It was anything but a promising beginning for Kate Linder, who was hired for one day, to say one line – “dinner is served” – on The Young and the Restless. But 30- years later, the woman who plays Katherine Chancellor’s loyal maid is still very much a key member of the soap’s cast.
Linder well remembers her first day on set, and meeting Jeanne Cooper (Katherine Chancellor) in the show’s make-up room. “I introduced myself and said, ‘I’m playing your maid today’, and Jeanne said, ‘Well it’s about time!’ I’ve loved her from then on!”
But at this early stage on screen, Linder’s character as Mrs. Chancellor’s maid didn’t even have a name, and it wasn’t until Jeanne arbitrarily called her Esther, that the writers started including the name in the scripts.
Linder’s character as Esther Valentine has been one of emotional highs and lows, not only housekeeper, but also confidante to the powerful Chancellor dame. Her character has been perennially unlucky in love with both of her brief marriages being to con-men only after the Chancellor fortune. She and her boss have also been kidnapped twice by fortune-hunters, which has resulted in them replying on one another for moral support.
But amongst all the drama, Esther has experienced a lot of joy. “My favorite storylines was the birth of my [on-screen] daughter, Kate, now referred to as Chloe,” says Linder. “My daughter returned to Genoa City from boarding school and changed her name to Chloe since she did not want others to know that she was the daughter of the maid…[but] she eventually came to embrace it.”
But if you’re Kate Linder, you don’t quit your job as a United Airlines flight attendant for what was suppose to be a one-day, one-line role on The Young and the Restless.
To this day, Linder enjoys the best of both worlds – on the air and in the air, and has worked at both jobs simultaneously for the past 30-years. “Acting is my life,” says Linder. “It’s what I do for a living and my creative satisfaction. Flying is what I do to stay grounded as long as I can work it into my schedule.”
“The Young and the Restless has afforded me many opportunities that I would never have gotten to do otherwise,” says Linder. “Some of my favorites have been participating in four USO tours, serving as a Governor of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for four years, and being the celebrity spokesperson for The ALS Association for the past seven years.”
“Over the years, I have had the most incredible experiences on and off the show [and] I feel very blessed to be on the top-rated soap opera…” says Linder. “Playing Esther, alongside such amazing actors, has been the thrill of a lifetime, made all the more memorable by the support of such wonderful fans.”
Here’s hoping we see Linder on our screens for many more years to come!
Words by JESSICA GRUBB