In a major plot twist on today’s episode of The Young and the Restless, Sharon Newman reveals in a discussion with the vision of her deceased daughter Cassie, that she switched the paternity results of Summer Newman, and that Nick is her true biological father, not Jack Abbott! This comes on the heels of recent developments where Nick finally came forward with what he believed to be the “truth” … that he was not Summer’s bio-dad! Or, so he thought! Flashback: Years before, Nick has an affair with Phyllis while she is seeing Jack, and she becomes pregnant. A paternity test is ordered. Only when the test comes back, only Nick sees the results and proclaims that he is indeed Summer’s father. Flash forward: Years later in 2013, Nick starts feeling guilty when Summer takes a liking to Jack’s son, Kyle. He opens the paternity test from years ago to see that it reveals that the results are inconclusive. So, he orders another one secretly, and this time the test comes back from the DNA sample, showing that Jack is Summer’s father. Oh, what a tangled web the powers-that-be at Y&R are weaving now on the number one soap!
As for Sharon Newman, changing the paternity test results is just another shocker from the character who has previously: burnt down the Newman ranch, developed kleptomania and stole things left and right, and fell in love with Adam Newman (the man who stole her baby and made her believe hers had died, while he passed the baby off as Ashley’s in a despicable plot!) But for Daytime Emmy winner and fan favorite, Sharon Case (Sharon Newman) this new plot development opens up a whole new set of circumstances and secrets that will generate so much story for her and others on the canvas in the months, and possibly years to come!
In this exclusive interview, On-Air On-Soaps sat down with Sharon Case in her dressing room at CBS to get her thoughts on: how she justifies Sharon’s action in the switching of Summer’s paternity, what she thinks this means for the future of Shick and Shadam, what will the upcoming departure of Michelle Stafford (Phyllis) mean for the story moving forward, and how Cassie’s Death still resonates years later to Y&R fans everywhere, and how Sharon and Nick losing their daughter many years ago, has been the impetus for so much heartache, change, miscommunication, and missteps, in their lives.
Whether you are on board with the decision that Y&R has made to have Sharon be the woman who pulled the ultimate switch, one thing can be said, Sharon Case has played everything that has been handed to her to the hilt, and after you read our chat, you will come away with the motivations behind it all. Here’s what Ms. Case had to say!
How long have you known that it would be revealed that Sharon ultimately was the one who switched the paternity results? And, what did you think when you heard that Sharon was responsible for the switcheroo?
I have known for a while. I was told in advance of shooting it, roughly what the storyline was going to be, not the whole thing, but I was given enough information so that I knew how to play the scenes. What did I think? I think it was a great idea. I said to Josh Griffith our head writer, secrets in soap opera are key. We have had a secret in place, or sort of secret, for seven years, and that is what is the paternity of Summer? Nick never exposed what it is. So these little secrets that the writers put in, and leave there for years, are what are driving the show in some respect. So, you can’t not have them, and then eventually you have to pick them up. But, the great thing about when you pick them up is that maybe you resolve the secret, but at the same time you create some other secret. So it just keeps going, and that is what keeps the show going. I love how Josh decided to address this secret about the paternity test, yet he put a twist on it, so it still remained unknown, or set wrong, or somebody does not know the truth. But, it’s really only great if you are going to leave it like that for years, just like it was like that for years before. So, that the same game is always in play. How hilarious and wild would it be for it to go on for years that the audience knows that Sharon switched the test, and the audience knows who Summer’s father is, but no one, not Nick, or anyone else in Genoa City, knows except for Sharon? I think that’s a great long-term secret, and one day it can be addressed and come out, and we could re-test the paternity, and then maybe the truth is then… it is Jack’s! There is no reason to resolve or end it, because I think it’s fun to see what happens. All of these things are what creates conflict and high drama, because that is what we are after. This is brilliant, because it is very relevant to every single character on the show. What could be more relevant … Cassie’s death, and then the paternity of Summer. Phyllis getting pregnant in the first place, and Sharon feeling that was wrong. That changed fate in a way it never should have.
We had spoken about this before, about how all the different writing regimes had put Sharon through the ringer, and you had to make sense of all of it, and had the task of making it all work on-screen. Were you at all concerned about how your fan base would react now to the revelation of Sharon being the one who switched Summer’s paternity test?
Well, no. First of all, you are right. The burden was always on me as the actress to make sense of this character, and to try to use a point of view, an opinion, an emotional tone, something that I add to her in playing these storylines that somehow makes this make sense to the audience. And, that was up to me. My writers were not necessarily always giving me that. They always gave me good storylines. And boy, were they dramatic, quirky, fun and entertaining! But it wasn’t all adding up in the end. Finally, Josh Griffith did that when he decided that Sharon was bipolar. That resolved everything from her entire past, and for her entire future. It was the greatest relief to me, because I don’t have to justify Sharon’s behavior anymore, as the actress. I don’t have to rely on my writer to justify her behavior anymore. We now know why Sharon behaves this way, and that probably should have been written or decided upon a long time ago. So, it was a stroke of genius for Josh to come up with that. There are always times when people go off their meds, and people do go off their meds constantly. First of all, no one really remembers to take their meds everyday. You may remember for a whole week, but then you forget a day, that is just how life goes. Or, you go out of town and you just forgot them, or you purposely go off them, because you think you are doing very well. This is a chronic issue with people who take meds on a regular basis, and so you are never always leveled out. So every time you do that, you really rock your boat by missing one day of meds.
On today’s episode Sharon sees Cassie, and that precipitates the reveal that Sharon switched Summer’s paternity results. Why do you think she came to her at this time?
My take on Sharon talking to Cassie, from Sharon’s point of view, is this: Sharon has always been very spiritual. She was a spiritually religious young lady. Remember, when she was with Adam at the feet of angels at the graveyard, and she had gone to seek out the psychic? Sharon believes in all things in the spiritual world. She spends a lot of time at the graveyard since Cassie passed away. Sharon really does believe that she is connected to the spiritual world, and that she does have some kind of communication with it. In some way, that makes sense to her. I think she feels, in really trying times in her life, extra communication with her daughter, and that spiritual mother/daughter connection will never end. When she sees Cassie, she always feels that is her guardian angel. Nick and Sharon have always said that she is. They have always told the other kids that, “Cassie is their guardian angel and watching out for them, and if you really listen, you can hear what she is saying.” Sharon is really listening right now to hear what Cassie is saying.
Doesn’t Cassie seem to appear when Sharon feels guilty about things she did?
I think guilt is a time when you are in need of counseling, as well as some other emotions. So Sharon does tell Cassie she switched the results of Summer’s paternity.
So, does Sharon feel justified in switching the test results?
