Daytime Royalty: Eileen Davidson Exits Daytime - A Look Back!

A tribute to the legendary Eileen Davidson who takes a bow from Y&R, click here to read more--->>>

Article by: Kenyan Smith

Is there anything Eileen Davidson can’t do? I learned things I didn’t know. I know she’s a powerhouse multi Emmy winner actress and a record salary making reality star (Real Housewives of Beverly Hills). But I didn’t know she was a former model and an author.  Is there anything she can’t do?

The Young and the Restless fans were devastated at the recent departure of the dynamic Mishael Morgan (I have no soaply idea why The Young and the Restless let her get away).  I was just as angry as Mishael’s stans. Little did I know my own soap heart would go into defib shortly thereafter when Eileen announced she was leaving.

Let me begin with a disclaimer of sorts. I am a BIG STAN of Eileen Davidson, Ashley Abbott and Kristen DiMera. I will do my best to temper myself but if I go a little overboard, forgive me.

We were introduced in 1982 to Ashley Abbott. She is the daughter of Dina Mergeron and originally thought to be John Abbott’s biological daughter. For the sake of accuracy, I must mention that her biological father is Brent Davis, the result of an extramarital affair. However, in my soap mind Ashley is John’s daughter period.

Ashley Abbott is at the top top top of my favorite heroine lists. She is smart, sophisticated, perfectly flawed and tough with just the right amount of tenderness. Jack is the leader of the Abbott clan, Traci the heart but it is Ashley that keeps the family grounded, centered and steady. Ironically, she is the one most like John.

She initially worked in the family business, Jabot Cosmetics, as a chemist. During the entire character’s tenure she has also worked in various capacities as a Top Executive at Jabot.  She’s also worked for Newman Enterprises and Forrester Enterprises (The Bold and the Beautiful.)

Ashley has been married several times (Victor Newman, Brad Carlton and Cole Howard) and has enjoyed multiple lovers (Ridge Forrester, Joe Clark, Ravi Shapur). These aren’t even half the list of names.  Which begs the question, how or why hasn’t Ashley Abbott had a one true love that she can’t live without? How is that?

I’d have to write a book versus an article to do the character justice. We have been lavished with countless brilliant and captivating performances by Eileen coupled with masterful storytelling.  In the interest of time, I will only highlight a couple of my personal favorite standout performances/storylines.

When Ashley Suzanne Abbott found out that John Abbott, Sr. wasn’t her biological father,  my world crashed with Ashley’s. How could Bill Bell pen that John Abbott wasn’t my heroine’s biological father? How could Ashley go on? How could I? But the great visionary, Bill Bell, knew best of course.  Ashley Abbot not being a blood Abbot has transcended regimes and decades. It has been the catalyst for Ashley and an undercurrent in how she has been portrayed in the best way possible.

When Ashley got pregnant for Victor again in 2009, I was like no please no (been there done that). But I got to thinking,  Ashley Abbott does not have a child that she conceived and birthed the good old fashioned way (Abby Newman her only child was the result of artificial insemination with Victor’s stolen sperm). So I thought why not? But it was not to be. She miscarried at the hands of Adam, who was torturing Ashley to get back at Victor (Adam’s father). That was bad enough. But when Adam did the good ole baby switch, Ashley would suffer yet another heart wrenching loss, when it was discovered Faith wasn’t hers. I remember Ashley handing Faith to Sharon while this Shicker sobbed.  

I was shocked when Eileen was let go from The Young and the Restless in 2012. But the soap gawds do work in mysterious ways.  Kristen DiMera was headed back to Salem.

Kristen Blake first came to Salem in 1993. Kristen is the adoptive daughter of the King Villain of Salem (and in the discussion for all time soap villain), Stefano DiMera, and a part of the infamous DiMera family.

Although her screen time has been much less than Ashley Abbott’s, Kristen has wreaked so much havoc it too is toooooo much to tell it all. So I will attempt to summarize. She was saved from a mugging by John Black and has been obsessed with him ever since.  John Black, one of Stefano’s enemies and whose one true love was someone other than Kristen (Marlena Evans),  did love Kristen at one time but his heart belonged (always will) to Marlena. And no matter how hard Kristen tried (and she did) or all the crazy stunts she pulled (doppelgangers, secret rooms, fake pregnancies, drugging, kidnapping, etc), John would always want Marlena.  And Kristen was ultimately left alone. Doppelganger, Susan, pulled a fast one on Kristen and sent Kristen away.  But we know you can never count a DiMera out. She would be back.

