Fans of The Young and the Restless have been thrilled to see Jess Walton front and center as her beloved character, Jill Abbott. And the bonus is that Jill has been in her usual fighting form, going head to head with Mishael Morgan's new alter ego, Amanda Sinclair, over her challenge of Katherine Chancellor's will. The story has naturally brought up memories of when Jill and Kay would have their knock-down-drag-out squabbles, but believe it or not, Walton doesn't list Kay as Jill's number one enemy. That honor goes to Mamie Johnson, played by Margueritte Ray from 1980 to 1989 and Veronica Redd beginning in 1990.
"Jill despised Mamie. I once said to Jeanne that I [play] more hate in my scenes with Mamie than with Katherine," Walton revealed to TV Insider, referring to the rivals' long-ago tension with each other over John Abbott (Jerry Douglas). "I think the reason was that the story with Mamie happened when I was playing Jill. The [original] backstory with Jeanne happened before I got there."
That's not to say that Jill doesn't despise her long-term archrival Katherine. But theirs is a complicated love-hate relationship that, according to Walton, is all the more complicated now that Jeanne Cooper is no longer with us.
"The scripts will call for me to call [Kay] 'the old bat,' which I did in our scenes when Jeanne was alive. But it's very uncomfortable for me to call her that unless she's face to face with me. I used to call her that to insult her and have fun with her. Since she's been gone...it's harder to do that," the actress confesses. "I can call her that if Jill is currently angry with her over something. I think it was around the time with the ring that Jill was so mad at her. When I talk about her in ordinary conversation, I just have to change the [derogatory] words to 'Katherine.'"
As difficult as they can be to film, the storylines that honor Katherine -- as well as other late Y&R stars like Kristoff St. John (ex-Neil Winters) -- really touch Walton's heart. And she was especially moved by the recent scene in which Devon (Bryton James) brought up the two characters mentioned along with Dru (Victoria Rowell) and Victor (Eric Braeden), the latter of whom Devon thought was dead at the time.
"At my age, so many of my friends, old boyfriends... they've all died. I've been saying to people after the last one [passed away]... I don't feel bad because I feel that they're all waiting," the actress says. "As I get older -- and I'm not thinking [imminently] -- but I feel like someday we'll all be together. That scene meant a lot to me because of that."
For more from Jess Walton, check out her full TV Insider interview here.
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