Head writer Josh Griffin revealed spoilers for The Young and the Restless story arc honoring Kristoff St. John where Genoa City learns Neil Winters died.
According to an ABC News report, Griffin warned fans to have tissues nearby when watching the storyline, which begins near the end of today’s show and runs through Friday, April 26.
He said viewers need “to prepare themselves for a very profoundly emotional journey over those four days, and have lots of boxes of Kleenex right by. But in the end, as we knew that Kristoff would want it, it goes from being a passing of him to a celebration of his life.”
After St. John passed away suddenly on February 3 in his home from heart disease complicated by alcohol, the show never considered recasting the character of Neil. The actor gave the character so much of his own humanity and joy for life that nobody else could continue in the role and do it justice.
Roughly six years ago, the number one rated CBS Daytime drama honored another member of its cast, Jeanne Cooper, who portrayed Katherine Chancellor for nearly four decades. Griffin revealed that the show wanted to give the same type of sendoff to St. John and Neil.
“We had to, for his sake, for his legacy. He was so important to the show, so important to daytime television,” he said. “To television, period.”
For many, St. John broke ground by portraying a prominent character in a genre traditionally dominated by white actors and actresses. Of course, he approached his work as an actor doing what he loved to do rather than a groundbreaker. For Griffin, St. John opened the doors for many others in the industry by portraying a compelling and prominent black character in Genoa City.
Bryton James, who portrays Devon Hamilton, Neil’s son, said that the actor was a true professional and a gracious co-worker.
According to James, “he valued being a good human being in a position of influence with the entertainment industry. And that’s what I took from him — not just the kind of black man he was, but the kind of man he was in general.”
The Inquisitr reported that several familiar faces return this week for Neil’s funeral and next Monday’s unscripted episode honoring St. John’s legacy in TV. Dax Randall and Julia Pace Mitchell bring Neil’s son Moses and his ex-wife Sofia Dupre Winters back to Genoa City for Neil’s funeral where St. John’s Roots: The Next Generation co-star Stan Shaw presides as the reverend. S.W.A.T. actor Shemar Moore reprises his role as Neil’s brother Malcolm, and Neil’s former girlfriend Leslie Michaelson as portrayed by Angell Conwell also attends.
Next Monday, Victoria Rowell, who was Neil’s wife Drucilla Winters, along with Mishael Morgan, who brought Hilary Curtis Winters to life, join actors Moore, James, and Christel Khalil (Lily Winters Ashby) in remembering St. John’s legacy.