Melody Thomas Scott nikki jpi yr
Credit: Howard Wise/JPI

There aren’t many folks who can get this kind of response from her.

It’s hard to believe, but Melody Thomas Scott has been playing stripper-turned-socialite Nikki Newman for a downright incredible 43 of The Young and the Restless’ 50 years on the air. But her credits go far beyond the daytime world as the actress has been working at her craft from a very young age.

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Her grandmother got her into showbiz, she told Soap Opera Digest on their recent podcast, at the age of three, and she was working professionally by the time she was four.

As a child, Scott, as she put it, “had kind of a dreary home life, let’s say that.”

She loved acting and she loved being on sets. It was, she said, the only time she was truly happy. In fact, she admitted, “If I could have spent the night on the soundstage floor, I would have. Because it was such a respite for me from the things I had to deal with at home.”

Being around “what I considered normal people,” was just too good to pass up. “The crew were always so sweet to me, the director, the AD — well, no, I already said the thing about Hitchcock, so maybe not him.”

The Hitchcock in question, of course, is exactly who you’re thinking: Alfred Hitchcock, legendary “Master of Suspense.”

Though she was only eight, Scott had been working for some time by the time she appeared in Hitchcock’s film (which was also her first movie) Marnie, as a younger version of Tippi Hedren’s character for whom the movie was named after.

As far as Scott was concerned, “he was just another director. I had no idea who Alfred Hitchcock was. I was eight.”

But it didn’t take long for her to figure out who this man was — and it wasn’t in a good way.

MARNIE, Tippi Hedren rehearses for Alfred Hitchcock on set, 1964

As far as first movies go with Hedren, Hitchcock and Sean Connery, Marnie was a big one. But it wasn’t a pleasant experience for Scott.

Credit: Courtesy of the Everett Collection

While almost universally lauded as brilliant, Hitchcock was not, by many accounts a very nice person. He’s famously said to have once referred to actors as “cattle,” though Hitchcock himself disputed this. And in recent years, allegations from such Hitchcock mainstays as Hedren herself have have been coming out about him being downright abusive, especially towards women.

Though Scott didn’t delve into these issues, she did recall without much warmth that “I very quickly learned that he was a very scary, heavy breathing, critical guy. Which is not hard for a lot of people to believe when I tell them this. He was exactly how you’d think. Never smiled, very clear about exactly what he wanted.”

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This certainly makes sense for a man who mostly seemed to believe that actors should read their lines and do what their told by the writer and director. It’s a far cry from daytime where actors are given more leeway to bring some of their own interpretation into their characters. And who have often gotten to know their alter egos better than the directors and writers after playing them for so long.

“I was a kid,” Scott suggested, “and maybe I didn’t quite get what he wanted. It was hard. It was a hard shoot. Scary, scary guy.”

Take a look through our photo gallery of other soap stars who hit it big in movies… and then returned to daytime!