Longest-Running Young And The Restless Roles

Published on June 10, 2016. Updated September 30, 2019

For over a little over 40 years now, the residents of Genoa City have been keeping soap opera fans entertained with romance, intrigue and drama! Centered around the corporate struggles of the Newmans and the Abbotts, Young and the Restless (Y&R) audiences have seen their fair share of unique characters come and go, and then there are those special characters that have stuck around, evolved and continue to entertain us weekly. Below is an overview of the five longest-running Y&R roles, that have now become iconic in the land of soap operas.

5. Jack Abbott

Can any Y&R fan even begin to imagine a Genoa City without Jack Abbott? The role debuted in 1980 and has undoubtedly become a staple on the soap opera since. While Jack has had some legendary romances with some incredible Y&R leading ladies, his longstanding feud with Victor Newman just might be the relationship he is most known for. In the over 35 years of the Jack Abbott character, only two actors have played him: Terry Lester, who originated the role from 1980 to 1989, and Peter Bergman, who took over when Lester left and has been playing Jack Abbott since.

Source: www.examiner.com

4. Victor Newman

Victor Newman also made his Genoa City debut in 1980. Interestingly enough, the character was initially written as a guest role, only to last for eight to 12 weeks and was supposed to be killed off. However, after William Bell witnessed Eric Braeden’s performance of Newman, he asked the actor to sign on for longer. Thirty-six years later and not only is Victor Newman a Y&R regular, but has turned that short-term part, into a legendary and iconic soap opera role.


3. Nikki Newman

Then, there is Victor’s better half, Nikki Newman. While everyone associates Nikki with the actress who currently plays her, Melody Thomas Scott, the role was first debuted by Erica Hope in 1978. A year later, Scott was recast into the role, and the rest is history. The interesting thing about Nikki, is how fans have been able to watch her evolve onscreen, from a confused teenager, into a bad-girl, then rehabilitated lady, wife, mother, grandmother and Genoa City socialite. Sure, in those almost 40 years, she’s also struggled with alcohol, but Nikki has also proven over time that even when she is down, she is never completely out.

Source: www.welovesoaps.net

2. Paul Williams

Long before Nikki and Victor were a thing, she and Paul Williams shared a pretty special romance together. The Paul Williams character debuted the same year as Nikki in 1978; however, unlike Nikki, the role has been played by one actor, for close to 40 years: Doug Davidson. The handsome, witty, smart, and charming Williams has not only been a staple on the soap opera show over the years, he’s also longest-running actor on Y&R right now. Fans have enjoyed watching him romance Nikki, along with Lauren Fenmore, and his current wife Christine Blair. What fans love the most is his fight for justice, truth, and his overall thirst for adventure.

Source: www.soapoperanetwork.com

1. Jill Abbott

Debuting in 1973, Jill Abbott is the longest-running character on Y&R, and the only one that has remained from the original cast when the show debuted. Her transformation from poor manicurist, to uprising corporate business women, has been a phenomenal watch and Jill is undoubtedly one of the strongest females on the show – past or present. She’s had many a romance during her days in Genoa City, but perhaps the most interesting relationship she shared on the show was with Katherine Chancellor. While they started off as bitter enemies, over the years they turned that relationship into a ‘mother-daughter’ one. Still, no other fights on the show could even compare to the epic battles between Katherine and Jill.

Source: soapcentral.com
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