Stars from The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful are paying tribute to daytime TV pioneer Lee Phillip Bell. The co-creator of the long-running CBS soap operas passed away at age 91 this week.
Lee and her husband, William J. Bell, co-created The Young and The Restless in 1973 and The Bold and the Beautiful in 1987. Both soaps are still on the air on CBS Daytime. Following her death, 15 years after her famous husband’s passing, stars from the CBS soap franchises honored Lee Phillip Bell.
On Twitter, Melody Thomas Scott, who plays Nikki Newman on The Young and the Restless, posted a throwback photo of her with Bell, whom she described as a “powerhouse” and the “matriarch” of the iconic CBS soaps.
We are all devastated by the passing of Lee Phillip Bell. A television pioneer and powerhouse in her own right, she elevated daytime television in co-creating “The Young and the Restless” with her equally iconic husband, Bill Bell. We sadly mourn our true matriarch. ???????????? pic.twitter.com/V5nUaz4N5E
— Melody Thomas Scott (@MelodyThomasSco) February 26, 2020
Jess Walton, one of the pioneering stars on Y&R as Jill Foster Abbott Fenmore Atkinson, also remembered Bell as one of the “finest women” she ever knew.
RIP to the great Lee Bell. One of the finest women I have ever known. A kind, gentle and very smart lady.???? to her children and grandchildren and to all who knew her. pic.twitter.com/7Teg6dYavq
— Jess Walton (@JessWaltonYR) February 26, 2020
The Bold and the Beautiful star Katherine Kelly Lang (Brooke Logan on the series) also took to social media to remember Bell. Lang wrote that working with the TV icon on B&B for 33 years was an “honor,” and she recalled how much fun they had together both on and off the set of the Emmy-winning daytime drama.
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Lee Philip Bell was such a class act! She was such an inspiration and forged the way for women in entertainment starting her own talk show in 1953! And she truly was the title of one of her shows The Bold And The Beautiful! She was an incredible mother and business women. And had a knack for balancing her life. She was smart, funny, always smiling or laughing, determined and strong. She always made me feel good when I was around her. She was so warm and caring. Working with her on @boldandbeautifulcbs for 33 years was such an honor and just hanging out and laughing with her was so much fun too! We will miss you Lee! You had an incredible life. My thoughts are with Brad, Bill, and Lauralee and the rest of the Bell family. Much love to all???????? #leephillipbell #boldandbeautiful
Don Diamont, who has starred on both The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful, posted a slideshow of photos with Bell. Diamont shared a sweet story of how Bell once told him she was his biggest fan. The actor also posted his final photo with Bell, which was taken just two months ago at the annual Bell holiday party in late 2019.
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We lost our beloved and beautiful Lee Phillip Bell. The first picture is one that I hold dear from an impromptu lunch we had together. I value the second one as well because it’s the last picture of us. It was taken at the 2019 holiday party. I had and have so much respect, admiration and affection for this woman. She was a special part of my entire adult life beginning in 1985 with Y&R, all the way through @boldandbeautifulcbs One moment in particular that I will never forget was receiving a call from @bradleybell a few weeks after I had been airing as $Bill Spencer. Brad said, “ Your biggest fan wants to talk to you.” I didn’t know what was going on, but the next thing I knew Lee was on the phone saying, “ I AM your biggest fan! I love what you’re doing with Bill , and just keep doing it!” We spoke a bit, and Brad got back on the phone. He said, “ Well there you have it from the co-creator! “ Indeed! I was so moved by Lee’s kind words and genuine enthusiasm that it brought tears to my eyes. She was an incredible wife, mother, grandmother and professional! To say Lee was a trailblazer for women in broadcast journalism is not an understatement. Lee Phillip Bell was a shining example of womanhood, and leaves behind an incredible personal and professional legacy! RIP dearest Lee. You most certainly deserve it!????????❤️❤️❤️
Actor Greg Rikaart, who has played Kevin Fisher on Y&R since 2003, took to Twitter.
“[Lee Phillip Bell] was an extraordinary, extraordinary woman. She was smart, trailblazing, dignified and lovely as could be,” he wrote.
“RIP Lee,” tweeted actor Winsor D. Harmon, who played Thorne Forrester for 25 years on The Bold and the Beautiful. “It was an honor to know you as a person and a privilege to work for and with you for 20 plus years. God Bless you, mam.”
Other stars from the Bell-created soaps — including Joanna Johnson, Ian Buchanan, and Kate Linder — paid tribute to the late Queen of Daytime TV. The official Young and the Restless and Bold and the Beautiful Instagram pages also shared memories of the franchises’ beloved matriarch.
So sad to hear of the passing of Lee Phillip Bell, a class act in every way &always so kind2me as was William Bell. I'm 4ever grateful for the amazing opportunity they gave me to play Caroline & Karen on @BandB_CBS Love to their kids,also class acts,@LauraleeB4real,Bill Jr & Brad
— Joanna Johnson (@JoannaJohnson31) February 26, 2020
I am very sad to hear of the passing of Lee Phillip Bell. I will always remember her grace and generosity over many years. R.I.P.
— Ian Buchanan (@KilttripUSA) February 26, 2020
Lee Phillip Bell was one of the most loved and admired people I’ve ever known. Deepest condolences to her amazing family, I will always love and miss my friend, Lee. Thank you for everything you have given to me and to everyone you touched with your kindness and love. YandR_CBS pic.twitter.com/KTXXUSuzJ1
— KATE LINDER (@KATELINDER) February 27, 2020
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We are deeply saddened by the news of the passing of a member of our CBS family and the Daytime community, the beloved Lee Phillip Bell. She was a pioneer in television, first as an Emmy winning broadcast journalist and then as a soap opera co-creator and producer, winning an Emmy for producing Y&R and a Lifetime Achievement Award Emmy for her work on both Y&R and B&B. Our hearts go out to her children William James Bell, Bradley Phillip Bell and Lauralee Bell Martin, who shared, “Our mother was a loving and supportive wife, mother and grandmother. Gracious and kind, she enriched the lives of all who knew her. We will miss her tremendously.”
Bell was notoriously beloved by her cast in the CBS soap empire. When she turned 90 years old in 2018, stars from The Young and the Restless and Bold and the Beautiful told Soap Opera Digest what they loved most about her.
Darin Brooks (Wyatt, B&B) said Bell “always” had a smile on her face and he described her as “one of the warmest, sweetest and most welcoming people.”
Eric Braeden (Victor, Y&R) said she was the most “charming and gracious lady” he ever met, while Eileen Davidson (Ashley, Y&R) said Bell “epitomizes class.”
And Peter Bergman (Jack, Y&R) added that Bell raised three “thoughtful, kind, polite and interesting” children, which he said is her greatest legacy.