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While admitting in part one of her interview that Bill Bell "hated" her during her first six months on the show in late 1973/early 1974, Jaime Lyn explains that their relationship soon improved and was always professional. "Bill and I were on very warm terms," she says. "But with Bill I was never quite certain. You know, you have to have boundaries with people that are your employers, your producer, your director. You become friendly with them but only to a certain degree ..."
By the early 1980s, when "Y&R" expanded to an hour, Jaime Lyn was one of the only cast members from the series' first few seasons to remain. In 1982, following the birth of her second child and often working six days a week, she told Bell she had had enough and would exercise an out in her contract with CBS.
"I was so exhausted. When I was doing contract negotiations, they had refused to put a ceiling of three shows a week in my contract -- without my permisson. And I couldn't continue working the way I was working ... I wanted to limit it; they wouldn't agree to it. That's why I ended up leaving. As Bill and I were talking, I said, 'Bill, whatever you do, I'm just telling you I feel I'm going to break. And if you lay anything on me about "It's going to ruin this person's career, it's going to ruin this for so-and-so"' -- all this stuff that had happened over the years with my producer or the network telling me this or that," she recalls.
"Bill was so amazing because he had already decided that if I left he was going to fire my entire family and make a new show under the name 'Young and the Restless' -- and he did not tell me that. If he had told me that I would've stayed because I loved the other actors. They were my family, too. I would've protected them. But he didn't. He let me go. And I thanked him, with tears in my eyes ... Several years later I went back to see him and (wife) Lee (Phillip Bell) and sat and told them some of the personal stuff that had been going on, and she had tears in her eyes, rolling down her face. They were so lovely. It's like, real life goes on."
Jaime Lyn's outcome was much better than that of original cast member Brenda Dickson, who returned to "Y&R" in 1983 after a three-year hiatus -- only to be unceremoniously fired during the 1986-87 season after a dispute with her producers. Dickson discussed her contentious departure in a 2001 episode of E! True Hollywood Story. This spring, she released an e-book of her new tell-all tome, My True Hidden Hollywood Story: My Memoir of Sexual Harassment, Blacklisting and Love Affairs with Some of the Most Powerful Men in Hollywood. In the book (out soon in hardback), Dickson claims she had an affair with Bell in early 1973, that he wrongfully fired her in 1986 and that the Bell family has sought vengeance against her in the decades since. (Bell died in 2005.)
"I have no idea what she said," Jaime Lyn, apparently unaware of the alleged 1973 affair and sexual harassment claims, says of Dickson's recent accounts. "Let's face it -- we were all very young. And, you know, when you're young you're kind of messed up. You've got all of your family issues from childhood and you haven't processed them all yet, and yet you have to act like an adult and you have to be in the real world. So we had a lot of drama going on. And Brenda was young with the rest of us. And I didn't hang out with her, so I didn't know what any of her personal drama was. Bill could be tough. You weren't sure sometimes if you could trust him. At least that was always in my mind. I was friendly and we were close up to a degree but there always was that professionalism that always was maintained. I would say that I wasn't always sure I could trust what he was saying. At the same time in the end what I saw was he made a great sacrifice, and he put me and my wholeness and personal well-being before the show -- and that was a game-changer altogether."
Jaime Lyn also discusses her brief 2002 return to "Y&R" and reveals how much she enjoyed working with Peter Bergman, who took over the role of Jack Abbott from the late Terry Lester in 1989. She also discloses that show producers approached her agent in January, asking if she was available to film during a specific week in February (apparently for the show's special 40th anniversary programming this spring). "So I stayed in town -- because I'd been planning to leave town -- and I waited for the call and never got it. So I have no idea what happened or what the thinking process was. But I was disappointed."
She is still open to the invitation to return as Lorie. "I'd love (returning). I'd love it. It would be great if she just moved back to town." With Michelle Stafford leaving the show next month, would Jaime Lyn enjoy rekindling Lorie's old romantic ties to Bergman's Jack Abbott? "That would be fun. That would be a blast," she says. "Because he was lovely to work with. It was so natural and so easy -- and just so fun, too, (especially) the stuff with Nikki. And I'd never worked with him before. I thought those were some of the best scenes" during Lorie's 2002 return. "Gee," Jaime Lyn adds, "if only you could put it in (producers') ear."
... In our "Reality Reimagined" segment, TV historian and author David Hofestede talks about his classic television blog Comfort TV. After penning several books on the medium, David explains how in this digital (and sadly, for the most part, post-TV-book) age he has created a space online to share his passion for '50s, '60s, '70s and '80s television.
... Finally, in our "Reawakenings" segment, our resident dream weaver Yvonne Ryba interpets two of her brief but potent sleep-time vignettes that inspired her to re-envision her life and all of its offerings.
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