Terry Lester Feud with Laure Lee Bell

For Info purposes… and to make it clear… Jack was NEVER written as a recurring character…

Here is the article that explains why Terry Lester left as Jack… which I never knew the reason. but I knew he was NEVER to be a short term character…

Posted by Roger Newcomb (We Love Soaps)


By Lynda Hirsch
Daily News of Los Angeles (CA)
October 22, 1989

For two months, YOUNG AND RESTLESS actress Lauralee Bell (Cricket) has read interviews with former cast member Terry Lester (Jack, now Mason on SANTA BARBARA) that quoted Lester’s discontent with the amount of air time Bell has been given, alluding to her limited acting experience and the fact that her father, Bill Bell, produces the show and is the head writer.

For the past two months, Bell has refused opportunities to write an open letter in fan magazines and to give interviews. She has even declined to answer questions about it.

But the actress has changed her mind because, as she said, "it has dragged on for so long. After the first two articles I thought, ‘OK.’ Now I am thinking, ‘Enough already.’ "

Bell is quick to point out that she has always "admired Terry. He taught me so much. At a point when he and my dad were having contract difficulties, he took me aside and told me that I had nothing to do with the problems and if he ever took it out on me, he was sorry. I went to his production of ‘Kiss Me Kate’ and thought he was wonderful. A few months ago, he wrote me the nicest letter.

“A lot of the younger cast members were really impressed with Terry. After they would do a scene with him, they would be awed. I often wished I could have gotten some tips from Terry. He was always pleasant to me, but I never felt I could knock on his dressing room door and ask his advice. He was always busy with other projects, which I understood.”

What of Lester’s charges that the entire story has revolved around her for months?

"It has. But for the past four summers the show has had a teen story. One year, it dealt with Phillip’s problem with alcohol. Thom Bierdz (who plays Phillip) worked a lot. Yes, I was involved in it, but it was Thom’s story. We did teen-age pregnancy, and it was Nina’s plot, and while, again, I was involved, since the characters are friends, it was Tricia Cast’s story.

“In the summer, we deal with social issues that will affect teens. We have three months to do a beginning, middle and end. Of course, that means a lot of airplay for the younger cast members. There were weeks that I worked five days. I am sorry if that pushed other characters or cast members aside, but it was needed so we could do the story. Summer’s over, and I am working two, three days a week, which is fine with me. That is a great schedule, which gives me time to take my singing and dancing lessons. I don’t even know what my next story will be.”

Bell said she was amazed at the support she received after the initial articles were published. “I received at least 30 messages on my machine; producers, writers, cast mates, actors from other shows. They were very supportive. They didn’t say I was a great actress. They mostly said they knew how hard I worked, and that I was always prepared and I really cared.”

Is her father playing favorites? “When I first joined the show, it was with the condition if I could not handle it, then I would be off the show. My father is a very smart businessman; he would not jeopardize the show for me. The ratings have been very high during the date-rape story. I am not saying I’m the reason, but the show has not lost ratings because of me.”

After this article, there are soooo many responses.. saying how they hated LLB.. and she ran Terry 
off .. because he had so much acting experience to be put on  the back burner of a novice..

We all know nepotism is there and it was for LLB with her Dad.. Terry left and went on to win
an Emmy for playing a dual role at ATWT.. ... so different from Jack.  GREAT, GREAT actor..


I will just agree to disagree. :smiley:

That would be on the original point, not LLB. :slight_smile:

Whatever… LOL… it happened over 30 years ago and it doesn’t really matter…

Besides what does it have to do with recasting Dru??? and why are we arguing over a Soap? :unamused:

I was unaware that we were arguing; I thought it was just a discussion. Sorry!

That was a very interesting read. Thank you for posting Purrrkitty.

I have always agreed with TL, miss him so much.

Terry Lester was a fine actor and a wonderful Jack but his “feud” with Lauralee Bell does his memory a disservice because it has been exaggerated. The soap press ran with it because it made good copy. There was no feud with LLB herself. She was a kid compared to him. His frustration was directed at Bill Bell and the way his character was being written. But the gossip took on a life of it’s own.

