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There's no one quite like Brenda Dickson, the actress who created the role of Jill Abbott. Compounding the problem of replacing the unique Dickson after she left the show, Y&R had to find their new Jill in a matter of days. They hit the jackpot with Jess Walton, a gem of a performer who's done a marvelous job as neurotic, passionate, insecure, ambitious Jill. It's a demanding part, and Walton's success with the shark-like Jill was a delightful surprise, coming on the heels of her compassionate portrayal of victimized Kelly Clegg on CAPITOL. Walton's tremendous range allows Jill the same outrageousness viewers have come to expect, but hte camp has been toned down. She caught enough of Dickson's mannerisms and tone to make the transition smooth; however, the character has undergone a subtle transformation. Jill no longer lets it all hang out. There's plenty simmering beneath the surface, leaving room for maneuvering on the part of the writers, who have the freedom to explore new dimensions of the character. Whatever they have in store, Walton will meet the challenge.
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SOD Best & Worst -- 1987 · Soap Opera History & Discussion