On the 'Young & the Restless' Set for Melody Thomas Scott's 40th Anniversary (PHOTOS)

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The Young and the Restless
Cliff Lipson/CBS
The Young and the Restless
Cliff Lipson/CBS

Amelia Heinle (Victoria), Eric Braeden (Victor), Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki) and Joshua Morrow (Nicholas)

“My darling, what the hell do I say?” rhetorically asked Eric Braeden, who has played Victor Newman opposite Melody Thomas Scott’s Nikki for nearly four decades. “From the tip of South Africa to the northern territories of Canada to the steps of Central Asia, Istanbul…all the women of the streets look to you and want to be like you. I’m proud to have you as a colleague. Thank you, baby.”

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Catherine Hickland (ex-Julie, Capitol) and Peter Bergman (Jack)

“People don’t know this but Melody is in large part responsible for me [being cast as Jack],” Peter Bergman says. “I had just been canned from All My Children. Melody saw me on the cover of a magazine and said, ‘That’s Jack Abbott.’ She welcomed me to the show with open arms.”

“Melody’s been one of my best friends for decades,” says Catherine Hickland, who played Julie on Capitol, which taped across the hall from Y&R in the 1980s. “She was my maid of honor at two of my weddings!”

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Lauralee Bell (Christine) and Doug Davidson (Paul)

“One of my favorite things to do was watch Melody in rehearsal,” says Lauralee Bell (Christine). “She can be so funny in rehearsal and then when the scene would be shot, she can have one tear streaming down her face. Words are funny one moment, and the next, they’re unbelievably moving!”

“Words can’t express how I feel,” says Doug Davidson (Paul), who marked his 40th anniversary with Y&R last year. “I’ve known her the whole time she’s been here.”

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Jason Canela (Arturo)

“Mel will always have a special place in my heart,” says Jason Canela, whose character Arturo had a fling with Nikki. The actor had injured his foot prior to shooting his first episodes, but he says Thomas Scott couldn’t have made him feel more welcomed. “I limped into these doors and Melody sat with me and put me in the right place so I could take on this character.”

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Peter Bergman (Jack), Christian Jules LeBlanc (Michael), Amelia Heinle (Victoria), and Joshua Morrow (Nicholas)

“Mel can cry on cue on her downstage eye on (director) Michael Eilbaum’s request,” says TV daughter Amelia Heinle (Victoria). “She’s one of the kindest people I’ve ever met. I feel like she’s been my love interest for the last year, but that’s been great!”

TV son Joshua Morrow (Nicholas) wrote a poem in honor of his on-screen mom’s 40th anniversary with Y&R, titled (what else?) “40.” It read, in part: “Staggering beauty that seems to better with age, you always find the magic on every Nikki-scripted page.”

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Bryton James (Devon) and Michael Graziadei (ex-Daniel)

“Melody’s incredibly talented,” says Michael Graziadei (ex-Daniel), shown here with Bryton James (Devon). “She was always warm and welcoming to me when I first got here.”

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Robert Parucha (ex-Matt) and J. Eddie Peck (ex-Cole)

“They put us together when I first joined the show,” says J. Eddie Peck (ex-Cole), shown here with Bob Parucha (ex-Matt), about being paired on-screen with Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki). “I loved working with her. She showed me the ropes during my early months on the show.”

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Greg Rikaart (Kevin) and Melissa Ordway (Abby)

“Melody’s hilarious,” says Melissa Ordway (Abby). “We can just look at each other and start laughing.”

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Jacklyn Zeman (Bobbie, General Hospital) and Kate Linder (Esther, Y&R)

“I’ve known Melody over the years from being at the same events,” says Jacklyn Zeman (Bobbie, General Hospital), shown here with Kate Linder (Esther, Y&R). “I just love her and I have such respect and admiration for her. She looks so beautiful!”

“It was an honor to celebrate Melody’s 40th anniversary,” says Kate Linder (Esther). “One of my very first scenes was with Melody when we had a dinner party at Mrs. Chancellor’s (Jeanne Cooper) and Nikki was about to marry Kevin Bancroft (Christopher Holder). And here we are, almost 37 years later, and Melody is still doing an amazing job!”

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Noah Alexander Gerry (Charlie) and Lexie Stevenson (Mattie)

“I hit her with a car,” says Noah Alexander Gerry, referring to his character, Charlie, being behind the wheel of an auto that struck Nikki. “She’s really nice, and it was awesome working with her!”