Sharon really does feel justified in what she is doing. In fact, she feels she is doing what needs to be done. She feels that hers and Nick’s destinies, and Cassie’s destiny, and everyone’s life was compromised by Phyllis having this baby, because Nick and Phyllis had an affair, and Nick wanted to get back with Sharon. Sharon said “no” and it ended up not happening because of this baby …that is the thing …. it was because of Summer. Sharon sees it, as that was something that was never meant to be. Sharon is a religious person, and that was the devil’s work. And so, she is going to take matters into her own hands, and set things right for her destiny, and everyone’s destiny to fix things the way they should be in the name of Cassie, who lost her life, and in the name of everything. So she is absolutely convinced that this is the right thing to do. Sometimes there is a point of view that, “OK, maybe some level of destruction is necessary to do right by all.” That is why I think she thinks everybody is going to be better off because of this change that was made. And that is why she goes into it very righteously doing so, knowing this is the right move. I think she’ll take her signs from the universe as to if she did the right thing, or not. And, some more signs come from the universe immediately after this that tell her whether this is her path, the right path, their fate. It’s interesting how it moves along.
So many people wanted Adam and Sharon, or better known by many as “Shadam”. Now are you saying that all along Sharon had in her mind that she ultimately wanted to get back together with Nick?
I think she thinks again that is the way things were supposed to have happened. But in the meantime, and in those years, because it hadn’t happened that way, and it didn’t seem like Nick was going to leave Phyllis, Sharon met Adam and fell in love with Adam. That was the only other man that has ever come into her life, where she felt the same way as she does about Nick. I would not say that one is better, or bigger than the other. I think they were both equals, and that is what made that storyline so interesting. You have two different kinds of men, and yet they are brothers … and yet Sharon fell in love with both of them, and each of them for opposite reasons, which made it very compelling. I think the events at the time that led to Shadam make perfect sense. She had to realize she wasn’t going to get Nick back, or for the foreseeable future. So she created a great relationship and a future for herself with Adam. You know what? That did not work out. It fell apart. Now she just newly discovered that now this is what is supposed to be … that Summer is really supposed to be Jack’s daughter, and then none of this would have occurred. Sharon is just trying to figure out her life as she goes along, too, like everyone else is.
So, Sharon is OK with Nick taking the fall for the latest paternity result fiasco, when she really tampered with the results?
It’s not that she is really OK with it, but I think she understands, because she went through the loss of Cassie as well. Sharon can understand how really deep that pain is, and how it might drive you to make a bad decision. Nick made a decision that helped him at the time. He did what he needed to do. Sharon can certainly understand needing to feel like you have another daughter to replace the one you just lost. I don’t see how anyone could actually blame Nick for that, even though it’s wrong, it makes a lot of sense. I think Sharon understands it, and so since Nick seemed willing to tamper with the paternity test and allow people to believe something about that test that wasn’t necessarily true, she thinks, “Then, why don’t I let people believe something about that test that isn’t necessarily true, too!” She thinks that they are both on the same page with each other! (Laughs)
OY! Nick and Sharon deserve each other! (Laughs)
Yes, they do! (Laughs) I think Sharon figured if he was willing to go that route, then maybe that’s the way we should go.
When Joshua Morrow (Nick Newman) found out the twist on the twist, what did he say to you? Everyone was worried about how this paternity test switch would wreck Nick’s credibility as a good guy, and he would look like a jackass for a moment! But now Sharon ultimately sealed everyone’s fate!
I have had conversations many times with Joshua and Michael Muhney (Adam Newman) about how we feel about our characters looking like jackasses. No one wants their character to look like that. We all get concerned when that happens, but I think as long as there is some redeemable reason why you did something, and there usually is, then I don’t worry about it Nobody is all good, so why should these characters be? Everyone makes a mistake in life, and can be stubborn about the mistake, or admit to their mistake. That is how people are, and so that is what makes these characters real.
What does Sharon think of Phyllis at this point in time?
She thinks this is a dark element that literally moved in and rained over this happy family. She thinks it’s time for her, or someone, but likely her, to literally buck-up and cast it out once and for all!
How do you feel about Michelle Stafford (Phyllis) leaving the show? You two have had a lot of amazing scenes over the years!
We have had a lot of amazing scenes! I remember I was in Paris not that long ago and they were showing me what episode was airing there. It was Phyllis and Sharon arguing in one of their typical fights in the Restless Style office, back when Sharon was working there, and Sharon was married to Jack. I thought, “That really brings me back. We really had a lot of stuff!” There was so much that I forgot a lot of it! I think the triangle of Sharon/Nick/Phyllis went on for a very long time. It was a fantastic triangle. But eventually these triangles end, and they eventually move on to some new triangle. What I think was we sort of merged out of that to the Nick/Sharon/Adam triangle. We just barely merged in to that, but I see that is the triangle that is coming for the future. Before Sharon/Nick/Phyllis, it was Sharon/Nick/Grace, and people loved that one! Those things last for a period of time and then you move on to the next one, and then the next one is even bigger and better. I think, as far as the Phyllis character, I think that maybe that character has played this part of its storyline out. If the character were to come back for any reason, I don’t know if it would be the same storyline, as now this is moving in a direction and progression that the show has to take. The show has to keep moving. But once you get a really good triangle, it’s good to stick with them. We usually do stick with them for four or five years, or more. I am excited about where the storyline is going now.
Do you think Michelle Stafford exiting Y&R will be a huge loss and hit for the show?
We have had two key actresses leave the show this year for one reason or another. We have had key actors leave before, but I think the show is strong, because it’s about the show. It’s the ensemble of the show, and the characters on the show, and the show will be fine and survive things like this. While at the same time, I think it’s important to keep key characters and key actors visible on the show, more so than newbies leading the airwaves. Otherwise, you start losing the audience, and as long as we don’t start slipping into too much of that, then the show should be fine and stay stable. We are all horribly sorry about the loss of Jeanne Cooper (Katherine Chancellor). We miss her dearly. It was a real hit to our show. She had a lot of great storylines, even in recent years. Michelle decided she wanted to go and try other things. Everybody’s feeling about that here is: we wish her luck and have our fingers-crossed.
We have discussed this in other interviews, how you have such devoted and passionate fans and followers on Twitter. Have you checked out what they have been saying? What do you think they will say when this all comes to light?
I have read a lot on Twitter that the fans are concerned. They don’t like it when the writers write Sharon doing bad things. I agree with them. Bad things that are not explained don’t need to happen for Sharon. I saw some complaints right off the bat. But I am telling you, once you see the whole thing, and the great twists in it, I think they are going to like it. So right now, I am just not replying too much. I want them to get to see a little more of the storyline, and then we will see.
The death of Cassie was the most important event in the history of Nick and Sharon’s life together, because it really changed everything. How much longer can this go on that Nick and Sharon don’t get back together? Do you feel it’s time?
