Michelle Stafford is leaving The Young and The Restless.
Stafford, who plays fan favorite Phyllis Summers, joined the long-running soap opera in 1994. She left in 1997 and was replaced by Sandra Nelson before returning in 2000. Stafford has been nominated for seven Daytime Emmys in the Outstanding Leading Actress in a Drama Series category, and won the award in 2004. In 1997, she won the award for Outstanding Supporting Actress.
Stafford’s departure comes shortly after the death of Jeanne Cooper, who played Katherine “Kay” Chancellor for almost 40 years. Cooper passed away on May 8 after being hospitalized on and off for an undisclosed illness. Executive producer Jill Farren Phelps said that the show had already been written into July, so it would take a little bit of time before her absence could be addressed on air.
“In the meantime, there will be references in the script that Katherine and her husband Murphy are off somewhere on a trip,” Phelps said. In the meantime, the show will honor Cooper with a 60-minute tribute airing on Tuesday, May 28.
Michelle Stafford recently shot a retrospection video in honor of the show’s 40th anniversary. The 47-year-old said, “I was actually told that I would be recurring and that I would only be on for six weeks. But I knew in my mind that that wasn’t going to happen.” She also talked about how she knew her character would “take off” and that she loved playing Phyllis.
In 2004, Stafford was a hockey correspondent on ESPN’s The Best Damn Sports Show Period. She also appeared in the Jason Statham film Parker as her Y&R character. During her hiatus from Y&R in 1997, she played Joanna Hadley in the Aaron Spelling drama Pacific Palisades.
You can watch Michelle Stafford’s retrospective below.
Are you disappointed that Michelle Stafford is leaving The Young and The Restless? What is your favorite memory of her character?