Mal Young on Hilary’s Death: “That Was the Best Gift We Gave Her”

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Mal Young

Mal Young

The Young and the Restless showrunner Mal Young is speaking out on the controversy surrounding the decision to send soap vixen Hilary Curtis (Mishael Morgan) to the upper room.  

In June, it was reported that Morgan was exiting the show after contract negotiations broke down. According to Young, the actress wanted to leave her über popular role as Genoa City's diva talk show host. In an interview with TV Insider, Young explained his side of the story, 

Conversely, Hilary went to that big soap in the sky. Why?

I haven’t told anyone in the press this story, but I’m going to tell you. When Mishael came to me and said she wanted to move on, we talked about it. She’s a very talented and ambitious actress. She has big dreams. I said to her, ‘You’re not coming back, are you?’ She went no. She said there are so many opportunities for diverse casting now. She was upfront about that. She said I think I’ve got my moment. I said you’ve got the best show reel on TV. You’re leaving at a high. I’ll give you the biggest exit story I can possibly give you. I want you to be the next person we see in prime time. 

RELATED: Mishael Morgan DEPARTS The Young and the Restless

So, what was the reason behind Young's decision to kill off Hilary? Young revealed it was a gift to Morgan,

What if all those beats had been played — the accident, Devon (Bryton James) and Hilary remarrying, and then Devon walks into the hospital room to find Hilary gone, leaving a note behind that they’d re-wed in haste and she was leaving town to recover?

I said to CBS and Sony she’s not coming back. I think we should kill her. Killing her sends out a message to everyone that she’s not coming back. Often soap deaths are never [final] and the viewers see through that. We got a lot of great comments from viewers loving that we did a proper death and showed the proper emotions. We showed the impact on Lily (Christel Khalil), Devon, and Neil (Kristoff St. John). It had repercussions.

Also, I didn’t want anyone else playing Hilary. I said to Mishael, ‘You’ve created this amazing, sometimes monstrous, character, I think it would be really hard to recast you and also a disservice to the character if we just went here’s another….actress who’s going to play you now.’ No. She will forever more now be Hilary. That was the best gift we gave her and she was in tears when I told her that. That was the reason we did it, two reasons.