YR janice lynde returns leslie brooks
Credit: Courtesy Janice Lynde/CBS Courtesy of the Everett Collection

“I was just bombarded with wonderful memories.”

It’s not every day that an original cast member returns to The Young and the Restless, but that’s exactly what will happen this week as Janice Lynde reprises her role as Leslie Brooks. “It was like coming home again in some ways,” she admits, “although I wasn’t technically in Genoa City.”

Instead, her piano-playing alter ego will be performing at the wedding of Victoria Newman and Ashland Locke. “It appears Nikki and Victor have kept in touch with Leslie over the years,” says her portrayer, adding with a laugh that she was “happy to hear Leslie is still alive and well out there in the world!”

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Stepping back into Leslie’s shoes wasn’t at all difficult for Lynde, given how much the two women have always had in common. “Leslie and Janice were really interchangeable, except for maybe the mental institution,” laughs the actress. “I mean, they’ve never locked me away. But otherwise, our lives were very parallel. I was a concert pianist when I joined the show, and we were doing performances regularly. We were known as the musical soap at the time.

“And when John McCook joined as Lance,” she says of the man who now plays Bold & Beautiful‘s Eric, and who can be seen opposite her in the clip below, “we would burst into song all the time! It was very romantic, and we had these dark sets and lots of candlelight. Every character had their own musical theme. It was scored very much like a Hollywood movie.”

So what was it like returning to her old stomping grounds all these years later? “I got goosebumps, honestly,” she admits. “I was just bombarded with wonderful memories. I’d been back a few years ago, but that was just a very quick visit. This time, I really got to talk to so many members of the cast and get to know them.”

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Although she had left the role of Leslie before Eric Braeden and Melody Thomas Scott joined, Lynde very much enjoyed getting to spend time with them. “I was on for four years, which seemed like forever to a young person in their early 20s. But they’ve been on for four decades! They were able to make this into their life whereas I’ve had something of a gypsy’s career, which as an artist I’ve loved.”

Were the soap to want her to return on a more regular basis, Lynde would jump at the opportunity. “I would love that,” she admits. “Honestly, I was thrilled that someone at the show not only remembered Leslie, but that she is a world-class virtuoso and could be connected to literally any storyline through the music. Apparently, Victor and Nikki have kept in touch with her and have seen her perform in Europe. So the character has been kept alive and connected all these years!”

Now that we’re all feeling nostalgic, why not flip through the photo gallery below in which we chronicle the entire history of The Young and the Restless. Trust us when we say it’s a trip down Memory Lane that’s definitely worth taking!