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The Top 10 Moments of ‘The Young and the Restless’ on its 50th Anniversary

‘Y&R’ star Christian LeBlanc shares memories of the classic soap, and we rank its most memorable episodes

spinner image A group portrait of the cast of the television show The Young and the Restless
The cast of "The Young and the Restless."
Sonja Flemming/CBS

As The Young and the Restless (weekdays on CBS) celebrates its 50th year, its triple-Emmy-winning star Christian LeBlanc (64), who plays attorney Michael Baldwin, tells AARP that the show was ahead of its time, and a great place to grow older. LeBlanc — who had costarred on another classic soap, As the World Turns, opposite rising stars Meg Ryan (61), Marisa Tomei (58) and Julianne Moore (62) — was part of the crew that made Y&R (as fans call it) the number 1 daytime drama for 35 years in a row. The show was also a career launchpad for stars like Tom Selleck (78) and Eva Longoria.

Y&R creator Bill Bell addressed all kinds of social-issue topics, from breast cancer and alcoholism to dying with dignity and divorce,” says Le Blanc. His character, Michael Baldwin, engaged in sexual harassment long before the #MeToo movement made it a timely topic. Happily, his character found redemption through the love of Lauren Fenmore (Tracey Bregman, 59).

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Y&R remains on top today because it connects with viewers’ hearts. “A woman walked up to me at a fan event and hugged me and started weeping,” says LeBlanc. “At first neither of us said anything. The line waited. There’s something that takes away the barrier when you’re in someone’s home every day.”

Here are the most memorable moments in the half-century of The Young and the Restless.

10. When Y&R took out the trash (1991)

spinner image Michael Corbett as David Kimble in a promotional portrait for the television series The Young and the Restless
Michael Corbett as David Kimble.
CBS via Getty Images

After trying to kill Nina (Tricia Cast, 56) to inherit her millions, David Kimble (Michael Corbett, 66) hid in a trash compactor to elude authorities — and was crushed to death.

9. A real rocker morphed into a soap actor (1980)

Rock star Michael Damian (60) joined Y&R as singer Danny Romalotti, whose concerts often conveyed the social-issue messages showrunner Bill Bell wanted to convey.

8. The unlucky adulteress (1996)

Dr. Olivia Hastings (Tonya Lee Williams, 64) was stunned to discover her patient Keesha Monroe (Jennifer Gatti, 54), diagnosed with HIV, was her husband’s mistress, a message episode about the perils of cheating.

7. Nick and Sharon’s on-again-off-again romance (1994 to ... forever, we hope!)

spinner image Joshua Morrow and Sharon Case sitting next to each other in The Young and the Restless
(Left to right) Joshua Morrow and Sharon Case as Nick and Sharon Newman.
Sonja Flemming/CBS

Star-crossed lovers Nick Newman (Joshua Morrow) and Sharon Newman Rosales (Sharon Case, 52) fell in love in 1994, broke up and still remain good pals. But fans long to see them back together.

6. Jack and Victor’s ugliest fight (1992)

When Jack Abbott (Peter Bergman, 69) and Victor Newman (Eric Braeden, 81) had one of their legendary battles in Victor’s office, Victor collapsed. Instead of calling 911, Jack kicked Victor’s trembling, helpless hand on his way out the door.

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5. When Phyllis expressed her true feelings about a rival (1994)

When Phyllis (Michelle Stafford, 54) realized that her husband, rocker Danny (Michael Damian), was always going to love his ex-wife, Christine (Lauralee Bell, 54), she rented a car and tried to run her over. Busted years later, Phyllis walked on a technicality.

4. Y&R’s saddest farewell (2007)

Nick (Joshua Morrow) and Sharon (Sharon Case, 52) provoked viewer tears by saying goodbye to their teen daughter Cassie (Camryn Grimes), who got behind the wheel of a car while trying to help a friend, crashed and succumbed to her injuries.

3. Leap of faith (1981)

Terminally ill Vanessa Prentiss (K.T. Stevens) loathed her daughter-in-law Lorie (Jaime Lyn Bauer, 74) so much that she committed suicide by jumping off a balcony — in order to frame Lorie. Sorry, Vanessa. Lorie was exonerated.

2. Through the eyes of love (1984)

spinner image Melody Thomas Scott wearing a wedding dress and Eric Braeden wearing a tuxedo for the taping of the television series The Young and the Restless
(Left to right) Melody Thomas Scott as Nikki Reed and Eric Braeden as Victor Newman at the taping of "The Young and the Restless" on April 4, 1984 at CBS Television City in Los Angeles.
Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Of all the many times Victor Newman and Nikki Reed (Melody Thomas Scott, 66) married, their 1984 blowout wedding was the best. They were playing their song, “Through the Eyes of Love,” and pulling on all our heartstrings.

1. One of TV’s longest-running feuds (1974–2013)

When matriarch Katherine (Jeanne Cooper) took young Jill (Jess Walton, 74) into her home as a paid companion, she didn’t expect Jill to fall in love with her husband, Phillip (Donnelly Rhodes). So an inebriated Katherine drove her car off a cliff with poor Phillip as a passenger. He died; she survived to become Jill’s bitter enemy. But touchingly, they had more or less reconciled by the time Katherine (and the actress who played her) died in 2013.

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