The Young and the Restless is turning 50 years old, and in honor of the special occasion, Entertainment Tonight and CBS present The Young and the Restless 50th Anniversary Celebration, a special honoring the iconic soap opera airing March 27.
ET spoke with the soap opera’s stars on the 50th-anniversary red carpet earlier this month, and they all reflected on The Young and the Restless‘ staying power, looking back on some of the most memorable moments and unforgettable guest stars.
Janice Lynde admitted that she gets “goosebumps” thinking about the show celebrating its 50th year, saying, “I’ve said it before — it’s surreal because we weren’t sure we would last for one year during Watergate, that’s how long ago it was in 1973, and it’s absolutely thrilling. I think it’s fabulous. Thank you to Lee [Phillip Bell] and Bill [William J. Bell] for creating it!”
The actress added that as a former concert pianist, working on the soap “put me on the international map in a way I wasn’t before” and that she became “the world’s sweetheart for a few years.”
Looking back on her time on the series, she revealed that the love story between Brad and Leslie was her favorite. “We were the original super-couple of daytime and I had a mental breakdown and Bill Bell really wrote it,” she recalled. “I did a lot of research for it and was in a locked ward at UCLA for research and it helped a lot of people in the audience who had psychiatric problems to be able to get resources. So I loved that it was a great story to play, but it also helped the audience before it was a popular thing to talk about.”
Camryn Grimes echoed the sentiment, sharing that as an actress who recently celebrated her 25th anniversary on the show and having played two different characters, “if you would have asked me back then if I would be here celebrating the 50th anniversary of the show, I would have told you that you were crazy!”
“But dreams do come true. I mean, this show is home and I can’t think of a better place to be,” she added. “There is this connectivity that happens when you’re in somebody’s home every single day and when you have a show that you could almost hand down generationally, it creates this bond that you have with your audience that is so rare. And I’ve always said that soap operas have their thumb on the pulse of society and what’s happening and what’s going on, and that can be really cathartic for people to watch. So I think all of that brings this beautiful symbiosis of us and what we do and our audience.”
“Without the fans, we wouldn’t be here… and our wonderful creators, Bill and Lee Bell,” Melody Thomas Scott told ET. “They were very specific when they first started the show how they wanted it to be, how they wanted it to look, how they wanted it to feel for the viewers watching, and I think that we have maintained those even today, 50 years later.”
“I think at this point a lot of people have basically grown up with us and I think they love to continue to come back and see emotionally rich, socially relevant storylines,” Tracey E. Bregman added.
Kimberlin Brown noted how, during a time in media where daytime TV can find itself losing audiences to reality shows, the success of The Young and the Restless is to be respected. “It’s lovely that there [are] a few strong ones that remained and to be part of one of those is exciting to me,” she said.
Brown attributed the show’s success to its ability to provide viewers with an escape, saying, “They really do want to know that there are other people with the same problems that they have. That there are people going through struggles and achieving great successes and I think if it’s something that they can relate to in life and maybe use it as a way to escape, that’s a meaningful thing to people.”
Bryton James shared an experience that proves Brown’s theory correct. The actor shared how, during a period when his character experienced deafness, he was approached by a fan who was deaf. “[They] came up to the table and just dropped a note down and walked off. They didn’t say anything,” he recalled. “I read it and they [shared] that they’ve been watching the show for years and just how moved they were by my performance and they thought that it was believable. And that meant the world to me — more than any award or anything like that — to portray something like losing a sense and having someone that’s actually experienced it think that I was doing a decent job. [That] is everything.”
With such a long legacy of presenting real-life experiences — and some extraordinary ones too — the cast of The Young and the Restless is always evolving. But some of the show’s stars have famous faces they would love to see appear on the program, as well as a few that they’re eager to see come back.
Grimes told ET that after finding out Billie Joe Armstrong was a fan of the show, she would be happy to see him make an appearance. “I’ve always said that would be amazing and I love Green Day,” she added. “I don’t know what capacity, but I’m here for it!”
James threw Eva Longoria’s name into the ring, noting that “she was on the show a minute ago” as well as actor Shemar Moore, who previously played Malcolm Winters on the soap series. But most of all, James says he’d like Victoria Rowell to reprise her role as Drucilla Winters. “I want my mom to come back… that’s my number one,” he admitted.
CBS presents The Young and the Restless 50th Anniversary Celebration, an Entertainment Tonight special, will premiere Monday, March 27 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on the CBS Television Network and will be available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+.
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