, and Julia left town, opening the door for a Victor and Nikki love affair. The rest, as they say, is history.
Many long-time fans argue that Luan Volien Abbott, played by Sung, was Jack’s one and only true love, despite the many relationships he’s been in over the years. Elizabeth graced Y&R screens from 1994 to 1996, rekindling the old romance she shared with Abbott during the Vietnam war. Shortly after the two married in the ‘90s, Luan was struck with an illness and ended up passing on, leaving Jack devastated.
Everly played Peggy Brooks, the youngest of three sisters part of a fairly prominent family in Genoa City in the 1970s. During her younger years, she wasn’t exactly in the spotlight; however, once she hit college, Peggy made her way to the forefront of storylines engaging in some romances with Jack Abbott, Steve Williams, and Jack Curtis.
Playing Gina Roma since the early ‘80s, and the sister to rock star Danny Romalotti over the years, actress Patty Weaver felt like everyone’s older sister in that little town. She’d listen to people’s problems, while taking orders at her Italian restaurant, and offered sage advice and support to her friends in GC. While she drifted off canvas, she still remains a beloved character that many remember from “back in the day.”
Mari Jo Mason first entered the Y&R in 1994 as an old flame of Blade Bladeson, Ashley Abbott’s husband and love interest at the time. In her short tenure with the show, Diana Barton made quite an impact. Mason would eventually move onto relationships with Jack Abbott and even his son Keemo, but it was her obsession with Jack that would lead to Barton’s departure from the show. Mari Jo ended up shooting Victor Newman and then kidnapping his then-attorney, Christine Blair. These shenanigans led to Mason being institutionalized and Mari has been at a ‘facility’ ever since. Wonder if she’s ever run into Patty? They’d have a lot to talk about!
Alex Donnelley originated the Diane Jenkins character, entering the role in 1982 and playing her (on-and-off) until 2001. Manipulative, conniving, and always keeping her own interests first, Diane immediately set her sights on Jack Abbott. Sadly, he was with Patty Williams at the time, but this didn’t stop Diane from engaging in an affair with him before and well into his marriage with Williams. Alas, the good news is that their affair produced a son, but the bad news is Diane created a lot of drama for Jack over the years. Some may even say that Diane may have been the reason that Patty fell off the deep end; however, Patty was always a little unstable. Despite her stellar performance, Donnelley left the soap behind in 2001. She was later replaced by Susan Walters and then eventually by Maura West until the Jenkins character met her demise in 2011.
Any Y&R fans out there remember Maggie Sullivan? Tammy Lauren entered Genoa City in the mid-2000s and immediately embarked on a love affair with the ever-handsome Paul Williams. Playing a strong female police officer, Sullivan was smart, quick-witted, and beautiful. Paul and Maggie had a solid relationship together filled with tons of chemistry and a lot of laughs as the two could equally fire (verbal) shots at each other and retort back in a highly cute and humorous way. Alas, despite other relationships that Paul embarked on since, technically these two are still together. Maggie was last seen on Y&R screens in early 2008. The couple did not break up and no explanation was provided about her departure. We wonder if the ‘disappearance’ of Maggie Sullivan could become a future storyline?
Anyone else miss Mamie? She was once the lady who ran the Abbott Mansion as the loyal housekeeper to John Abbott. She also helped fill in the mother role to the three Abbott children that were left behind (Jack, Ashley, and Tracey) by their biological mom. As a trusted employee of John, Mamie kept everything in order and seemed to always be sniffing into the scheming plots of Jill Abbott – and in typical fashion, these two ladies never got along. While Mamie’s adopted family were the Abbotts, her other family entered Genoa City in 1990 when nieces Olivia and Drucilla stormed into town. Veronica Redd was actually the second actress to play the beloved character. She stepped into the role in 1990 and exited in 2004.
Many Y&R fans could simply not imagine anyone else playing Jill Abbott but Jess Walton. Still, it was Brenda Dickson who originated the role in 1973. Jill Foster took Genoa City by storm as an ambitious woman with a mean and manipulative streak. Dickson would continue in the role until 1980 when she left and then reprised the Jill role once again in 1983 until 1987. Alas, Jess Walton picked up the Jill Abbott pieces at that point and ran with the role. She had big shoes to fill when it came to the recast, and while Walton has done a fantastic job with her portrayal, Dickson helped establish Jill’s history and villainous ways in the little town from the get-go.
Whether you knew her as Leanna Love, Leanna Randolf, or Nora Randolf, Barbara Crampton played a pretty unique role on Y&R as Leanna. She was a journalist, a talk show host, and a book author. She was beautiful, a little crazy at times, and had her dramatic moments, but she was nothing, if not highly entertaining. Leanna also had her fair share of romances, linked with high-profile Genoa City men like Jack Abbott, John Abbott, Rex Sterling and, of course, Victor. Crampton entered the role in 1987 and would play the part (on and off) until 2002.