Young and restless continues to celebrate the show’s golden anniversary (the show turned 50 in March) with a special episode honoring the late Jerry Douglasthe John Abbott character. Even though Douglas appeared in scenes as Jack’s (Peter Bergman) consciousness until 2016, the show was never the same after John was killed a decade earlier.
Y&R guest Kim DouglasJerry’s widow, who will appear in the episode aired Thursday, June 22, as Zelda, a woman with ties to the Abbott family, Traci (Beth Maitland) in particular. Kym Douglas is familiar to viewers from her appearances as a regular correspondent on both Ellen, where she was friends with the deceased Chief Stephen “tWitch”.and The Hallmark Channel series Home and family.
Kym, a breast cancer survivor, has suffered many losses in recent years, both personally and professionally. However, she maintains an upbeat persona as she explores what’s next in life and honors her late husband Jerry, the TV dad many viewers would have liked.
Jerry and I always talked about Massachusetts because we were both from there. Jerry was born in Chelsea, MA.
Kym Douglas: You’re going to freak out, but guess where I took Hunter (Jerry’s and my son’s) recently in New York? We were looking around for a place for him to live as his job moved him to New York and we found the perfect place for him in Chelsea. I Live for such signs. Makes me feel like Jerry is still involved in all of this. Every morning I wake up and ask for signs from God about what I should do.
Most people only knew Jerry as John Abbott, but occasionally he would appear in an old episodic series including policewoman, The beginners, The Bionic Womanor Mission impossible either as a heavy character or as another character. He was also in dear mommy in a scene opposite Faye Dunaway (Joan Crawford) as a radio announcer.
Know! Funny enough, maybe three or four weeks ago, Hunter was in his office working late on a weekend, and he had basketball on the TV. The game ends. It’s finished and still working. He paused, looked up at the television and saw a Cold case episode where Jerry played a man who was in prison. It was one of the last things he ever did. Hunter said to me, “I don’t believe in signs, but what are the chances that I’ll look up at that very moment and Dad will be on the screen?” It was almost as if Jerry was on his shoulder saying, “I’m with you and this move to New York will be good for you.”
How did that happen when you played a role Y&R?
I was getting emails from people from Y&R about how much they missed Jerry, and out of the blue, (show publicist) Matt Kane contacted me and said that Y&R was doing an episode in Jerry’s honor. He said there was a character named Zelda and we all thought who better to play that than you? I would be interested? I was there in five minutes! Hunter came with me. It was one of the most beautiful days of my life. Jerry’s photo as John is still in the Abbott family home set and at Jabot Cosmetics. For Hunter to see his father’s workplace and see him still there, his legacy, was so moving. I have pictures of him sitting behind his father’s desk.
I did scenes with (among others) Beth (Maitland, Traci, John’s daughter). She showed me a photo of her and Jerry that she keeps on her phone. So many people at Y&R he came to me and shared stories and memories of Jerry. Jerry loved working with (crew member) Luis Godinez, Jr., and now his son, Chico, works there. Chico got off the boom and hugged Hunter and told him how much his dad meant to him.
So many people have shared stories about Jerry and also how John Abbott’s character has helped them in certain situations. John has kept his moral compass through so many ups and downs. There aren’t many “John Abbott” characters on TV these days. (Y&Rthe creator/sr. executive producer/head writer) Bill Bell created a character who never wavered in his moral compass—no matter what his children did. If Jack (Peter Bergman), John’s son, did something wrong, John would point it out. I don’t think we have such role models anymore.
Many soap opera fans look to the soap opera characters and consider them surrogate parents or role models.
Yes. John Abbott was a father figure in their lives. There are characters in such movies, but you only see that movie once. John Abbott was in their living room for decades. Professional athletes would come to Jerry and say, “I didn’t have a role model, but you he showed me how to be a father to my children.” Viewers would tell him, “I learned how to be a father through you.”
Jerry was at Hunter’s college graduation a few years ago.
Yes. What I like is that both John and Jerry would have done the same. Jerry was battling throat cancer and a host of physical ailments at the time. But he walked all the stairs at USC Stadium under the hot sun. Jerry said, “Kym, I wouldn’t be anywhere else.”
If you ever were Y&R before this?
Yes. Bill Bell had cast me on the show many years ago. I was Kym, the secretary of lawyer Michael Crawford played by Colby Chester. I was also on Bold and Beautiful at Spencer Publications. This is something I would like to continue to pursue.
What can you say about Zelda?
He knows all the abbots from a long time ago. He has known them for many years. She has a special relationship with (Traci) and will encourage this person. It was great to play. I felt good about it.
What are your memories of the late Chief ‘tWitch’ Stephen from your time onwards Ellen? He hinted in an interview with me a little over a year ago that there was talk of him doing his own talk show.
(Stephen) and I saw each other quite often. I brought him to Home and family. I think it was a show in the works for him. I know (his wife) Allison (Houlker, So you think you can dance, Dancing with the stars) very good. They were a wonderful family, so happy. I know his kids adored him. They had a nice house, a great life. If you gave me a million dollars, I would never in my life choose someone unhappy. It’s so important to check people out.
This special episode of Y&R it’s a wonderful way to keep John and Jerry’s memory alive.
Yes. Hunter and I keep his legacy alive and always will. We are starting a charity based on Jerry’s love of reading. Jerry read hardcover books every three days. He loved books so much. We will make a kind of library for underprivileged communities that don’t have many books to introduce books to children. It will be another way to turn something devastating into something productive that can honor him and keep his memory alive.
What would you like to do next?
What a good question. My positive answer is “I’m open to anything. I leave it in God’s hands. bring it to me Whatever comes my way.” (There are) a few things that landed in my lap. I got a call from The fox and friends and outnumbered to be in their New York show. I did it for a few days. They said, “We love you. We think you’re great.” Then they saw I was in New York (from my social media). They asked if I could come in the next day and do it The fox and friends again. I did.
I have a wonderful literary agent, Jan Miller; she made my first book. She approached me to write a devotional book for women over 50 on how to look and feel their best. I also do a podcast (called Your daily dose of Kym Douglas) for Saint John’s Hospital, which saved my life from stage 3 breast cancer. He has advice that you might not be able to get if you can’t pay a lot of money and sit down with a doctor. I’m talking about the colon check. When should women get a mammogram? What about skin cancer? It’s another example of me trying to turn a negative into a positive. I want to keep myself and other people healthy. “Here are ways I do it, so why don’t you join me?”
Do you have any special shouts? Y&R because we had you on the show to celebrate both jerry and john?
Yes! I want to thank (executive producer/head writer) Josh Griffith. He came down to decorate the day I was working and met Hunter and talked to him. I want to say a big thank you and shout out to him and everyone Y&R for thinking of me and giving me this opportunity. My training was in comedy. I went to Second City with Molly Shannon (Saturday Night Live). Josh is lucky when we were recording that I didn’t break into an improvisation!
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