WIth the red hot CBS soap The Young and the Restless making waves by bringing back the wildly popular Thom Bierdz, some newer or casual Y&R viewers are probably wondering what the significance is of having the actor who played the original adult Phillip Chancellor III back on the canvas. One DC regular Blackjack21 emailed us with a request for Phillip's backstory. Since I was only a mere, randy thought in my teenage parents minds when they storyline began back in the 70's, I had to break out the trusty Y&R Anniversary Scrapbook, as well as pay a visit to online soap opera encyclopedia Soap Central to make sure I hit all the high notes.
Essentially, Phillip was a living, breathing symbol of the enmity between Genoa City grande dame Katherine Chancellor (Jeanne Cooper) and Jill Foster (then-Brenda Dickson; now Jess Walton). Jill was a nubile young woman who came to work as Katherine's manicurist/shampoo girl/girl friday. At first they had a sort of tragically beautiful mother/daughter relationship, where Jill tended to a perennially drunken Kay. The bottled water and diamonds hit the fan when Jill caught the eye of Katherine's husband, industrialist Phillip Chancellor II (John Considine, Donnelly Rhodes). Kay, who was banging stable boys on the side herself, prompted her son Brock to romance Jill to prevent the younger woman from stealing her husband, but not even an arranged marriage to Brock—it was never consumated— could stop Jill and Phillip's torrid lust for one another.
When Jill announced she was preggars, Phillip filed for divorce, sending Kay back off the wagon. In one of Y&R's most memorable scenes, Katherine signed divorce papers, giving up her claim to the Chancellor mansion and freeing Phillip to be with Jill. Phillip flew to the Dominican Republic, where he obtained a quicky divorce, then returned to Genoa City, where Kay, desperate to convince him to stay with her, offered to drive him home from the airport. During the drive, Kay and Phillip got into an argument where he told her yet again that it was over between them. A distraught Kay ended up driving the car over the edge of a cliff. Apparently she never read He's Just Not That Into You. Kay came out unscathed, but Phillip was critically injured.
At the hospital, Phillip married Jill on his deathbed. Katherine had the marriage annulled citing her inebriated state when she signed her divorce papers. This move disinherited Jill and her son Phillip. Kay offered to pay Jill a million smackers for the tyke, but Jill refused. Kay prevented Phillip from wearing the Chancellor moniker, instead he grew up going by the name Phillip Foster.
After marrying Jabot cosmetics tycoon John Abbott (Jerry Douglas)—and later screwing his son Jack (then-Terry Lester, now Peter Bergman) like a bunny rabbit in heat— Jill sent Phillip off to boarding school. He returned as a troubled teenager (Are there really any other kind on soaps?) and bonded with his stepmother Kay, much to Jill's chagrin. The two women began battling for the affections of Phillip III much like they had over Phillip II. Kay and Jill even went to court to fight for custody of Phillip, with the lad telling the judge he wanted to live with Katherine. When he turned 18, ironically it was Kay who had to at this point convince Jill to agree to let Phillip wear the Chancellor name.
Phillip as a young man was pretty much the biggest catch in town. Every girl wanted him, from seductive, department store heiress Lauren Fenmore (Tracey Bregman), to Nina Webster (Tricia Cast) a girl from the wrong side of the tracks, but Phillip only had eyes for teen model Christine "Cricket" Blair (Lauralee Bell). Too bad Cricket had the hots for big-haired rocker Danny Romalotti (Michael Damien) (Rock On). The foursome were part of a teen/young adult quad for awhile, with Nina ultimately seducing a drunken Phillip and getting herself knocked up with his son, the soon-to-be-returning Phillip Chancellor VI (John Driscoll).
Nina managing to trap Phillip actually brought about a momentary cease fire between Kay and Jill, as both women vowed to rid the gold-digger from Phillip's life. Nina proved to be just as good at playing the game as Jill or Kay, however, and ultimately won Phillip's heart and his hand in marriage. Nina also became lifelong best friends with Cricket, even though she had stolen the girl's man. Talk about letting bygones be bygones!
Sadly, Phillip and Nina's happiness was short-lived. An alcoholic like his stepmother, Phillip couldn't handle the pressures of being a husband and father. He was killed following a car accident after driving drunk. Or was he...