Thirty years playing an iconic soap character. congratulates actress Jess Walton as she celebrates 30 years on “The Young and the Restless,” as Jill Foster Abbott Fenmore, a milestone that was marked with a party by the soap’s cast and crew on Friday August 18, 2017 (see gallery). Numerous posts and photos were shared on social media noting the occasion, including a couple from Walton herself, who thanked fans for ‘welcoming her into their living rooms’ and ‘putting up with Jill’s shenanigans for 30 years’.

Jess Walton debuted in the recast role of “Y&R’s” Jill on June 22, 1987 after her former gig as “Capitol’s” Kelly Harper ended when the show was canceled. The character, who was originated by Brenda Dickson and was also played by Bond Gideon, Deborah Adair, and Melinda O. Fee, was an integral part of the soap, who had gone from manicurist to successful businesswoman since the show’s inception in 1973. Among the numerous storylines since Walton took over the role, Jill hired Rex Sterling (Quinn Redeker) to seduce her nemesis, Katherine Chancellor (the late Jeanne Cooper), and then decided she wanted him for herself. Jill also clashed with her son’s mother, Nina Webster (Tricia Cast), had an affair with Victor Newman (Eric Braeden), gave birth to John Abbott’s (Jerry Douglas) son, Billy (now played by Jason Thompson), learned she was Katherine’s daughter (which was later debunked), dealt with the ‘Cane Ashby (Daniel Goddard) is not her son Phillip (Thom Bierdz) who is actually alive’ scenario, became involved with Cane’s father, Colin Atkinson (Tristan Rogers), learned she was Lauren Fenmore’s (Tracey Bregman) sister, and was rocked by Katherine’s death, which marked the end of one of the most iconic and long-standing love/hate rivalries in soap history. Most recently, Jill had a medical scare involving heart issues and set off with Colin to travel the world, returning here and there to meddle in Billy and Cane’s love lives.

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Photo credit: Jill Johnson/JPI

– Candace Young