“I’ve gotten to work with her a bit since Nikki’s grandson, Reed (Tristan Lake LeaBu), is my love interest,” says Lexie Stevenson (Mattie). “It’s so incredible to think she’s done over 3,000 episodes!”

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Christian Jules LeBlanc (Michael), Gina Tognoni (Phyllis), and Michael Graziadei (ex-Daniel)

“It was such an honor,” Christian Jules LeBlanc (Michael), shown here with Gina Tognoni (Phyllis) and Michael Graziadei (ex-Daniel), says of being asked to moderate Melody Thomas Scott’s (Nikki) special day. “We just finished a run where it was Melody, Amelia [Heinle, Victoria] and me sitting next to each other [for long scenes]. Anyone brings me chocolate earns my undying friendship!”

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Melody Thomas Scott was drawn by famed artist (and TV Guide Magazine cover artist) Al Hirschfeld

Camille Paglia, author of Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson, wasn’t in attendance but sent the following:

“In Melody Thomas Scott, my favorite daytime star since her debut on The Young and the Restless, the flame of old Hollywood still burns bright. Melody’s artistic lineage descends from Elizabeth Taylor and from Lana Turner before her. After the pioneering innovation of The Young and the Restless in bringing the sumptuous production values of classic Hollywood movies to soaps, Melody supplied the mercurial emotional cross currents caught in dramatic closeup. In my opinion no soap star has ever been better at revealing the depth and complexity of women’s inner life, glimpsed in microseconds of  centered stillness.

“Today, when young women actors must toughen themselves to survive in a harsh industry, it has become difficult for them to display both strength and vulnerability, simultaneously. Here is where Melody has always touchingly excelled — her instinctive intimacy with the camera and her warm openness to the audience embody television acting at its finest. She is a wonderful role model for the rising generation of women actors. Many, many congrats to Melody for her superb body of work over four decades.”

The Young and the Restless
Cliff Lipson/CBS

Melody Thomas Scott

“I would not be able to do any of this without the loving support of my husband, Edward Scott (supervising producer, The Bold and the Beautiful). To so many friends who have loved and supported me, my undying gratitude. I know it was long in coming. I know I am home.”

The Young and the Restless Celebrates the 40th Anniversary of Melody Thomas Scott as Nikki Newman
Howard Wise/jpistudios.com

The cake

A big fan of crossword puzzles, Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki) worked with @hansencakesbakery to design the cake honoring her 40th anniversary with The Young and the Restless.

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Robert Parucha (ex-Matt) with former head writer Kay Alden

“I was very new when I came onto the show,” recalls Bob Parucha, who played Victor’s brother Matt Miller. “Melody was very patient and kind. She gave me a lot to work with.”

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Melody Thomas Scott’s memories through the years

“Melody, I can actually credit you for my whole career in TV,” revealed Bradley Bell, executive producer/head writer of The Bold and the Beautiful. “As a teenager, I had very little interest in soap operas until my dad (the late William J. Bell, Y&R’s creator) hired you to play Nikki Reed, the free-spirited, fun-loving, renegade…stripper! Happy 40th, and here’s to many more!”

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Earlier this month, Melody Thomas Scott celebrated 40 years of playing Nikki Reed Newman on The Young and the Restless!

Many of the actress’ former co-stars and current pals (plus, execs from CBS and Sony and other invited guests) turned out for a festive tribute that was held, appropriately, on Stage 41 at CBS Television City, home to the top-rated soap opera.

Melody Thomas Scott Looks Back at 40 Years as Nikki Reed Newman on 'Young and the Restless'See Also

Melody Thomas Scott Looks Back at 40 Years as Nikki Reed Newman on 'Young and the Restless'

Plus, the actress opens up about her chemistry with late co-star Kristoff St. John and on-screen love Eric Braeden.

Thomas Scott gave an emotional speech to attendees, sharing details of her childhood and the loss of her mother last year, and noting that Y&R is more than just a job to her — the show is her family. “Whether you know it or not,” the actress said, “You are what you bring me joy. You have made me laugh. You have made me cry. You embraced me — bad hair days and all; and today, you celebrate with me.”

Click through the gallery above to see the actress, her castmates, the producers, and more toasting her major milestone!

The Young and the Restless, Weekdays, CBS