Credit: John Paschal/JPI, CBS, Howard Wise/JPI, Brian Lowe/JPI, Sean Smith/JPI

It seems like only yesterday that the actress moved to Genoa City. But it was actually 44 years ago this February 20.

In 1979, a difficult decision had to be made by Melody Thomas (the Scott would come later). The 22-year-old, already a showbiz vet who’d worked with everyone from John Wayne to Alfred Hitchcock, had to choose between a sitcom pilot and a role on The Young and the Restless.

We know we don’t have to tell you which one she picked.

And what a smart move the up-and-comer made, too. Not only did the primetime series never actually become a series, but relocating to Genoa City made Scott a daytime icon. Now, she tells Soaps.com, “as I look back… I am first and foremost filled with gratitude to [the show’s late, great co-creators] William J. Bell and Lee Phillip Bell for entrusting me with the role of Nikki Reed Newman.

“This experience,” she continues, “has given me the opportunity to play the role of a lifetime and create a cherished extended family, made up of fellow cast members, our treasured crew and loyal fans who have never wavered in their support of Nikki or me.”

Today, Scott is of course a revered Hollywood veteran. But she admits that back when she started on the show, she already saw herself as a seasoned old pro. “I was considered a baby,” she told CBS Los Angeles in 2019, “but I’ve been acting since I was 3, so I thought I knew everything there was to know about show business.

“Well, let me tell ya,” she added, “I did not!” (You can watch the interview in full above.)

Scott sure learned, though, and by this point has left in her wake more than four decades of incredible storylines, bizarro plot twists and enough shed tears to fill a river. Twice. And she remains as intrigued by her alter ego as the audience is. “No matter what heights Nikki reaches,” she told People in 2019, “she’s still underneath it all pretty naïve. Even though she’s learned how to use her femininity and her money and her standing in the community to her benefit… she’s still pretty lost.”

In honor of Scott’s anniversary as Nikki, join us, won’t you, in taking a walk down memory lane past some of her most unforgettable moments in the photo gallery below. Then hit the comments with your favorite of Scott’s storylines.

Video: YouTube/CBS Los Angeles