You would think that they would. You have this core couple on the show that have not been together that much in the last seven or eight years … other than one quick bit together when they had Faith, and that did not last too long. But, you know that is what happened when Nikki and Victor split, too. When Nikki and Victor split they were split for like ten or more years, and when they got re-married it was the “Wedding of the Century”. I was relatively new on the show then, and Sharon and Nick were married, and we were having Nikki and Victor’s wedding, and it was a big deal. And so I thought, “That is why Nick and Sharon have been apart for a long time.” It’s kind of like the same story told again with the new generation. Who knows, if they will get together now? Or, if it will be like Nikki and Victor and ten years will go by? We will see, but I think it’s all good.
The Y&R audience adored the Cassie character. It’s interesting to see how she is still weaved into the show.
People love the Cassie character. She is one of the most beloved characters on the show of all-time, and to bring her back as a regular character, not just one time in somebody’s flashback, is a phenomenal idea. Talk about losing actresses on our show that the core audience wants to see? Well, we lost her a long time ago, and it created the best story for years and years. But the show found a way to bring the character back in a way, it’s the best of both worlds … where we did lose her … but the actress is back and the character is still in some shape or form on the show. I am sure it was nice for the audience to see Cassie on-screen again. I am sure it would be comforting to know that the relationship would always be there. This is a big core family on our show.
Now that this reveal is out, do you think we will see more of Sharon and Adam?
I think in the future that is ultimately where it may go, but that is not what is happening right now. It is my guess that the future of it is the triangle of Nick/Sharon/Adam. I just don’t see it being someone else in the triangle. These are the men in her orbit. I am not saying she is going to get back with Nick, and then get together with Adam, and go back and forth. That is not what I am saying. My writers did not tell me this, that is just my projection, and it’s my impression of what is happening, because after all, these are the men that have been in Sharon’s life for a while now. It just makes sense.
Do you remember shooting the Cassie “death” scenes? Whenever there is a Y&R retrospective clip package that is in it, and it evokes such emotion from the audience, and it still holds up!
They were so hard for everyone. That is the most interesting thing about those scenes. That no matter who is watching it, and I have never seen this before, but whether it’s you, me, or Joshua, or any member of our audience, or any one of the crew … it does not matter who you are when you watch that scene you start crying, and its hard not to. It’s hard to talk about those scenes with someone without starting to cry. Something in those scenes struck a chord. I am sure there have been scenes in a drama where someone’s child died, but this was special. There was something about the scene.
It was the writing, and the production, and the performances that made those scenes some of the most gut-wrenching, powerful moments in the history of the show, or soap opera.
It was everything. It was Jack Smith’s writing. It was the way the story was told. It was who these character were, and how beloved they were, and how long the audience has known all of them, and the way that Cassie died, the relevancy of the drunk driving part of the story, and the utter tragedy. So many people were touched by the drunk driving. It was not that Cassie was drunk, but Daniel, who was supposed to be driving wasn’t responsible and drank. And so, an alternative plan came up and that was a bad plan, and to it was Phyllis’ son. These are things that happen when kids are out drinking. These tragedies touch all of us in so many ways. Even when we watch other families go through this, we are devastated. I think this story was so true to form, and touched everyone as though it really happened in real life. It wasn’t a story that just happened on a soap opera, where things can just be overly dramatic, or whatever. This wasn’t that, it was real. It was too real for Joshua and me to even go through it. We did it in one take. The scene is still devastating in my mind and Joshua’s. It’s almost not watchable. If it comes on, I can’t get through it. It’s so interesting how something that is on a television show can be so real to you.
Are you worried about how Sharon keeping this secret will destroy Jack again down the line? Does Sharon even care about Jack in all this deceit?
I think that Sharon sees the bright side of that. Jack wanted a child. Once upon a time he and Phyllis wanted a child, and they were not able to have one. Wouldn’t this be a blessing for that couple? And, wouldn’t this put solidarity and family in their lives? Maybe there is a happy ending in this, and also it’s not going to change Nick and Summer’s relationship. That is already established. It’s not like anyone is being ripped apart from anyone, in reality. Instead, if Jack and Phyllis are going to get together, which it seems like they are, this would be a really good catalyst to fall in love and solidify a family.
Do you think Sharon can ever be a mother to Summer if Nick and Sharon were to get back together?
Sharon is a good mother figure in the way that she says things to people when they need to hear them. Sharon has that with anyone. But beyond having that basic ability with all people, I don’t think she is ever going to see herself as Summer’s mother, or step-mother, or ever be able to take Summer under her wings to much of an extent. Phyllis was a poison in hers and Nick’s life, and Summer came in between Nick and Sharon, ultimately. Sharon does not blame either of the kids… not Daniel either, and he is more directly related to Cassie’s dearth. She does not feel that familial feeling with Daniel or Summer … they are Phyllis’ kids. In that respect, that is an element that Sharon feels should never cross paths with her and Nick.
Who knew that Cassie’s death would supply so much continual ongoing story for years and years to come! We knew when Cassie said on her deathbed, that Nick and Sharon would have another little girl, that would come to pass, but so much has happened! And look at where we are now?
I have not watched Y&R for the entire 40 years, but I did watch some of it before I was on, too, and I was on GH and ATWT before that. So being on soaps you want to check out the other soaps. I was aware of the characters on Y&R for some time, but I was not that closely related to it. But, I remember there were these great couples on the show like Nikki and Victor, and Ryan and Victoria were just great, and Paul and Christine. I remember when I was a kid I would see then on the show with Peter Barton (Ex-Dr. Scott Grainger), and I remember to this day and these were great love stories all around. But I don’t know that the show has ever had an astounding significant story that affected the characters in Genoa City, and the show, the ways Cassie’s death had. If that ever happened, prior to Cassie’s death, I don’t know what storyline that would be? That fact that happened, at least in these recent decades, that is The Young and the Restless.
Talk about self-sabotage! Over the last few weeks, fans of CBS’ The Young and the Restless have seen how one decision, or moment in time, can have an effect on several residents of Genoa City, such as the case with Elena Dawson (Brytni Sarpy), after she had sex with her colleague Dr. Nate Hastings (Sean Dominic) … at the clinic they work at!
It all starts unraveling for Elena when her fears get the best of her thinking that the current-love-of-her-life, Devon (Bryton James) will fall for the sister of his late wife, Hilary, in the form of Amanda Sinclair (Mishael Morgan). And thus sets the stage for a potential quadrangle, and perhaps … some baby drama?
Since coming to Y&R from General Hospital, actress Brytni Sarpy has been developing the character of Elena and playing her for all she is worth and then some in recent heavy-duty heart-tugging scenes where viewers saw Elena confess to Devon that she cheated on him with his cousin, Nate! Then later, she gets kicked to the curb by the man she loves, leaving her wondering, “What did I just do … and why?”
