1969 - present
John James (m. 1980)
February 18, 1949 (age 72) (
Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S.
Movies and TV shows
Jeanne Cooper, Melody Thomas Scott, Peter Bergman, Christel Khalil, Eric Braeden
Marie jeanne cooper jess walton youtube
- Marie jeanne cooper jess walton youtube
- Jess Walton A Leading Lady Interview
- Early life
- Personal life
Jess Walton - A Leading Lady. | Interview
Mary Jess Walton was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, but raised in Toronto, Canada, where she attended Loretto Abbey Catholic Secondary School. She left home at the age of 17 and joined a Toronto theater company. In 1969, she moved to Hollywood and in next year, signed with Universal Studios.
In 1970s, Walton guest-starred in a number of television shows, such as Medical Center, Kojak, Marcus Welby, M.D., Ironside,The Rockford Files, Gunsmoke, Cannon, and Barnaby Jones. She co-starred in film The Strawberry Statement (1970), and portrayed the female lead roles of The Peace Killers (1971) and Monkeys in the Attic (1974). She also appeared in The Hunted Lady (1977) starring Donna Mills. During that time her social life also heated up and she was briefly wed to actor Bruce Davison from 1972–73; the marriage was annulled within the year. However, her life began to spiral out of control when she turned to alcohol and drugs. In 1980, she battled her addiction and completed rehab.
In 1984, Walton returned to acting with the role of Kelly Harper on the CBS daytime soap opera, Capitol. The show was cancelled in 1987. Later in that year, Walton joined the cast of another CBS soap opera, The Young and the Restless, in the role as Jill Foster Abbott. The role was originally portrayed by Brenda Dickson, who departed in 1980, and the role was first recast with Deborah Adair. In 1983, Dickson returned to the role, and though she stated that she would never leave, she was replaced by Walton in 1987. Walton won a Daytime Emmy Award in 1997 for Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her portrayal of Jill, and was nominated in 1996 and 2000. She also won the Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in 1991, after a nomination in 1990.
Walton is married to John James, an author and founder of The Grief Recovery Institute. In an interview, Walton stated that "[B]efore [John James], I had always gone for bohemian, rock and roll types. John didn't fit the image; he was straighter". The couple have two children and reside in Oregon.
Walton briefly dated one of the managers for Joni Mitchell and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, and for a time, she associated with them and other musicians, including Laura Nyro and Neil Young. In an interview, Walton recalled a memorable occasion where Nyro taught Walton and Mitchell how to belly dance. Walton says that one of the houses featured on Joni Mitchell's Ladies of the Canyon cover belonged to her.
Walton was good friends with her Y&R co-star Jeanne Cooper, who portrayed her character Jill's arch-rival Katherine Chancellor from 1973 up until her death in May 2013.