The TV Watercooler had the opportunity to chat with The Young and the Restless’ Jess Walton to discuss her return visit for the soap’s 50th anniversary where she’ll share scenes with Jill’s former rival, Mamie Johnson (played by a returning Veronica Redd), her most memorable moments from the show’s history, and which storyline could tempt her to come back for a longer stay!
Jill’s finally back in Genoa City! What can you tease for us?
I’m coming back for the 50th! I’m still the owner of Chancellor Industries, though I’m not the CEO of it anymore.
We wish you’d come back more often. Have you officially retired at this point? Or semi-retired?
I don’t know… I really don’t know — I thought I retired when I first left, which was about 2010, but then we got new producers and they asked me to come back. Jeanne Cooper passed away and I had to go back. They called me up and really needed me, so anyway, on and off, I’ve been back on and off! So, I don’t know if I’ve retired or not.
Well, we love it when you drop by. There’s still so much story.
There absolutely is, without any doubt! When I get down there, I think ‘Oh my God. This is so much! I want to be part of this story!’ And then I remember how lovely my home is up here and I’ve got my grandchildren nearby. I just had a birthday, so I’m getting up there a little… It’s more exhausting than it used to be.
You and Jason Thompson (Billy) have wonderful mother/son chemistry, will fans get any Billy and Jill scenes during this visit?
Oh, I love that boy so much! Yes, there is one! Or maybe two.
You previously mentioned that Jill’s relationship with Colin was your favourite pairing the last time we spoke. Has that changed or would you still say that working with Tristan Rogers was an incredible experience?
Yes, it’s still my favourite pairing for sure! He made me laugh constantly. I think he’s such a good actor. I don’t know if the writers really knew what to do with Jill and Colin, or who he was supposed to be. She does have some sort of a moral compass and is in love with this guy who had none, so whenever he would start on some of his ramblings, I would just laugh — even when I was supposed to look disapprovingly at him! I just couldn’t help it.
I love laughing so much… Maybe that’s why it was one of my favourite pairings? I don’t know. I just thought it was a great love story of two very different people, who just loved each other.
What are some of your other memorable moments from the show’s history and Jill’s history?
One that sticks out for me is maybe giving birth to Billy on the Chancellor living room floor. I fought with Katherine and she drove me into labour! I love that one.
I also used to love Jill’s fights with Mamie (Veronica Redd) and the arguments with Katherine. I never did really like the physical fights with Jeanne because I was always afraid I was going to hurt her. After all, she was a bit older than I was. But she always ended up hurting me!
They love to show the cake fight!
We got that in one take! It was so much fun because she had Micheal Fairman (Murphy) holding her up and I had Beau Kazer (Brock) holding me up because we got frosting on the floor and the tiles were very slippery. I would have gone down if he didn’t hold me up! She was trying very hard to grab the base of the cake and put the whole cake on me!
I was also thinking about Quinn Redeker (Rex) this morning. What a wonderful man.
He passed away recently.
We’ve lost some wonderful men [in the past few years] including Jerry Douglas who played John Abbott. God, I loved my scenes with him! We were working together for so long and one of my favourite moments with him is when we were down toward the front of the living room arguing and I completely lost myself in those scenes — we were Jill and John — and that’s the only time that I’ve ever completely lost myself [in a scene]. So that was a very, very special relationship.
Another one of my favourite moments was when Billy was sick. I think it was one of the first scenes when Jason Thompson joined, and we were in the hospital. Billy was in the coma, and I just reamed everyone in the waiting room — from Melody Thomas Scott’s Nikki, to Amelia Heinle’s Victoria and even Beth Maitland’s Traci. Even Beth if you can believe it! I just read the riot act to everyone, even Eric Braeden’s Victor. I just went from person to person! It was amazing.
You mentioned Mamie earlier. Veronica Redd is reprising the role for the show’s 50th. What can you tease for us? Will we get some Jill and Mamie scenes?
Oh, yes! Oh, yes — they do! It was just such a thrill. It’s funny because I remember acting opposite Veronica one day in the Abbott family living room and my character just hated her so much and I thought, “Oh my God. Jill hates Mamie more than Jill hates Katherine… That’s not right! That can’t be!” And then I remembered that I realized the reason why is that Veronica and I had created this conflict between Jill and Mamie. It was the previous Jill (Brenda Dickson) who had created the conflict with Katherine.
So anyway, yeah, she’s coming back, and I’ve got scenes with her.
Jill does have a solid relationship with Mamie’s grandniece, Lily (Christel Khalil).
She does, but I’ve gotta tell you the truth… I think that deep, deep in Jill’s heart, she still loves Victoria for her son. She’s the mother of his children.
Although she does admire Lily, Mamie was after Jill’s husband! Jill did play surrogate grandmother to Lily’s children. But Mamie was trying to take Jill’s husband away from her!
Is there any storyline that they could pitch to you to make you contemplate a longer return?
Well, that’s really hard to say because one of the reasons I just can’t come back that often… It’s just that I’m older now and I just don’t have the energy for it. But every time that I am down there, I do want to continue! I’m very tempted to be part of the story that I know is coming!
I mean if they brought Colin back — maybe! That [story] was interesting to me. I don’t mind the business stuff. It’s very exciting, but I really love the personal relationships more. Even though Y&R does mix personal with the business relationships, I really love the emotional human stuff for sure!
The Young and the Restless airs weekdays on Global and CBS. Canadians can catch up with episodes on demand, the Global TV app, STACKTV, and at GlobalTV.com.