We talked with YR's Marla Adams about her amazing career, soaps and much more! Check it out here --->
I recently got the honor of speaking with Marla Adams! We spoke about the start of her amazing career, soaps, and what’s next for Dina on The Young and the Restless. I left this conversation with a huge smile on my face because Marla Adams is everything you’d hope she’d be and more. She is the sweetest, most kind person and hilarious too!
Always wanting to be at center stage, Marla started acting around the age of four years old at her church. “I pranced across the stage and sang “Santa is Coming to Town”, and it’s been historic ever since.” As she grew up she worked in her, “main love”, the theatre. She then got her big Broadway break in the most “bittersweet” way. Her father had passed away at the age of 56, and that same day she received a phone call that she had been cast in the Dürrenmatt play, The Visit. She would miss her graduation from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts to be at her father’s service.
She would have a great career on the stage and work with some of the greats of the world. “But that was in 1958 that I was on Broadway in New York City. And honey,” she joked. “It’s been downhill ever since.” Although the theatre is her main love, she has the greatest respect and love for her career in the soap opera genre.
“It was so wonderful because I was the first bitch on television,” she laughed as she talked about her first soap character, Belle Clemens from The Secret Storm. “And let me tell you, they are the best parts because you don’t just sit around drinking tea. You get into mischief!”
She worked in New York on The Secret Storm from 1968 to 1974. She was then advised by Fred Silverman, the then head of Daytime, to go out to California. Once she and her family had made the move, she worked on an impressive array of shows. She had guest spots on everything from Starsky and Hutch to Adam-12, and The Love Boat, and even a recurring role on Barnaby Jones. “I had a wonderful night time career, but my greatest joy is doing soap opera. It’s the hardest, most interesting, and the most rewarding.” Marla may today be known for playing Dina Abbott Mergeron on Y&R, but she has played on several other soaps like Days of Our Lives, The Bold and the Beautiful, and Generations.
“I’ve been on many soaps, but The Young and the Restless where I’m old and ruthless has been the most remarkable.” Marla started on the CBS soap in 1983 and has played the character off-and-on over the years. She truly seems to be having the time of her life on the set. “I love the cast. We’re all friends and work extremely hard.”
Since being asked back to play Dina in 2017, Adams has been so grateful for the Alzheimer’s storyline and for the response she has gotten from the audience. Especially from viewers who are caregivers themselves. “The feedback that I get from all over the world has been incredible. I am so privileged to represent them.” She has also received high praise from critics and from the Daytime Emmys. She was nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, her first Emmy in 2018.
“It’s not just a walk in the park.” Playing such heavy material like Dina’s Alzheimer’s and the mental decline has to take its toll. “It’s never easy doing this, but I am so committed. I’ve never been more grateful!” She noted how everyone around her from the actors to the producers is dedicated to making this storyline the most impactful. “I feel very important, and very loved through this character, especially now. She’s no longer just a bad, awful girl. Which, of course, she is. But she has heart, and so do I.”
Fans were recently treated to a beautiful scene between Dina and Jack (Peter Bergman) where Dina had a moment of clarity and recognized Jack for the first time in a long time, and told him that she loved him. In fact, throughout this story, Marla has had some heartbreakingly beautiful scenes with many of her fellow cast members, her “children” Beth Maitland, Eileen Davidson, Michael Mealor, Melissa Ordway, and Peter Bergman. “It’s an absolute joy to work with everyone. The whole secret of acting is not to memorize your lines. It’s to feel the depth of what is not said between the lines and to respect what you are doing.”
We haven’t seen a lot of Dina over the past few weeks, and that is because Marla was recovering from heart surgery, but she is feeling great now. And exciting news when I asked if we would be seeing more of Dina, Marla resounded with a “yessss!” She just recently returned to work so we won’t see her for a couple more weeks, but she will be on in October and December! “I thought they were going to kill her off because she’s so catatonic. But oh, exciting things are happening!” She teased some huge surprises coming up that her character will be involved in. “So, keep watching!” And we certainly will keep watching!
Marla wanted to thank all of her supporters out there. “I couldn’t do it without them, because they are the heroes and the heroines of soap opera.”
Thank you, Marla Adams, for sharing your story with me. And thank you for asking about me and my dogs! LOL. I can’t wait to see what is next for Dina and for you!