young restless doug davidson debut paul williams anniversary tribute
Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS/Courtesy of the Everett Collection (3), Howard Wise/JPI

May 23 should be a cause for celebration — it marks the anniversary of the Emmy winner’s first appearance on the CBS soap. Instead, it’s… eh.

No one could have known on May 23, 1978, that the new guy on The Young and the Restless would go on to become not just a familiar presence, not just a frontburner mainstay, not just a revered Emmy winner but a daytime icon. Certainly, Doug Davidson, who played beach bum Paul Williams, was unaware that he was making history that simply wasn’t yet history.

YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS, Steven Ford, Michael Damian, Doug Davidson, 1980s. 1973 - . (c)CBS/ Courtesy: Everett Collection.

Decades later, the actor told We Love Soaps in 2009, “I assumed the show would be on the air, but I never thought for a moment that I would be on it for as long as I have been.”

If only he still was on the show. In recent years, commercials have gotten more screen time than Davidson. Paul’s position at the Genoa City Police Department has been usurped, and he and Lauralee Bell’s Christine have become less a supercouple than a super-scarce couple. Finally, in March of 2021, the vet got sick of being “treated like a day player” and told his fans, “I think I am done.”

The situation, nonexistent as it might have been, was, in his estimation, “no bueno.”

Well, we’re not ready to let go of Paul or his portrayer so easily. So on this complicated occasion, might we suggest some stories that The Young and the Restless could be telling with the character? And if the soap refuses to take the bait, perhaps you might like to remember better times by reflecting upon Davidson’s storied run as Paul in the below photo gallery.