In TB’s allegations he blamed his lack of story on the fact that the younger actors including Bill Bell’s daughter were being favored in terms of story. And therein began the label of “nepotism” that some bring up against LLB even to this day.

There are very few articles describing the emotional toll this took on a young teenager new to the business and it was only in recent years that LLB has described the effect it had on her as a teen as she tried to continue her career. For a long time she hid her surname from new actors and acquaintances in hopes she would not be identified as being connected to “the boss”. Plus she had to deal with what today we would identify as on line bullying.

TL wrote and apologized to her for the pain his frustrated comment had caused her. What TL failed to appreciate is that Y & R was a team effort and that stories rotate. He wanted to be involved in main story on a consistent basis and when he was not he took his frustration out on a teenager. And given his popularity his fans also took to blaming LLB for his decision to quit the show.

Ironically through her own hard work and perseverance LLB has since gone on to earn an Emmy in her own right. I’m sure if TL were still here he would be happy for her. Think there’s a lesson to be learned in all of this.

You have some good points. but I kinda doubt that TL took out his frustration out on a teen… but he probably had words with Bill Bell… and eventually left because of it. At the time he was playing Jack… he was almost the MAIN character…and probably wanted “star” treatment.

TL was a odd duck… I saw him being interviewed years ago along with other soap stars on The Phil
Donahue show and he barely said a word… … came across as very reclusive… but was a very good
actor and proved it by playing a split personality on ATWT for a year… and won an Emmy for it.

None the less, it was over 30 years ago… and kinda no point in rehashing any of this… I only brought it up… because it came up during the discussion about recasting Dru… which I did not understand
how TL got involved in that discussion.

Interesting. I was watching back in the day, I loved Terry Lester’s portrayal of Jack and it took me a very long time to warm up to Peter Bergman in the part. Centering the summer around teens every year really bugged me too, but now that I look back on the stories they actually were pretty good, especially considering what they are serving out to us now.

As for LLB, for years she was on every single show ALL the time for years she became the center of the show. There was much truth to the accusation of nepotism, except that it got way worse after Terry Lester left. I think that’s the big reason why viewers pick on Cricket all the time, myself included. I feel kind of bad for her now but I can’t help it she still bugs me.

I don’t see the crime in her working on her dad’s show if she can act. I loved Terry’s portrayal of Jack but didn’t take me long to warm up to Peter Bergman. He’s a great actor and has a lot of screen time now which is well deserved.

I didn’t watch then, but this is what I hear repeatedly from everyone I know who watched then. Not only was she inserted into every s/l, but she was PERFECT. Men fell at her feet, became deranged and obsessed with her. She was a gorgeous model and then a super successful lawyer. On and on. Saint Christine. I don’t have issues with people hiring their children, but I think Bill Bell had some serious blinders on when it came to her and that she was on so much really says it all. Even in her “defense” article that was posted here in another thread listed A LOT of stories she was involved in for such a short time and while she says they were about other people… Not really though.

I find these old stories very interesting, so if anyone has any more, please share! :blush: :smiley:

Interesting, yes, but it was a long time ago and doesn’t really mean that much. LLB is on the show today because she was asked to return and, as far as I’m concerned, she is doing a great job.

I still haven’t taken to PB’s version of Jack. I loved Jack when TL played the part.

Always enjoyed TL, his Jack Abbott was a real schemer, womanizer, cold-hearted - and yet you still liked him. I do like PB as the more mature version, but young Terry was always fun to watch. Heard years ago that he passed away, but never did know what happened, his cause of death seemed to be very hushed up.

I always thought he died of AIDS related problems and because it was just coming into the news they hid it.

That makes perfect sense sparkle, thanks

That is what I have seen speculated for years, who knows what the truth is but the fact it was hid makes me think it is the truth. The world was so homophobic and aidsphobic back then.

Yep, I agree. that is what I always heard in whispered tones… several actors died in that time because of AIDS but was hidden.