35 years ago, Jess Walton made Young & Restless Debut As Jill


35 years ago, Jess Walton made Young & Restless Debut As Jill, and neither genoa city nor we were ever the same again.

The Emmy winner’s conniving character has always left us feeling delightfully off-balance.

When 1987 began, Jess Walton was riding high, playing a former prostitute named Kelly Harper on CBS’ political sudser Capitol.

She had been there for three years, and life could not have been better.

Then in March of 1987, the show was axed, ack! and Walton was out of a job.

Moreover, for that, all we can say is: Thank God!

The Young and the Restless, it turned out, was looking for someone new to play Jill Foster Abbott,

The pivotal role Brenda Dickson had originated 14 years earlier before passing it to Bond Gideon and Deborah Adair (later Kate, Days of Our Lives).

The show hired the newly available Walton, who stepped into the role on June 22, 1987.

Honestly, we were not entirely sure what to expect from the latest Jill. How long was she even going to stick around?

Looking back, we now know that we should have expected everything.

That is precisely what Walton has given us for the past three-plus decades as she has taken one of Genoa City’s original residents and made her irrevocably her own.

By 1987, Jill had been through five marriages, was knee-deep in one of daytime’s greatest feuds (hey, Katherine!),

Moreover, she had already schemed her way up from a manicurist to a titan of business.

There was, in other words, plenty for Walton to dig her nails into. Moreover, there were plenty of men for Jill to do the same.

Jill has only been married three times in the past 34 years, but it is safe to say she has bedded half of Genoa City. At least half.

Moreover, that is something the late, great Jeanne Cooper (Katherine) loved to remind everyone of.

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