During Eileen’s first Kristen rodeo, I was in my 20’s and life was busy. I kept up with the soaps via the newspaper mostly and watched during the holidays or when I was off from work. I saw enough of those first five years to know and ‘like’ Kristen.  But she didn’t have nearly the impact on me that she had when she returned in 2012.

By then, I was working from home and I saw every second of her revenge plot/rape storyline. I would watch Days live, watch the repeat on Soap Network at 6:00 pm and again at 11:00 pm when Kristen was on.

Kristen faked a come to Jesus moment and tried to convince everyone she had changed. Her real plan was to have Brady Black, John’s son, fall for her and then have Brady “catch” her in bed with John.  Little by little everyone started to believe she had changed except Marlena. Kristen and Marlena locked into another battle of wills which led to problems and break-ups for both Bristen and Jarlena.  Kristen, who to her surprise had actually fallen in love with Brady, then hatched the ultimate plot against Marlena to avenge Marlena’s involvement in Kristen losing Brady.

Kristen drugged, raped and taped herself with Eric (Marlena’s son who was a priest). Her plan was to use the tape to ruin Eric’s life and devastate Marlena.  Before Kristen could use the video, Brady agreed to give them another chance so Kristen kept it hidden.

The video on a flash drive ended up in Marlena’s possession.  She knew it was a video of Kristen having sex with someone but didn’t know the someone was Eric (when she tried to watch it it was encrypted.) Victor Kiriakis (who knew it was Eric in the video) convinced Marlena to play it at  Bristen’s wedding to show Brady once and for all Kristen couldn’t be trusted.

To my complete surprise I had fallen in love with Bristen (Eileen is my favorite screen partner for Eric Martsolf) so much so I was hollering at my tv, No! No! Marlena don’t show the tape! Kristen is sorry! She really does love Brady! But it is a soap so Marlena pressed play the rape tape was exposed and Kristen ended up leaving town.

Eileen during this storyline was…….I’m grappling for a worthy word……everything. She was riveting, spellbinding. How could I love Kristen so much and hate her so much at the same time? That’s the power of Eileen.  Kristen’s anger and thirst for revenge was just as palpable and real as her love for Brady. The rawness, realness and vulnerability Eileen demonstrated were epic.  The most amazing thing for me was her range.  You can’t get much different from bedrock Ashley to neurotic Kristen. Yet Eileen did it and earned an Emmy for Lead Actress in Daytime in the process.

But again, you can’t keep a DiMera down. She returned and continued her reign of terror. She had doctors transplant Theresa’s embryo (she was pregnant with Brady’s baby) from Theresa to her. She gave birth to “Christopher” and when he fell ill and needed a marrow transplant, Kristen kidnapped Theresa (who was a match) and brought her to Italy. Her plan was to use Theresa’s marrow to save Christopher and then kill Theresa.  Her plan was discovered by Brady and Melanie who traveled to Italy to save Theresa and Christopher.  In the storyline’s climax, Marlena (who ended up at Kristen’s castle looking for John) and Kristen struggled and Kristen fell out the window and was assumed dead.

Very recently, Kristen posing as Susan (now played by recast Stacy Haiduk) dropped by just in time for the Jarlena wedding to do what only Kristen could do. The aftermath of her wedding crashing is still being told at the time of this writing.

Eileen’s last day of taping on set at The Young and the Restless was Friday September 21, 2018 (big sniffs). Despite rumors as to why Eileen left, she herself has stated it was her own choice to leave. She left to get in control over her day to day. As much as we will miss her, we can all overstand that.

I just cannot say goodbye to Eileen, Ashley (who will call Jack “Jackie”) or Eileen’s multiple Days’ characters. I will say thank you for some of the best soap EVER and hope to see you all again.

Who’s your favorite Eileen character? What are your most memorable scenes? Storylines? How do you think Ashley will leave Genoa City?

Soooo much to discuss! Let’s Go!


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Soap Opera News: Daytime Royalty: Eileen Davidson Exits Daytime - A Look Back!
Daytime Royalty: Eileen Davidson Exits Daytime - A Look Back!
A tribute to the legendary Eileen Davidson who takes a bow from Y&R, click here to read more--->>>
Soap Opera News
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