Well, Michael Fairman TV has some of the answers as we chatted with Brytni to get the lowdown and the insight on these pivotal moments in Elevon’s love story, and if there is even a future for them, or is it on ice for good? Plus, Brytni opens up about falling for her co-star and recent Daytime Emmy winner, Bryton James, and taping what would normally look like a red-hot passionate sex scene on the soaps with Sean Dominic, but having to do it under strict CDC Covid-19 protocols. Here’s what Ms. Sarpy had to say about it all!
You’ve got this big storyline unfolding now on Y&R. Did you know when they brought on Sean Dominic that they were going to bust up Elena and Devon?
BRYTNI: Yes and no. When Sean was first brought in, there had been another actor playing his role, so technically his character has already been on-screen. So, I didn’t necessarily think it was going to cause any type of conflict, or a love triangle, or anything like that. However, I think that there were little hints about it along the way in the writing, and our characters similarities in both being doctors. The writers are pretty tight-lipped, so I only know things two or three weeks in advance.
Were you playing that Elena had this attraction to Nate for a while now?
BRYTNI: There was a point where I decided to play it, and that is when I felt that it was in the material. It was when things got a little crazier with Amanda coming around and Elena being at the height of her insecurity about that, and her really choosing to only confide in Nate. I think that kind of relationship and comfortability that she was finding and that dynamic of being at the clinic with Nate, and establishing that with him, she was not having with Devon.
Right, and so do you think once Elena knew Amanda was interested in Nate, she subconsciously stepped up her own interest in him?
BRYTNI: No, I think around this time she was hoping for Amanda to date Nate, and she was asking a lot of questions and things to egg on that whole relationship. I think in her subconscious she really felt like, “Oh good, if I can put these two together, then my fears about this woman who looks exactly like my boyfriend’s dead wife… that resolves that.” I think for Elena it was just kind of putting them together. It wasn’t about Nate. It was about someone to occupy Amanda so that Elena’s insecurities didn’t have to come out and she didn’t have to worry about Devon, or anything with those two being together.
But didn’t Elena have a nightmare/dream about Amanda and Devon having sex? Wasn’t she freaked out about Amanda being Hilary’s sister?
BRYTNI: This was when she had already jumped down the rabbit hole of being insecure about what was going on about Amanda and Devon and how much time they were spending together and hoping that he didn’t fall back into those feelings he had for Hilary that he had just gotten through. For Elena, I think it was a lot of PTSD; for her. She felt the first half of their relationship was trying to get over Hilary. Once it finally turned to a point where Amanda was spending a lot of time with Devon. and she had started only confiding in Nate and not Devon about how she felt, that’s when I think those insecure feelings came up, and her talking about it so much manifested into her dreams, and she set herself up for her own trauma.
So, you have to do this sex scene amidst Covid-19 protocols with Sean Dominic. How was filming that scene with Sean because Nate looks at Elena, she looks at him, signaling they want to have sex right now, right there at the clinic, and then it cuts out. Was it awkward filming it?
BRYTNI: Yes, it was certainly awkward because his double was Bryton, so it’s hard to play that you’re cheating on a character with the actor who plays the character that you’re cheating on. (Laughs)
We are going to give you the Emmy right there for that! (Laughs)
BRYTNI: Right! (Laughs) Then in some of the scenes we are looking into each other’s eyes, and we appear to be close, but of course we are not that way. So, I am staring up at a mannequin that it is at Sean’s eye-level, and he is staring down at a mannequin that is at mine. It is not easy to try to sell that energy that is between two people in such an electric, heated moment, so it was definitely challenging.
Do you buy Elena’s rationale that they were on a euphoric high from saving Jared’s life at the clinic, as the impetus that leads her and Nate to have sex?
BRYTNI: I don’t think she really understands what happened. I think she is trying to put it together. Right after it happens, she goes into that whole monologue about how, “I’m not blaming you, but this happened, and we were just coming down from a high.” I think it’s just her trying to figure out why her emotions brought her to this place because I think this is one of the few times in someone like Elena’s life when she has acted without thinking or without forethought to the consequences. I think she has just been exhausted with trying to battle her emotions, trying to be a doctor with a residency in a hospital, and then also trying to do as much work as she is doing at a clinic. Then, coming off of an emotionally-charged partnership with Devon after seeing what he was going through with the ghost of Hilary for so long, and going back into this after finally having a calm and peaceful few months, it rocked the whole boat again.
Viewers have seen what played out over the last week and half, a lot of scenes were you as Elena are called upon to do a lot of breaking down, and crying. So, how are those scenes to perform? Do you like those types of scenes, or are you like, “Oh, God! These are so soapy!”
BRYTNI: For me, personally playing that, I think with all the tears and all of that, it’s been exhausting, because there are certainly levels of reality to this where I have to go for it to not be me just trying to emote on-screen, but actually feel the depths of what my character would be going through. It’s a lot. I’ve had a few migraines after work sometimes, but I do enjoy it. I enjoy getting those emotions out. I think that because of what I’ve established with her character for a little over a year, I’ve been building up Elena, and more importantly, building up her relationship with Devon. I think to understand her actions, it had to come from a really solid place. I don’t think she is ill-intended in any of her emotions. I think she really cares about and wants to protect her partner, Devon throughout all of this, and then she finds herself unprotected and vulnerable in making decisions that inevitably do the complete opposite. So, I think at the end of it, she really is disappointed in herself and also, she has just created this entire disruption of her life in the matter of a moment, and I think there is a lot of mourning, and there is a lot of guilt. I just don’t think that it is intentional of her character to do something like what she did. I think that for me to make it what it was… something that my character would do or did … it had to come from a real place that didn’t sit well with her, and it just happened, and she feels guilt-ridden. It’s as serious as a character attempting to murder someone, or any other kind of character who would go to the extremes of who they are in their characteristics.
For you, since you are romantically-involved with Bryton James in real life, does that make it harder or easier to play?
BRYTNI: I’d say both. It makes it harder because it’s more real, but it also makes it easier because it’s more real. These are situations that could at some point come up or have come up, and to put yourself in those positions, and to have him look at me the way that he does and to jeopardize something that real, to go to that place, is a dark place to have to portray.
… And then Devon throws her out!
BRYTNI: He does.
Devon tells her to leave the penthouse and he tells her to pack her stuff and go.
BRYTNI: Rightfully so.
Doesn’t Elena deserve that reaction for her actions?
BRYTNI: I think so. She made a mistake, and she has to learn from it. I think if there is any potential for these two to ever reconcile, there has to be space given, and there has to be understanding. You can’t just pretend like everything is normal even though she is sorry. Sorry isn’t a reason why and sorry isn’t proactive. She has to fix the issue.
