Credit: Images: XJ Johnson/JPI, John Paschal/JPI, CBS (2)
25. Gloria Fisher
Somewhere, Bette Davis is gnashing her teeth over the fact that she never got to play Michael and Kevin’s mother — and Joan Van Ark is facepalming, having abandoned the role of the femme fatale whose sex appeal is second only to her wicked wit.
24. Danny Romalotti
Rock on? Don’t mind if we do! Michael Damian’s character was exactly the sort of larger-than-life character that turned viewers of The Young and the Restless into The Enraptured and Addicted.
23. Victoria Newman
Passion’s plaything. Daddy’s girl. Boss lady. Whatever you choose to call Victoria, from Heather Tom to Amelia Heinle, she’s always been front and center, a lightning rod for electric storylines.
22. David Kimble
The antithesis of the character at No. 21, this manipulative monster enjoyed a reign of terror that didn’t end until he made the mistake — the hilariously appropriate mistake! — of trying to avoid his comeuppance by hiding in a garbage compactor and giving “trashed” a whole new meaning!
21. Traci Abbott
What’s that, you say? Traci’s not exciting? Nothing happens to Traci? She doesn’t even have a love interest? Traci, friends, is us. Beth Maitland’s character is the voice of reason to which no one listens, the well-adjusted personality we should all aspire to be. Also, we couldn’t freaking adore her more.
20. Adam Newman
Good and bad have no meaning, really, for Victor’s younger son. As a result, whether he’s been played by Michael Muhney, Justin Hartley or Mark Grossman, we’ve been riveted, poised on the fine line between rooting for and against the schemer.
19. Michael Baldwin
Is Christian Jules LeBlanc’s character the delusional sicko who once burrowed through Christine’s wall to attack her… or the devoted husband who’s earned Lauren’s devotion? He’s both, actually, which is what makes him so fascinating.
18. Ashley Abbott
Jane Austen only wished she’d ever dreamt up a heroine as compelling as Eileen Davidson’s Jabot chemist, a strong-willed protagonist whose luck in love should have convinced her to steer clear of Las Vegas for… frankly, ever!
17. Brad Carlton
Slap whatever label you want on Don Diamont’s pre-The Bold and the Beautiful character. Heartthrob. Himbo. Heel. You name it. We still hung on his every word — and assumed that the sometime lawn boy’s handling of shrubbery had rightly earned him his accolades as one of the world’s best… er, gardeners.
16. Nicholas Newman
A dreamboat run ashore, Joshua Morrow’s on-screen persona is the hero in every romance novel… crossed with the mistake that every woman has ever warned a gal pal against making. Of note, no one has ever listened to the warnings. Also of note, yeah, we get it. Even now, we fall for Nick over and over again.
15. Lauren Fenmore
A mean girl way before there even was such a thing, Tracey E. Bregman’s impetuous character hasn’t softened over the years so much as she’s grown, into a savvy businesswoman who, thankfully, has retained her sense of playfulness and mischief.
14. Malcolm Winters
Whether on cold medicine or not, we couldn’t blame the character at No. 6 for enthusiastically “mistaking” Shemar Moore for her husband, Neil. For the duration of the Daytime Emmy winner’s run on the show — and even now, come to think of it — we’d have done/would do the same. Eagerly.
13. Lorie Brooks
For nearly a decade, Jaime Lyn Bauer put the “super” in “supervixen,” crafting a calculating character from whom you couldn’t look away… and at whom you all too often wanted to direct a backhand. She was, to put it mildly, something.
12. Snapper Foster
The first in a long, long line of playboys on The Young and the Restless, this med student — most famously played by The Hoff — could have coined the term “playing doctor.” In addition, throughout the 1970s, he was the Rx for any and every storyline lull.
11. Sharon Newman
The Perils of Pauline got nothin’ on The Travails of Sharon, a hard-luck heroine whose good fortune seemed to end with the discovery of the right actress to play the part (Sharon Case, on try No. 3). Since then, she’s been cheated on, divorced, assaulted, imprisoned, diagnosed as bipolar and taken too deeply into our hearts to ever be removed. (Also, don’t try.)
10. Neil Winters
The late Kristoff St. John’s alter ego was sometimes led by his zipper, it’s true. But in every other regard, he was our touchstone, our go-to. Neil was slighted time and again at the office — Victor, Victor, Victor! — yet in our minds, he’d long ago been promoted to the post of Character to Whom We Most Related. Now, sadly, he’s also among the Characters We Miss the Most.
9. Phyllis Summers
A hurricane in high heels, this pot-stirrer makes every scene more exciting simply by walking into it. Yes, there’s a price to pay — oy, the miles of carnage in her wake! But to paraphrase Jessica Rabbit, the infamous strumpet brought to life by Michelle Stafford isn’t bad, she’s just drawn that way. And whatever way she goes, so do we — helplessly!
8. Jill Abbott
How ironic — and perfect — that the onetime manicurist would become infamous for her talons! The mercurial mantrap (played first by Brenda Dickson and longest by Jess Walton) sank her insatiable claws into one unsuspecting fella after another, in the process earning herself a reputation — since mellowed — as Genoa City’s resident queen of mean.
7. Paul Williams
There’s a good reason that everyone from Eric Braeden (Victor) to, um, the entire audience is always calling for Doug Davidson to get more screentime — and it ain’t just nostalgia: We all watched the Emmy winner grow up as Paul, a beach bum — emphasis on the “bum”! — who became the kind of do-right guy that any man would want to be and any woman would want to have.
6. Drucilla Barber
We know that Victoria Rowell’s history with The Young and the Restless is one that perhaps both she and the sudser would like to forget. But we just can’t. Her feisty character was the concentrate from which spitfires are made, the rare force of nature who could lay waste to a room without ever spilling a drop of champagne — unless she was throwing it in someone’s face!
5. Sheila Carter
They broke the mold when they made “Evil Nurse Sheila” — and thank heavens they did! Kimberlin Brown’s baby-swapping man-stealer was so rotten to the core that she couldn’t be contained by one soap opera; nope, the lovelorn psycho crossed over to sister show The Bold and the Beautiful and wound up being killed off more often than nemesis Lauren Fenmore’s been married!
4. Jack Abbott
The loverboy who’s worked so hard to fill father John’s shoes — as well as so many a lady’s bed! — may never best his rival at No. 2 on this list. Nonetheless, Peter Bergman’s alter ego (originally played by Terry Lester) remains a vital part of the Genoa City landscape, a natural born Casanova who has no equal. A doppelganger, yes — right, Marco? — but an equal? No.
3. Nikki Newman
Melody Thomas Scott’s character practically defines the term “rags to riches”… except for the fact that when she caught the eye of the character at No. 2, the then-stripper from the wrong side of the tracks was wearing less than rags. We also can’t resist the fact that, while snobbish Nikki isn’t to the manor born, she certainly acts like she’s for the manor made.
2. Victor Newman
You know you’ve reached the status of icon when your mustache has a space reserved for it at the Smithsonian. Then again, you also have a pretty good hunch that you’re the stuff of legend when, as Eric Braeden’s womanizing character has (well, should have), you have a former-wives wing at the American Museum of Natural History that rivals Henry VIII’s.
1. Katherine Chancellor
Who on earth could possibly outrank the undisputed king of Genoa City? The late, great Jeanne Cooper’s beloved Mommy Warbucks, that’s who. A rare gem, the so-called Duchess was a fabulously flawed individual who was fated to follow her heart… even when that foolish organ convinced her that it was a great idea to drive over a cliff with her estranged husband in tow!