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Credit: Sean Smith/JPI

“I could actually feel her presence.”

No matter how long you’ve been watching Kate Linder play Esther on Young & Restless, there’s at least one person out there who probably has you beat. “My mom started watching the show on day one,” she reveals. “She’s 98 years old now and still watching!”

That’s just one of the reasons Linder is so proud to be part of the show as it marks 50 years on the airwaves. “I feel so fortunate and grateful to be a part of this show that gives people an hour a day to look forward to and enjoy,” she acknowledges. “That is just indescribable.”

While last week saw Young & Restless celebrating its March 26, 1973 debut, Linder’s got her own anniversary that’s worthy of attention: It was on April 8, 1982 that she and Esther debuted (although the character didn’t actually have a name at that point). For those trying to do the math in their heads, that means that Linder has been part of our lives for forty-one years!

For many a fan, it’s hard to think of Esther without reflecting on the late Jeanne Cooper’s Katherine, which is why Linder was so thrilled with a particular scene which unfolded during the Genoa City gala. “The scene with Victor, Nikki and Esther was amazing to play,” she recalls. “I really felt a connection between the three of us. Jeanne would have loved that scene. I could actually feel her presence.”

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As for Esther’s future, the much-loved actress thinks it’s time for Esther to show what she’s learned from hanging around with Genoa City’s movers and shakers all these years. “It would be terrific to have Esther become more active at Chancellor-Winters,” she muses. “She might just surprise everyone… and maybe find a love interest along the way!”

Now, join Linder as she shares her backstage memories in our photo-filled journey through Esther’s life!