They brought Jared (Michael Maclane) back to be the catalyst that was ended up being the spark that ignited Nate and Elena’s passionate moment together at the clinic. What did you think of that plot point?
BRYTNI: The point was actually, that it was a patient who they had invested in and cared about, and she was able to do something for this kid and save his life with someone who she has been leaning on, someone who she has had a shared connection with, someone who shares her perspective, and helped her through situations with Devon, and who has seen her ugly side and her insecure side, and it was a bonding moment, I guess, that they were able to save a kid’s life who they both knew added another layer to their relationship that caused things to go grey.
Coming up, it appears that Amanda is going to be instigating a lot of stuff, and Nate is going to still have feelings for Elena.
BRYTNI: Yeah, I mean, it’s not over. Now that the cat has been let out of the bag, they still have residual feelings. I think Nate is starting to make it very clear why he went the direction he went. I think he has more of an understanding of where his feelings lie and that they are with Elena. I think with Amanda, maybe a part of her ego just got bruised, and maybe she wants to unearth the truth of all of this because she was kind of caught in the middle of it.
When you and Bryton are together in real life, are you rehearsing all of these scenes and playing all of the other characters in them?
BRYTNI: Typically, we run lines together. I have voices for everyone. I have a Nate voice. (Laughs) I have an Amanda voice; I have a Lily (Christel Khalil) voice.
You are in one of those interesting situations where you are with the person in real-life and in story. I have talked to Bryton about this, but what was the moment when you knew it clicked with him?
BRYTNI: We certainly liked each other since day one just as people. He was a great scene partner to do a screen-test with, very giving, just really professional, but just a down-to-earth nice guy. Then, just moving forward from that and working with him as my scene partner on Y&R, I think it was during our first group scene, it was the opening of Society, and we did a tribute to Neil Winters (Kristoff St. John), and that was the first time I had spent long hours on a Y&R set. You’re with the whole group all day because you’re doing group scenes. We just discovered and learned that we are both really goofy, and we were just laughing and talking about stories. I think we found that we had a lot more in common than we would have realized… very similar pop-cultural references, and upbringings, and all of that. From there, we’ve just gotten along really well, and it progressed.
Back in late June, there was this viral video of you jumping up and down when Bryon’s name was called as the winner of the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series during the 47th annual Daytime Emmys telecast. What do you remember of that night with him? You seemed more excited than he was!
BRYTNI: Yeah! I was really excited for him. The year before – well, I didn’t know that it was our first date – but, I guess it was our first date at the 46th Daytime Emmys, because I honestly thought that Matt Kane (publicist, Y&R) had asked me if I wanted to go along, and apparently, Bryton had asked if he could invite me. So, we spent that time together, and he was nominated that year as well and lost. Cut to this year where Bryton is a person who I have actually worked with and have seen how he works, and after Kristoff’s passing, and just seeing the amount of work that Y&R put into it, and the time that they spent on those episodes, and how beautiful they came out, everyone deserved an Emmy for that. It was really beautiful work, and it was really touching, and it was really true and honest. I really thought Bryton deserved it. I think he was just as happy. He’s just more reserved than I am.
What do you want to see happen for Elena moving-forward? Do you want to see more of her extended family pop up so she is a character who has more ties to Genoa City?
BRYTNI: I do, I do. A lot of the characters never know who their father is. I’d love to know who that is. (Laughs) Like when I played Valerie on General Hospital, she didn’t know who her father was either. Things like that are interesting to play. I’d love to start closing those little holes about her because that helps me. It helps me to create more dimensions in her character and to make firmer choices, and give her somewhere to go, and it gives more richness in her story. I would love to also cement her to the Y&R canvas if she has any relation to anyone else there.
There have been rumors that Elena will become pregnant. What would you say to that?
BRYTNI: What do I think of that? I don’t know. It could happen. Crazier things have happened on soaps. Will it be the classic, “Whodunit?”
You mean, who could be the baby daddy?
BRYTNI: (Laughs) Yes, that would be interesting, and yes, I’ve seen those rumors, too.
Do you think Elena will fight and claw her way back to Devon, or do you think she is going to let it be?
BRYTNI: I think even from the scenes that aired this past week, you can see the extent of how sorry she is. She is laying it all out there, in a puddle of tears, exactly how she feels even though she is not able to really understand why she did what she did, her sorrow is there. I don’t think there is really much more for her to do as far as pleading to get him back until he is ready, if he ever is ready. I think her respecting his wishes in the situation is probably the best thing that she can do at this point.
Meanwhile, if you have any more romantic scenes with Sean Dominic, Bryton will step in, so you will still be in scenes with him, even if Elena and Devon aren’t together.
BRYTNI: (Laughs) Yes, that’s true!
So, are you rooting for Devon and Elena to get back together quickly? Do you think she may end up in a relationship with Nate? What have you thought of Brytni’s performances in this storyline? Comment below, but first watch Devon tell Elena to move out!
Y&R’s Peter Bergman Talks On Dina’s Death & How It Will Impact Jack, His Final Scenes With Marla Adams & Taping During COVID-19
The Abbott family is reeling from the death of their mother, Dina Mergeron, who passed away from complications from Alzheimer’s disease at the end of last Friday’s episode; signaling the end of an era for Dina’s portrayer, Marla Adams. In a pivotal and heart-breaking scene, Dina shares one last goodbye with her children: Traci (Beth Maitland), Ashley (Eileen Davidson) and of course, Jack (Peter Bergman).
Today, the drama continues as the Abbott’s grieve Dina’s death and its aftermath while they remember the life of their flawed mother. This puts Jack at the epicenter of the family, and like it, or not, the new head of the clan. What does the future hold for him now?
Michael Fairman TV chatted with three-time Daytime Emmy winner, Peter Bergman, who has embodied Jack for over 30 years on the top-rated CBS Daytime drama, to get his thoughts on: how Y&R needed to handle Dina’s death within the confines of the coronavirus pandemic and its safety protocols, what he felt about playing those final scenes with Marla Adams and the significance of the ‘teardrop of love’, and a preview of what fans can expect in the coming days as the impact of Dina’s death will be felt by the Abbott children and extended family.
An actor’s actor, you can always expect a conversation with Peter to be forthright, candid and enlightening, and this one was no different. Here’s what one of the genre’s absolute best had to share about the significance of this story and more.
How has it been returning to Y&R during the pandemic? I bet you never thought in all of your years in daytime, that you would be doing your scenes socially-distanced, sitting or standing, so far apart from your castmates.
