Doug Davidson reflects on 42 years at The Young and the Restless

Posted Sunday, May 17, 2020 8:11:39 AM

From bad boy to hero: The Young and the Restless' Doug Davidson (Paul Williams) takes a trip down memory lane in celebration of his 42nd anniversary at the CBS soap opera.

A lot has happened over the past four decades that Doug Davidson has been playing the role of The Young and the Restless' Paul Williams, who, as fans may recall, acted a lot differently back in 1978 than he does today.

"I was brought on to be a bad influence to Nikki [Melody Thomas Scott]," the Emmy winner reminds Soaps In Depth. "Then [co-creator, the late] Bill Bell transformed the character into a hero." He shared that the early character change led to 42 years of memorable storylines, many of which the actor recalls in a photo spread.

There's the moment when Y&R creator and former executive producer William Bell apologized for making Paul impotent. "I remember being at a Christmas party at the Bell house and Bill Bell goes, 'I'm so sorry,' And I went, 'Yeah, I know, it's a pity that this whole O.J. thing really hindered our ratings and they ended up canceling The Price Is Right,'" recalls the actor of when he was hosting the game show's nighttime version. "He goes, 'No, no, no. I'm talking about making you impotent!' Here I thought he was being sympathetic because my nighttime game show was cancelled and he was being sympathetic because he made Paul impotent from the car accident! But that was typical of Bill -- his mind rarely diverted from the show!"

There's working with Paul's former lover, Eva Longoria (ex-Isabella Braña). "She had a great sense of humor and we'd always end up giggling and having fun," Davidson recalls. "A good portion of that was before her character went crazy. That is a soap thing they do. As soon as something is going too smoothly, they make somebody crazy! But Eva was great. I got to know her and her family and learned a little Spanish along the way."

And working with Eric Braeden (Victor Newman): "When the show went to an hour, he was the older leading man and I was the younger leading man. And we were both given emotional scenes, which I don't remember a lot of men being asked to play such an emotional range as he and I did. That's changed obviously, but in the early '80s, it was totally different. We bonded in that environment and would talk to each other about our scenes, try to make them believable, and the scenes breathe. Eric and I didn't always agree but we always respected each other. It's just a really solid relationship."

Davidson also recalls working during the "golden age" of soap operas. "It was pretty fantastic," he enthuses. "When you look back and wonder what you would change, it would only be my perception at the time, because sometimes you don't realize what you have. A lot of it I did, but in the day-to-day things, I probably didn't realize how great it was!"

For more from Davidson on his 42-year journey with Y&R and to see a great collection of photographs from some of his favorite moments with the CBS soap opera, check out Soaps In Depth's full story here.

Would you like to congratulate Doug Davidson on his 42nd anniversary at Y&R? What are some of your favorite moments from the actor's four decades as Paul Williams? We want to hear from you -- so drop your comments in the Comments section below, tweet about it on Twitter, share it on Facebook, or chat about it on our Message Boards.

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