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Young and Restless Kate Linder unrecognisable in throwback snap as she marks 40 years on show

Kaitlin Wraight April 26, 2022
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The Young and Restless is a soap opera that has stood the test of time, its characters and storylines have proven to be a staple feature of day-time entertainment and family viewing.

Kate Linder was hired by the CBS network in April 1982 and is now celebrating her 40th anniversary on Y&R. Her character was originally created to serve a minor role in just one episode, but the actress’s talents prevailed and she has remained an integral part of the cast ever since.

Today, her character is well-known as Esther Valentine, the trusty and caring maid who has become somewhat of an icon.

Kate Linder celebrates 40 years on Young and Restless

Kate Linder was hired in 1982 to play an unnamed maid with just one line. However, the audience grew a liking for the actress and the CBS network asked her to come back the next day. She then remained as a recurring character, before a promotion to the main cast list in 1985.

It was Linder’s co-worker, Jeanne Cooper – who played Katherine Chancellor on the soap – who came up with her character’s first name, Esther. A public vote then proposed “Valentine” and “Diamond” for the surname, from which Linder selected Valentine.

Alongside playing Esther Valentine, Linder works part-time as a flight attendant for United Airlines, which she has done since before she landed the role. She stated that she kept the job because it keeps her grounded.

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Fellow co-stars pay tribute

To celebrate Linder’s anniversary on the soap, her castmates spoke to Soap Digest:

Jess Walton, who plays Jill said: “Katie is the hardest working actress I know and I have enjoyed working with her for so many years. We have had many days full of laughter and joy. Happy anniversary to one of the sweetest people I know and a castmate hopefully forever.”

Elizabeth Dickson, who plays Esther’s daughter, Chloe, said: “Kate opened her heart to me on day one. Very quickly, I learned that she loves her character, the cast, crew, and show like no other. I am so proud to be your on-screen daughter, and a huge congratulations for this incredible achievement, mom!”

Peter Bergman, who plays Jack, said: “Kate Linder is a lesson to all of us about the joys of working at Y&R. She comes to the studio prepared and professional, filled with excitement, energy, and gratitude.”

Joshua Marrow, who plays Nick, said: “Kate is one of the nicest people I have ever met. She is a true ambassador for the show. She is tireless in her desire to help people and she spreads cheer and joy wherever she goes.”

Actress Lauralee Bell, who has played the role of Christine Blair alongside Linder on Y&R since 1983, dedicated an Instagram post in honour of her co-star:

“Happy 40th anniversary @katelinderyr So grateful for you in so many ways! You’ve always been a comforting friend to me (to my mom too… and dad), a pro at work, an incredibly positive person giving everyone some Sunday love during the pandemic and truly a role model showing anything is possible if you work hard! Nobody deserves a day like today more than you! Congratulations sweet Kate! I love you! Thanks for all you’ve brought to #yr

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Kate’s 40 turbulent years on hit soap

Esther was not only Katherine Chancellor’s main, but her friend. During the years they spent together they went through a lot – they were each other’s confidants and partners in crime. They were kidnapped together, they fought for the Chancellor’s mansion. Katherine even delivered Esther’s baby when she went into labour on the stairs.

2008 was a big moment for Esther who reunited with her daughter Chloe. Esther’s young granddaughter, Delia suffered from leukaemia, before she was killed in a car crash in 2013, sending the fictional family into grief.

Further tragedy occurred, both on and off-screen, when Jeanne Cooper – who played Katherine – passed away and thus her character followed suit.

Linder told Soaps.com that Cooper’s presence is with her: “I can hear her today; I hear her in my head saying, ‘Really! 40 years.”

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Kaitlin is a multimedia reporter in her final year of journalism at the University of Stirling. She has interests in film, TV, music and culture, and utilises her social media platforms to share analysis.