Earlier this week, the iconic Melody Thomas Scott of The Young and the Restless celebrated her 35th anniversary as the indomitable Nikki Newman with a heartfelt on set celebration that was attended by her cast mates, crew, CBS network brass, show co-creator Lee Phillip Bell, and invited guests, press, and family members.
Any Melody event would not be complete without an ode to Melody’s favorite show, “I Love Lucy”, and that was done via a very special cake made for the ceremony, plus there were some very special pictures of Melody over the years at Y&R that served as the backdrop.
The festivities kicked-off with current Y&R executive producer, Jill Farren Phelps saying a few words in honor of Melody and then what followed were some heartfelt, and often times emotional speeches, that also came with the perfect amount of a dash of humor to strike the balance of the afternoon celebration. Melody’s on-screen son, Joshua Morrow (Nick) next addressed the crowd on the CBS soundstage and shared his thoughts on the day’s honoree!
JOSHUA MORROW: The first time I met Mel, and I don’t know if she remembers this, but Nikki was coming in hammered staggering into a church. And Marnie Saitta (former, Y&R casting director) walked me in and said, “That’s going to be your mom,” and Mel as Nikki was a mess, but I thought, “She’s hot!” (Laughs) The next day I worked, she invited me into her dressing room to talk and to meet me. I, just straight off the bus from Oklahoma, did not realize how you should treat a woman in Hollywood, and I asked her how old she was! Melody said, “Why don’t you guess?” I didn’t know how the game was played and so I guessed and nailed it! And she looked at me and said, “Most people guess much younger.” There was like an uncomfortable nine seconds. So then she said, “I’m just messing with you.” (Laughs) Melody has always been my second mother. She gave me and my wife Tobe one of the coolest things ever. She asked me if she could throw my wife a baby shower, and I was like “cool”. And it turned out to be this ginormous party! We were really touched that you did that for us and I will never, ever forget it. The fact that you don’t have ten Daytime Emmys is a joke to me. You are incredible, and I am completely honored to play your son. I remember at one point I said to her, “I can’t call you Mel anymore, I want to call you “Mom”’, and she said, “I would be upset if you didn’t.” I love this woman. Thank you so much for all that you have taught me, and I love you.
Next, long time scene partner Eric Braeden (Victor) who along with Melody for decades has created The Young and the Restless most enduring supercouple Victor and Nikki, spoke emotionally and with tears at how much working with her has meant to him.
ERIC BRAEDEN: 34 years I have known Melody, and the thing is about this business is we work together and then we each go home, and we don’t really get to know each other that well. And yet, when we work together, I feel at home. I remember the first time that Bill Bell had written a scene where Nikki asks Victor about his childhood, and after doing that scene I knew I was going to stay at Y&R because it allowed me, and it allowed her, to show vulnerability. That is the secret to success in this business, pure and simple. I have never found that with anyone else on this show as much as with Melody. So I want to thank you for over 30 years of wonderful working conditions. I think somewhere along the line … we love each other.
Finally, the woman of the hour, and of the last 35 years in Genoa City, who has given so much and breathed life into Nikki Newman addressed the guests. In an emotional beginning, Melody shared a part of her difficult childhood, and how Y&R has truly become her family. She then shared how becoming Nikki on Y&R has changed her life in more ways than one.
MELODY THOMAS SCOTT: In February 1979, the most prolific writers in television, Lee and Bill Bell decided that I would be a suitable replacement for the actress playing Nikki Newman. I had never seen this show called The Young and the Restless, but it was a job and I knew I could pay my rent for the next 13 weeks, and I got to spend my time in my haven … a soundstage. My life was definitely continuing to improve, not only did their decision give me a job, but it also eventually gave me my husband, Edward Scott, 28 years and counting, and my perfect glorious children … and then later two grandchildren. And most of all friends, who are most definitely my family All the wonderful people standing here right now, you don’t know this, but you contribute to the joy that surges through me every time I walk through this building – everyone of you – cast mates, crew, staff, all of you. I might be tired or snappy, or worried that I haven’t learned my lines yet, but just your simple, “Morning Mel” it warms my heart. Your love and support, and you humor, brightens my day in more ways that I can ever express. And as lovely as this celebration is for me, it’s for all of you and my wonderful fans. What you all have given me; I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world, not even an Emmy. (Laughs) None of this would be possible without the continued love and support of CBS, Sony, and the Bell family. I must thank the ones who started it all the beloved Lee and Bill Bell. I am sure you were unaware at just how you changed my life that day. But you all … thank you for this life, a life, my life, and my family. I love you all so much!
So, what do you think about the speeches made by Joshua, Eric and Melody on this incredible milestone? Share your thoughts below! And be on the lookout for more from the party in the days ahead!