Y&R's Kate Linder Celebrates the Young and the Restless' 40th Anniversary
The Young and the Restless will celebrate its 40th anniversary. Y&R, the No. 1 daytime show for 24 consecutive years now with an audience of 4.8 million viewers, has in recent years seen its cast get younger, hotter and increasingly less dressed.
But always there, at the center of all that swirls around Genoa City, is rich matriarch Katherine Chancellor (Jeanne Cooper). And always by her side is her confidant, friend and, oh yeah, maid, Esther Valentine, played for 31 years next month by the super-sweet Kate Linder.
Kate spoke with TVFirstLook about Y&R's Big 4-0, her 31 years as the famously lousy-at-love Esther and, because she loves it, holding on to her day job for all these decades.
TVFirstLook: OK, so how does it feel to be on a show that's celebrating its 40th anniversary?
Kate Linder: Actually, April 8th is my 31st anniversary, which is absolutely amazing. It is so hard to believe that it has been so long. But, when I look back at all that has transpired, I think, "Wow." I was supposed to be on for only one day, so it's unbelievable.
And I am so proud of The Young and the Restless. It's the No. 1 daytime show. It's incredible what Bill and Lee Bell started and what the show has become.
TVFirstLook: What is it about your character Esther that Y&R fans have enjoyed all these years?
Kate: She is like the Everyman. She's not going around in gowns and jewels. She deals with real-life situations just like everyone else does. She was a single mother. And she has a problem finding a man. Every time she has found a man, he turns out to definitely not be right for her.
Yet, she remains loyal and committed to Mrs. Chancellor, to her daughter and, now, to her granddaughter. She'll do anything to protect Mrs. Chancellor.
TVFirstLook: OK, there have been legendary TV moments with Esther, like when Mrs. Chancellor helped deliver her baby. What is Esther's most memorable moment for you?
Kate: I just saw that birth scene on the Y&R website. That's unbelievable.
But one of my favorite story lines, which I loved, was when Esther answered an ad in a singles' magazine. She stretched the truth. She said she was the lady of the house. Esther told Mrs. Chancellor, who ended up playing the maid. It was fabulous stuff to play.
But, of course, the guy turned out to be terrible. He ended up killing Mr. Sterling. I don't know what can be worse than that.
TVFirstLook: So, there are a lot of young people on the show who weren't alive 40 years ago. Are they sharing in the excitement about the anniversary?
Kate: Everyone is excited about the show turning 40, but also that it's still the No. 1 show. That is reason to celebrate. And it's something to be proud of. There is so much that has transpired and taken place over 40 years. That's a long time.
And I'm thrilled that Eileen Davidson is back. She's definitely a big part of The Young and the Restless. She is on another show now, but they worked it out where she could come back.
I think one of the reasons The Young and the Restless is No. 1 is that if you turn it on to see a specific character, you will see that character. There isn't a revolving door on this show, which I really like.
TVFirstLook: All right, last thing. You've been a flight attendant all the years you've been on Y&R. Do passengers on the planes do a double take?
Kate: I was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. When I found out, I was on an airplane. I called to hear my messages between stops. It was amazing to hear that. I was crying. People on the plane were crying. And the pilot ended up announcing it. It was really amazing.
There is so much going on, though. The one thing I am most grateful to Y&R for is that it has afforded me the opportunity to give back. I am the celebrity spokesperson for the ALS Association. It is great that I am able to give back at the same time.