PETER: Just getting back to work felt great, loved that. I wasn’t involved really in romantic scenes at this point, so that I didn’t have to do. So, all in all, I was very happy to be back, and socially-distancing didn’t really bother me at all, and then Dina died. Doing that from six feet away was just awful. You saw the limits at a time where not any of us could be within six feet of each other; where you would usually hold a hand, stroke a brow, and talk softly. So, I think the writers did what they needed to do to make it work for Dina’s exit. We are in the middle of COVID, in case anybody forgot, and so you have to ask, ‘Does America really want to watch an elderly woman die in the middle of the Abbott living room or anywhere else?’ So, we had to have Dina’s exit without looking at a dead body, out of respect for the times we are living in. We had to do a strong, powerful, pivotal scene with our hands tied behind our backs.
It’s so interesting that you say that because that’s how I felt watching it, knowing what it would have been like, if Jack, Ashley and Traci would have been with Dina at her bedside, up till the end, for instance. But all of that said, Peter, I got so choked up in your last moments with Marla. Jack is just sitting there and Dina is telling him how much she loved him and you’re doing the thing that only Peter Bergman can do as the tears well-up in your eyes. As we have talked about previously, my mom died from complications from Alzheimer’s, so these are always tough types of scenes for me to watch. I am sure it was also for those in the audience, who have lost a loved one to this disease, many of whom reached out to me on social media following its airing.
PETER: It’s got to be tough for you to watch. I get that.
Yes, so I felt for Jack and Dina in the moment as a son and his mother. But what did you think about how the scene was written, and what Dina was saying to Jack and his sisters as her final goodbyes to her children and their reactions to it?
PETER: As written, something in this necklace triggers something in Dina that brings her out of a stupor, brings her out of the murk, the fog for a brief instant to tell the people who she cares the most about that she loves them in slightly different ways. I have, with everything in me, a struggle to always add in there, “I have a complicated relationship with my mother.” I’ve added that line in there so many times over the years, you have no idea. It was a complicated relationship because by the time she dies, there is no kind of straightening that out, there is no kind of Jack looking for answers. The depth of what Ashley is feeling, what Traci is feeling, what Jack is feeling, were kind of lost because of the way we had to do it. The writers had to do it, so I’m not blaming anyone, but because of the way we had to do it, there was no, “Wow, why isn’t Ashley crying? Why is she just so stoic that this isn’t touching her at all?” because she can’t go there. Traci feeling like she found her place in the family simply by Dina saying, “You’re the beating heart of this family,” and Jack, who is doing the right thing, “She should leave peacefully, she should leave feeling loved, we should all be here, we should give her nothing but love,” damn, this is complicated. You couldn’t have any of those things. . Hopefully, some of that slid in there and we wedged some of those complexities into it, but it was hard to write a complex scene with the situation as it was. We needed to get it done it one day. We did not need to drag this out. Again, were it not COVID time, sure, let’s drag it out. Let’s spend some time on this. People die. Let’s watch the family process a death.
I just think of what it all means for Jack moving forward. Dina basically tells him, “You’re in charge of the family. Look after the family.” That’s kind of where it’s been going for Jack this whole time. I don’t know if that’s what Jack wanted, but that’s where he is ending up.
PETER: Right! That’s where he ends up, and you know, this has been a long time coming. Dad dies, and it is pretty clear that he’s got to step up, and his mom comes into town, and she’s not just his mother. She’s Ashley’s mother; she’s Traci’s mother, we’ve got to look out for her and give her the dignity and things like that. Now, there is just no getting around it. Jack is the head of the family. That’s the way it fell. Twenty-five years ago, was Jack ready to be head of anything? Absolutely not, but I think enough has happened to Jack now: enough heartache, enough growth, enough introspection, enough losing people, that Jack might just be ready for this job.
When Marla Adams came back to Y&R 2017, and they started telling the Alzheimer’s storyline, it brought up such abandonment issues for Jack and rightfully so, about how a mother could just leave her family and children, Throughout all that, you did such poignant work.
PETER: I wanted that to be in there at the very end. One of the powerful parts in this whole thing is that Jack wanted to scream at Dina every bit as much as he wanted to hug her. That was there for quite a while, and Jack had to kind of come to terms with, “Hey, you’ve been leaning on this excuse for quite a time. She’s here. She can’t do you any harm. She feels bad about what happened. What do you want, Jack?”
One of the highlights of this storyline was when Y&R explored the history and relationship between the siblings, Jack, Ashley and Traci. We saw their younger versions as the show flash-backed to when Dina left John and the Abbott family.
PETER: Between the writers and Peter Bergman, we built this story that the night that Dina left, Dad was upstairs with the girls, they were weeping inconsolably, there was no fixing it, there was no telling them that everything was going to be all right. He didn’t want to lie to them and say she will be right back, he told them, “She’s not coming back,” and he comes downstairs, and Jack is fourteen-years-old, and a little confused, but decided to say to his dad, “Hey, can I help?” He looks across the room, and his dad is weeping, first time he had ever seen that. His father is weeping, and he said, “Jack, you’re going to have to help me with the girls. I can’t do all of this,” and it changed Jack’s life forever. Jack was a parent to Ashley for a good part of their relationship. So, all of this stuff with Jack’s identity, all of the fighting with Ashley, all of the Jabot madness is Ashley finally getting to say, “I don’t need a father! You’re not my father. Stop talking to me like you’re going to fix things for me! I’m sick of it.” All done by Dina … all truly caused by Dina.
In my interview with Marla, she told me that at the end of her last scene, you and many others came back to the set to pay tribute to her.
PETER: We did. The show had arranged it, and Tony Morina, the executive producer, stepped out on the soundstage with a microphone, and Marla sat on the sofa in the Abbott living room. Tony began telling a lovely, lovely story about how far back his relationship with her goes because Marla and Tony wife’s, Sally Sussman (Ex- head writer, Y&R), also had a long-standing relationship. Tony was just so grand and gracious in saying that there are some people who, if they weren’t an actor, they’d be this or that or the other thing, but that Marla was born to be an actress. That’s what she is, and it was so generous. I think she got three and a half years that she didn’t expect to get out of this. It was supposed to be a six-month storyline, and four years later, she was still there, and it was a good thing for her, and a unique story turn for the rest of us. It really was. It was a powerful thing, and now the Abbott family has a new shape. There are three adults there: Ashley has established her independence, she is not around as much, she is back and forth between Paris, and Genoa City, Traci is trying to be as supportive and kind as she can be, but essentially, Jack is in the big house by himself.
Yep! Well, now we’ve got to find Jack a good woman.
PETER: Yes, or a bad woman.
… Or a bad woman! I’ll take him in a relationship with someone to stir things up. I also hear coming up, there will be the reading of Dina’s will. Is there anything you can tease about that?
PETER: There is a will read, yes. No one knows what to expect, and Dina … in the end… comes through for almost everybody…
Well … that ought to be good.
