Y&R’s Jess Walton on How She “Deepened’ Jill After Brenda Dickson

TV Guide Canada‘s Nelson Branco has a revealing interview with the amazing Jess Walton about her two-plus decades as the fiesty manicurist-turned-mogul Jill Foster Abbott on The Young and the Restless. My favorite part was Walton admitting that she found Brenda Dickson‘s portrayal of Jill just as much of a caricature as I did.

TVG: Had you seen Brenda’s work as Jill?

JW: Yes, I did. Michael Corbett [ex-David], who was playing her secretary at the time, invited me to his house to watch his video library of her work. I took the essence of Jill, but deepened the role because I felt the part was a little bit of a caricature. Having said that, I will admit that it took me a year to fully capture Jill. I remember Terry Lester [ex-Jack] told me the secret to playing Jill is to have fun with her. And boy, did I really work hard at trying having fun with her. Luckily, it finally clicked, but it wasn’t easy. See, I never saw the humour in Jill during my first year on the show. Once I did, I became Jill."

To think, some fans actually said they wanted that hot mess Dickson back during Walton’s contract problems! Now Jane Elliot I could see, but Dickson, Christian LeBlanc and Judith Chapman hamming it up? Who wants to bear witness to that madness? Thanks be the merciful Soap Gods this marvelous, understated thespian decided to stay in Genoa City.

17 Responses

  1. Profile photo of Smitty

    I could see, but Dickson, Christian LeBlanc and Judith Chapman hamming it up? Who wants to bear witness to that madness?


    NOT ME!!! I don’t remember Dickson but I have watched some of her old clips on youtube and she can stay gone.

    It was a great interview! I like how she asked Nelson what he thought about them killing John Abbott and he is right it was a HUGE mistake!

    After reading that interview she has made me appreciate having her as Jill even more. Thank you for resigning!

  2. Profile photo of timepass

    I could see, but Dickson, Christian LeBlanc and Judith Chapman hamming it up? Who wants to bear witness to that madness?


    You have Christan Leblanc in that category!
    Just wow and so not agreeing! At ALL!

    And you don’t have the worst of them all Ted/Jeffrey! He is the worst I ever saw! The only thing missing is him twirling his black moustache!

  3. Profile photo of SoapSnob

    No, Sir. I will NOT stand for this Brenda Dickson bashing. :-) Before Jill’s divorce from John Abbott, Jill Foster was not a caricature as embodied by Brenda Dickson. Brenda portrayed Jill as a driven, complex, multi-dimensional character who veered off into cartoonishness at the height of the over-the-top ’80s. I LOVED Brenda’s innocent and demure version as well as her haughty, sexually-charged version of Jill because she was incredibly skilled at playing both. Yes, Jess Walton is skilled actress, but she is not the Jill I came to love and root for. (Plus, Jess has been known to chew some scenery herself in the past 22 years.) Brenda would have been a welcome return to Y&R as Jill Foster Abbott had Jess Walton chose not to resign with the show. And, with the appropriate writing, direction and explanation of the current character dynamic and motivation, Brenda would have, once again, been the quintessential Jill Foster Abbott. I suggest viewing Brenda Dickson as Jill Foster YouTube clips that date prior to 1984 to REALLY see the versatility that Brenda brought to the role.

  4. Profile photo of DenverDean

    When BD was fired from Y&R, I was shocked that she was replaced with the plain Shelly/Kelly hoooker with a heart of gold from Capitol. (JW in 1987 was not the hot sultry seductress that BD was to have bedded all those men.) However, over the years, JW has embodied Jill in ways I never imagined. (She also has aged into a beautiful woman.) I don’t believe it’s fair to compare the two. It’s like comparing Terry Lester’s “Jack the Rogue” versus PB’s “Aunt Jack”. Each actor has managed to bring their own talent to the characters. It says a lot that all these actor had long runs that didn’t ruin the show.

  5. Profile photo of Coffee_Junkie

    Soaps.com just interviewed Brenda and she pretty much didn’t tell them anything. Either that or they don’t know how to conduct an interview. The two questions I submitted to them to ask her they didn’t bother asking. I wanted to know what she had thought of the plot twist to make Katherine Jill’s mother and I also wanted to know what she thought of her video “Welcome to my Home” becoming a cult classic.

    I don’t need to hear her reason for her firing for the umpteenth time (“I had a bladder infection! They made me work on a Saturday 12 hours straight! Blah Blah Blah!”)

    “Aunt Jack” refers to Bergman’s Barbara Stanwyck-like tendency to turn into a diva when he’s “emoting.”

  6. Profile photo of SoapSnob

    Shoot me questions here. And I’ll ask. God help us.

    The prospect of seeing an interview with Brenda Dickson conducted by you has me all excited. ;-) Please inform me if you received the questions.

  7. Profile photo of hunterforrester

    I’ll ask the big q’s — and if she doesn’t answer, I won’t run the feature. She was fired because she was difficult, but I’ll try to get specifics. I will get specifics.

  8. Profile photo of hunterforrester

    Trust me — I’ll get her story one way or another. For some reason, difficult stars tend to trust me. I do NOT allow actors to fabricate or lie in my interviews. We’ll see how it turns out.

  9. Profile photo of SoapSnob

    SoapSnob — I’m thinking of interviewing Brenda. Should I?

    Should you? yes, Yes, YES!!! PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE interview Brenda Dickson. It would be your “Scoop of the Year.” :-)

    Maybe you could even ask her a few questions submitted by fans. (hint, hint) ;-)

Leave a Reply