Who Were The Original Families On The Young And The Restless?

When "The Young and the Restless" first premiered in 1973, it looked a whole lot different than it does today. Of course, fashions have changed and sets have changed, as well as the overall quality of what is seen on screen due to new technologies that give the finished product of any television show a cleaner look.

In the case of "Y&R," the core families have changed, as well. While one core family remains, it's a shadow of its former self with a new generation of characters who seem like they are trying to use tape to hold the whole clan together. While the Newmans, led by Victor Newman (Eric Braeden), and the Abbotts , led by Jack Abbott (Peter Bergman), have been the dominant core families in the fictional Wisconsin town of Genoa City since the early 1980s (via Soap Hub), their trials and tribulations are not what drew audiences in during those first "Y&R" years.

The Foster family was the a working class Genoa City clan in the '70s

When "The Young and the Restless" made its debut, the Foster family was at the center of storylines. The Fosters consisted of Bill (Charles Gray) and Liz Foster (Juliana McCarthy), working class parents who had three children, sons Greg and Snapper, as well as one daughter, Jill. It was Jill's job to work at a beauty salon so that she could help put her brothers through college (via Soap Central), with Snapper Foster studying to be a doctor when "Y&R" began.

He eventually became a doctor, but like other members of the Foster family, Snapper, Greg, Bill, and Liz were all phased out of the show, especially with actors leaving their roles. First, Snapper was played by William Espy, but when he left, Snapper was recast with David Hasselhoff. After Hasselhoff left, producer Bill Bell started restructuring the show, according to Soap Hub, and the only remaining Foster still living in Genoa City as of this writing is Jill Foster Chancellor Brooks Abbott Atkinson (via Soaps In Depth). Jill was originally played by Brenda Dickson, but Jess Walton has played Jill since 1987. In fact, Jill eventually learned she was adopted by the Fosters.

The middle class Brooks family was the second core family on Y&R

The Brooks family may be long gone from Genoa City, but that doesn't mean they are not often spoken of. In 2019, viewers learned that Dina Mergeron (Marla Adams) had an affair with Brooks patriarch Stuart (Robert Colbert) while they were still teens and became pregnant, giving the baby up for adoption. Dina, who was suffering from Alzheimer's at the time, did meet her grandson, Theo Vanderway (Tyler Johnson), the son of the baby she gave up (via Soaps in Depth).

But when "Y&R" premiered, Stuart Brooks was a devoted family man with a wife named Jennifer. They had four daughters, according to Soaps in Depth: Leslie (originally played by Janice Lynde), Lori (Jaime Lyn Bauer), Chris (originally played by Trish Stewart), and Peggy (originally played by Pamela Peters Solow). Leslie went on to become a famous concert pianist and Janice Lynde who played her made a guest appearance on "The Young and the Restless" to provide the music for Victoria Newman's wedding to Ashland Locke (then played by Richard Burgi) in 2021 (via Soaps.com). Eventually, a widowed Stuart Brooks married a widowed Liz Foster, binding their families together forever. However, their marriage didn't last long when Liz announced that Stuart had passed away in 1984.

The Chancellor clan comes and goes

The Chancellors have also been a part of "The Young and the Restless" since the 1970s, with Katherine Chancellor (Jeanne Cooper) and Philip Chancellor (Donnelly Rhodes) being the wealthy couple in town (via Soaps In Depth). After Jill was hired as Katherine's assistant, she ended up falling for Philip and became pregnant with his child. Philip died in a car crash before his son, Philip III, was born, with Jill and Katherine becoming bitter rivals. Philip III (Thom Bierdz) eventually fathered Philip IV and Philip IV now goes by the name Chance Chancellor (Conner Floyd).

Chance's marriage to Abby Newman (Melissa Ordway) has been a chance to use the Chancellor mansion as a set once again and possibly revive this core family now that Abby and Chance have a son named Dominic, according to Soaps In Depth. Jill even owns Chancellor Industries and has put Lily Winters (Christel Khalil) in charge of running it all (via Soaps.com)