PETER: Yep… really comes through for almost everybody, and you know, the Abbott children are wealthier, and all three of them are alone, and in no small thanks to Dina for that. These are three adults who have been very unlucky in love. Of course, this is the next challenge. I don’t mean to assume that I have any idea of what you went through in losing your mom, but there is a point at which you also have to let go and say, “Okay, now it is just me, and what do I want to do with this life? I’ve used this as a reason not to move forward for a good while. What am I going to do now?” I think the next turn in the Jack Abbott story comes pretty organically. Dina’s death frees Jack to be just as alone as he has ever been.
No matter what Jack does, including the bad things, you always see the inner-pain that is very palpable within him, as you have portrayed him.
PETER: Yes, but he really has grown in the last 30 years. Jack is hungry for more right now, and he couldn’t really be that way with Mom in the house. He didn’t have time for that. Now he has all of the time in the world. So, we’ll see what he does with that.
I understand there is a funeral for Dina, but it will be off-camera? I guess, because of COVID, it is better that way.
PETER: That’s true and it’s off camera, that’s correct. What’s important at most of these things isn’t what happens at the gravesite, it is what happens at the reception afterwards, and that is also a fun turn. So, they all agree as a family they are going to do it at Society, and they kind of close the joint and make it their own little party, and someone shows up who isn’t expected, and it throws a really, really different vibe into the whole thing, and everybody has to adapt. It’s actually fun, what it turns into. It turns into a memory fest with crazy stories of Dina.
Do you have a favorite moment, or memory, of a scene you played with Marla?
PETER: I think I had a day where Jack tried to get through to her and tell her, “Do you realize the damage you did? Do you realize?” and she wasn’t able to take it in, and he went to Traci, and he said, “I want to shake her. I want to yell at her… and I want to protect her.” I thought there was something just so rich about that. That was my favorite moment, my favorite part of it, when Jack finally said, “She’s going, man. We’ve got to get this conversation done now. We’ve got to talk this through,” and he was too late. She was too far along with Alzheimer’s. She wasn’t up to it. She couldn’t do it.
And now here is Jack; and his parents are both gone. There is no Jerry Douglas or Marla Adams on the show as both John and Dina have passed on within the history of The Young and the Restless.
PETER: Again, you were generous enough to share your own personal experience, but isn’t it amazing? Wow, you’re the grownup now. Isn’t it amazing? That’s what the Abbott’s are going through: just what you went through. There is no older generation to turn to for anything. We are the older generation. It’s powerful stuff, and I’m really, really grateful for anytime that Ashley, Jack, and Traci are together talking about those things, talking about, “Wow, okay, that just happened… where do we go from here?” It’s going to be really interesting. If you asked me, “Over the last 30 years that you’ve played Jack Abbott, have there been many times where you’ve thought, ‘I’ve got no idea where this is going!’” I would say, “Yeah, right now.” I’ve got no idea where we are going with this.
There has been much speculation that the “teardrop of love” necklace will lead Jack to a new romance, or some new adventure in his life. They spent a lot of time mentioning it in short order, that it would seem it’s not just to bring Dina some closure. What are your thoughts on it?
PETER: I think it has legs. I think you’re going to hear about it again. There is something in there, and I don’t know if it’s the teardrop’s magic charm or that its history is not what it was, or it gets stolen. I don’t know, but I think we have spent enough time saying ‘teardrop of love’, that there could be a story there.
In Dina’s final moments where Jack brings her the ‘teardrop of love’, wasn’t it symbolic to her because it was her acknowledgement of having her family back together and with her at all times? There is a back-story to that piece of jewelry as well.
PETER: The point of the necklace is, “This was when I was truly happy, when I had this necklace, when it is all back together,” and maybe we are to know something more about the teardrop…? I don’t know. So, this was a gift to her before Jack was born. She wore it home from the hospital when she brought him home, but we don’t know exactly what year she got it, and we don’t know exactly what year she lost it. It was stolen, and it was on the black market for a while, and Victor (Eric Braeden) was looking into it. It was clear that it was very important to Dina. So, Jack, against his own wishes, said, “No, I’ve got to do the right thing. I’ve got to try to trace this thing down. It clearly means something to her. Maybe she is trying to tell us something. God only knows.” So, he did the right thing, not because, “I want to make Mommy happy,” but because he forced himself to do the right thing, to find the damn necklace, and to see what this is about. Then, we saw the affect it had when he gave it to her.
It’s always good to chat and check-in with you during these key and historical moments in the life of the character of Jack Abbott. There have been many throughout your time on Y&R, and it will be interesting to see where this goes from here.
PETER: It will be, and I’m telling you, this is a real moment. Normally, we just go from one story into the next, into the next, and this one has been hanging for so long that, “Okay, now that it is over, wow, what is going to happen to Jack?” I’m just as curious as everybody else.
So, what do you think will happen next for Jack? Did you reach for the hankies in Peter’s final scenes with Marla Adams? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.
Marla Adams Talks Her Final Scenes As Dina Mergeron, The Alzheimer’s Storyline, and Her Touching Farewell
Today on The Young and the Restless marks the end of the enduring run of Marla Adams in the role of Dina Mergeron. In story, Dina passes away from complications from Alzheimer’s disease. It’s a storyline that started four years ago when the CBS Daytime drama brought back the character and Adams; and one that has deeply affected many in the viewing audience who have also had their own personal experience of losing a loved one to this dreadful disease.
If you have not seen today’s episode yet, you may not want to read any further, but needless to say, make sure you have the hankies ready for Dina’s final moments with her children and how she leaves this earth, which will be remembered for quite some time to come.
Marla originated the role of the rich and spoiled Abbott matriarch back in 1983 and portrayed the role on and off for what amounts to five decades. Her classic scenes with Jerry Douglas (Ex-John), Eileen Davidson (Ashley) and so many more from the iconic soap, always made for great and complex stories.
With this her final airdate on Y&R, it also puts an exclamation point for Marla on an incredible daytime career having also appeared on: The Bold and the Beautiful. Capitol, Days of our Lives, Generations and The Secret Storm
Michael Fairman TV chatted with Adams in this very special conversation where she shared with us how it was to play these heartbreaking last scenes, the importance of the ‘teardrop of love’ necklace to the story, how Y&R gave her the most overwhelming and beautiful send-off, and her ‘thank you’s’ to all of you, who have been her extended family and are sad to see her go. She is one-of-a-kind …and now, here’s Marla.
Marla, I am so glad we have the opportunity to chat in this full-circle moment as you have brought the character of Dina to a close.
MARLA: It’s such a joy to talk to you. It seems like yesterday and an eternity as well. I thought of you so much, and I remember talking to you specifically with all of the different interviews over the years, when I was at the studio. But I will always remember the interview you did with me and Beth Maitland (Traci), my darling soul sister, and you talked to me about your mother who has since passed on from Alzheimer’s. I’ll never forget what you had to say all those months ago
Yes, and when as audience members we watch these stories unfold with characters we have loved, or watched on our screens for years, and there is a death, we feel connected to them as well. And in this case, as a child who has lost a parent to Alzheimer’s, like many in the audience, you ask yourself first, “Can I watch this?” It hits very close to home, but I’m sure when people watch today’s episode of Y&R and see Dina pass away, they will be extraordinarily moved.
