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Credit: CBS Screenshots

“She’s looking for a big scoop!” 

If there’s one thing we know about gatherings in Genoa City, it’s that things never go quite as planned. Whether it’s a wedding being derailed because everybody wants to speak up and nobody ever holds their peace or secrets coming to light at the worst possible time, things tend to get a little bit wild whenever Young & Restless characters get all dolled up and have somewhere to go.

That said, it should come as no surprise that Nikki and Victor’s big to-do is going to be the setting for big drama… including the unexpected arrival of a flash from the past: Leanna Love! “I get to crash the party,” says portrayer Barbara Crampton with a laugh. “She’s looking for a big scoop and just sort of nosing around, determined to find one!”

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Where Leanna goes, trouble tends to follow… usually because she brought it as her plus-one!

Credit: Howard Wise/JPI

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For those needing a refresher, Leanna was first introduced back in 1987. At the time, the character was obsessed with former psychiatrist Steven Lassiter, who’d gotten involved with Ashley Abbott. Over time, Leanna underwent a metamorphosis which took her from borderline psychotic to more of a wily vixen. She is perhaps best remembered for having written Victor Newman’s autobiography, Ruthless, into which she slipped a very unauthorized chapter about his affair with Ashley and the very messy aftermath.

“As usual, she’s looking to stir things up,” laughs Crampton of Leanna’s latest antics.

Meanwhile, stepping back onto the set for the first time since 2007 was a bit jarring. “I felt sort of like the proverbial deer in the headlights,” she admits. “It was surreal, because I felt like the new person in a way, and yet certain elements were familiar. And of course, some of the same people I’d worked with years ago were there. Peter Bergman (Jack) was the first person I had scenes with as Leanna was making her entrance, which was nice because he’s a familiar face!”

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“Victor is the king of Genoa City,” says Crampton, whose Leanna was, at one point, his queen!

Credit: Aaron Montgomery/JPI

More: Is an infamous villain headed back to Genoa City? 

Of course, Leanna had to cross with her ex-husband, Victor. “We worked together my second day on the set,” Crampton shares… adding that she was a little nervous about her scenes with Eric Braeden! Why? “Just before we were going to shoot, he said to me, ‘You know, Victor hasn’t seen Leanna in a long time. I know what they have written here, but I might say something else!’ And he did say some off-the-cuff things, which I was able to respond to in a way that made the scenes really fun and exciting!”

If there’s one thing Crampton didn’t have to worry about it was being in front of the camera again… mainly because she hasn’t slowed down a bit since exiting Young & Restless. In fact, the soap vet — who was also Maggie on Bold & Beautiful, Mindy on Guiding Light and Trista on Days of Our Lives — has made something of a name for herself in the horror genre. One thing she asks, however, is that people not refer to her as a “scream queen.”

“I find that kind of reductive,” she admits. “The roots of the ‘woman in peril’ stories are very deep and literate and to reduce that to an act by calling them a ‘scream queen’ doesn’t really convey what they go through or the strength they convey. I’d rather call them ‘the final girls.’ In the end, she finds her voice and sort of comes into her own.”

JAKOB'S WIFE, from left: Barbara Crampton, Larry Fessenden, 2021. © RLJE Films / Courtesy Everett Collection

In the 2022 release Jakob’s Wife, Crampton plays the title character who, as you can see, winds up in a bit of trouble!

Credit: Courtesy Everett Collection

Up next for the busy actress? The thriller Suitable Flesh, which is in post-production but does not yet have a release date. “Its about an entity that travels through time to take over the bodies of different people,” she previews.  “It’s based on an H.P. Lovecraft story. I’ve done a few things based on his works, not the least of which were Re-Animator and From Beyond, so I’m sort of returning to my roots with this one!”

Since we’re talking about returns, would she consider coming back to Genoa City on a more permanent basis? “I never say never,” she shrugs, although her dance card remains pretty full. “I don’t know if I could do it long-term, but I’d love to come back for more than just a few episodes.”

Check out all the familiar faces which have recently returned to Young & Restless — or are about to!