EXCLUSIVE: Interview With ‘The Young and The Restless’ Star, Kate Linder
Linder, who plays Esther Valentine on ‘Y & R’, chats about her decades-long role on one of America’s favorite soaps, her other career as a flight attendant, and her annual charity tea in Vancouver.
It would seem rare, though incredibly welcomed, to find someone who has been working in the same job for over 30 years, still enjoying every minute of it, and still looking forward to whatever the next day may bring. To successfully combine one’s own hard work, determination, and enthusiasm with a career that affords stability, while offering growth and opportunity is simply impressive, however common or not.
Kate Linder has two such jobs, and loves both dearly.
“It really is amazing. I can’t believe it myself, and when I think how long it is, it’s mind-boggling,” says Linder in speaking about the career for which she is primarily known. For 31 years, Linder has starred as Esther Valentine on daytime TV’s The Young and the Restless. If the International Movie Database is to be believed, Linder has been in 2,694 episodes of the long-running soap.
“I absolutely love what I do, and I’m excited to be able to do it all. You never know what’s going to happen when you wake up that morning. When I get that script, it's 'oh my gosh,' and you had no idea. It’s great and the character has grown and changed, and we go through different transitions.”
The enduring show, now in its 40th season, carries on with its tales of intrigue, melodrama, and sexual scandals, among other things. It continues to survive, if not thrive, in an increasingly oversaturated television landscape amid changing interests and times.
“Our show doesn’t really have a revolving door policy,” explains Linder. “When you tune in, you know you’re going to see the characters you’ve grown up with, characters you’ve seen for a long period of time. Our writers are also incredible, and the story lines deal with real life situations.”
“The first rule of our show is entertainment, but then along the way it teaches you things as well.”
So for years - decades, really – Linder has inhabited a single character, becoming synonymous with Esther Valentine. The character, introduced as a maid to Mrs. Katherine Chancellor, was not given a name in the script. That was until Jeanne Cooper, who plays Mrs. Chancellor, threw out the name casually, and Linder just happened to respond. The two actresses formed a bond on and off camera, but sadly Cooper passed away just a couple months ago. A subsequent tribute show was bittersweet and heartfelt.
“It’s a huge loss for not only the show, but for me personally. We will go forward with the show and with her memory and continue making it the best it can be.”
Linder’s other job began a few years prior to her taking on her iconic role, in 1978, as she sought employment that would both be flexible in order to allow her to act, but also earn her more consistent income. Linder became a flight attendant for United Airlines, and still flies to this day: “it came to a point where I’ve done them both for so long and juggled them for so long that I continued to do it.”