MARLA: Oh, my gosh. Wait until you people see Friday’s show. I know they will be moved. They should be! I’ve got friends who I’ve already said to, “Get your Kleenex box out.” It’s so beautiful what happens at the end of the episode.
How did you feel about playing Dina’s final scenes?
MARLA: It was wonderful because it showed her lifetime of sorrow and regret, and what was so wonderful was the fact that the hero of the whole thing is the kindness and respect that she really did have for her whole family. They had the most beautiful sendoff for me. They sent me a limo! I went to the studio, and dear Patti Denney (Make-up artist, Y&R) was there, of course with all kinds of makeup and everything else, and she looked like she was entering the ER room for Covid-19, because of all the safety protocols we must have. It was unbelievable, the kindness that was served to me. After we finished taping my final scenes, I came back to the soundstage and they totally surprised me. Dear Tony Morina (executive producer, Y&R) and Sally Sussman (Ex-head writer, Y&R) were there, and Tony spoke about me, and so did my Y&R extended family and on-screen children: Peter Bergman (Jack), and Beth Maitland, and Eileen Davidson, and much of it was put on tape (see excerpts in video below). Afterwards, Tony gave me beautiful flowers. I was driven back home after this, and I felt really special, and it was just amazing to me. I had written Josh Griffith (Current head-writer and co-executive producer, Y&R) a ‘thank you’ for writing the show with his wonderful people, but I never heard back, but when I walked in my apartment, the phone was ringing. Guess who? It’s Josh! He said, “I waited until I knew you would be home to thank you,” and I felt so lovey-doved up, I couldn’t believe it. I want to read something to you that I received in the wonderful flowers that came the next day from CBS Daytime executive Margot Wain and others. The flowers were so big that they didn’t fit on the bar! The card read: “Thank you for bringing the amazing force that is Abbott matriarch, Dina Mergeron to countless fans of The Young and the Restless. Your vast contribution to Y&R and CBS for more than five decades is unparalleled. We are forever grateful for all you’ve brought to Y&R as both a consummate professional and a cherished co-worker. All our best wishes.” I was just so touched by the sentiments.
I also want to share something with you. When it was revealed in the promo that came out last week that this would be your last show, I received so many notifications on social media, saying, “Oh, my God! We love Marla! You have to interview her!” You are loved by the Y&R fans. I hope you know that! They’re sad to see you go, because you’re a legacy character to them, and soap fans have deep connections to characters that have been on their favorite soaps for decades.
MARLA: Five decades! My God! I’m eighty-freaking-two. I can’t believe it.
In story, Jack was on a mission to get the ‘teardrop of love’ necklace back to Dina before she died, hoping that she would have one last moment of lucidity and would recall it and it would hopefully make her happy. He moves heaven on earth to get it, and does, and brings it to her and viewers saw her reaction.
MARLA: The necklace had never been anywhere before in story except recently, but I said to myself that I would play it ‘quietly and graciously’, because it made for such a beautiful moment for Dina with her children.
For Dina, the necklace was a symbol of remaining connected to her family and her children, even when she was not with them all of those years. In your final scenes, Dina had these moments to say goodbye to each of your children. Do you remember looking at Eileen, Traci, and Peter taping those highly emotional beats?
MARLA: Yes, they were so there for me. They are an extended family that is so precious to me, and playing this iconic character has been, too. I remember when Sally Sussman told me a few years ago, “ I’m going to bring you back on The Young and the Restless, but you’ve got Alzheimer’s,” and I said, ‘What!? You’re bringing me back so you can kill me off?’ and she said, “Oh no, it’ll be about a year.” That dissolved into four years, and now five decades had passed and I was still on Y&R. I am beyond grateful.
As an actress, was it hard to play Dina’s final moments when she goes to the light to join her beloved, John?
MARLA: It was heart-wrenching for me. In the story, Dina died when she went outside and to the front door of the Abbott home. They did not tell me before-hand, and that’s why it was so wonderful. I hope they came in for a closeup of that because I had no makeup on, it was beautiful, and then, Dina said, “Oh, John.” I’ve done everything from movies, to daytime, to nighttime, to Broadway, but that was the iconic moment for me, to do this gig with wonderful, wonderful actors and friends, and to do this particular storyline.
It was 1983 when you first appeared on Y&R. And through the years, Dina did not do such great things! She had an affair with Brent Davis who was the biological father of Ashley that caused such a rift between mother and daughter for years. She abandoned the Abbott children and walked out on them and her marriage to John, and that’s just for starters! Dina was a complicated character. Did you love the fact that she could be very selfish at times?
MARLA: You think? That’s why I loved her. Of course! I can be very selfish, too. You have to be selfish if you’re an actor, good God. (Laughs).
It was great that The Young and the Restless brought you back four years ago so that through the telling of the Alzheimer’s storyline that Dina was able to somewhat repair her relationships with her children. Obviously, over the last many months the audience could not witness the more day to day progression and toll the disease took on Dina and her family in its final stages, but unfortunately with the way COVID-19 has affected shooting daytime soap operas, and all of our lives, including safety protocols, I am sure plans had to be altered,
MARLA: Of course. As an actress, this was the most important role of my life, and to have her final moments spread out in one day really is because of all of the fans who have been writing in and wanting to see Dina again,
People were rooting for you to win the Daytime Emmy back in 2018 when you were nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. That must be a nice moment to carry with you from playing Dina’s final storyline.
MARLA: Yes, and I should have won! Eric Braeden (Victor, Y&R) was furious. (Laughs) He said, “What do you mean, darling, you should have won! Goddammit!” He’s a wonderful man and a good friend. He came to pick me up several times to go to the studio for my last few shows, and that’s the kind of mensch he is. So, I feel just so blessed and I feel great love and loss. I would like Dina to come back as a ghost, but I have no idea, if that will happen or not. But if the fans would be interested in seeing Dina as a ghost … make sure to write in to the show and tell them!
Speaking of the fans that have followed you for decades on Y&R, what would you want to say to them now that Dina has passed on?
MARLA: Thank you, from the bottom of my heart for all of the love, the support, and the chance to play Dina out… and I’m thankful that you cared, and loved her, up till the end.
So what did you think about Dina’s final moments on today’s Y&R? Will you miss Marla Adams? Share your thoughts via the comment section below. But first check out the special behind the scenes tribute for Marla, followed by The Michael Fairman Channel’s interview with Marla and Beth Maitland from Y&R’s 45th anniversary celebration referred to during the above conversation.
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