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Home Features Exclusives Kate Linder Feted as She Receives a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Kate Linder Feted as She Receives a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

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Linder Honored for her Role as Esther on Y&R as Well as For Her Extensive Charity Work

Kate Linder (Esther, Young and the Restless)April 10, 2008 Declared Kate Linder Day in Hollywood.  Check out the Videos!

Kate Linder Honored by LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
The Unveiling of Kate Linder's Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
David Johnson Serenades Kate Linder at Celebratory Luncheon 

Actress and activist Kate Linder, who has played Esther Valentine on The Young and the Restless for the past 26 years, was honored on April 10, 2008 in Hollywood as the recipient of the 2,360th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The procession of distinguished speakers at the unveiling ceremony lauded Linder not only for her acting career, but also for her charitable work with the USO benefiting America’s overseas military service members, and for her work closer to home for victims of Lou Gehrig’s disease, AIDs and homelessness.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa began the ceremony by addressing the raucous and enthusiastic crowd of hundreds of friends, fans and media.  “Most people know Kate as Esther Valentine on The Young and the Restless, but I know Kate Linder for a more important though less glamorous role that she plays here in the City of Angels,” the mayor stated.  “Every time I go to the streets of Skid Row - and I go there often, not just on holidays - but when I go there - whether it’s Easter or Thanksgiving or Christmas - I cross paths with Kate Linder.  Most people are with their families or tucked away on vacation, but Kate’s there giving her love and her time to people who might otherwise have nothing.  She understands that the precious gift of time and genuine concern is the most precious thing we give of ourselves.”

Kate Linder (Esther, Young and the Restless) As the crowd applauded, Villaraigosa continued, “LA is a place where dreams come true, and I’m sure when Kate auditioned for the part that has made her a celebrity from coast to coast, that she never dreamed this day would come.  It makes sense that she never quit her day job [as a flight attendant for United Airlines]- because that’s where stars belong - in the sky.”

Linder’s career has followed an unlikely though impressive path to the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

When you’re a young actress struggling to break into the business, an audition for a one-day role with one line of dialogue on a daytime soap opera is a big deal.

Kate Linder (Esther, Young and the Restless),LA Mayor Villaraigosa It was 1982 when Linder landed the one day gig on Y&R and delivered her line, “Dinner is served.”  Of course, the rest is history.  Linder was asked to return the next day and then the next.  She went on to become an integral member of the cast of daytime’s number one rated (18 years and counting) soap opera.  Ever practical, Linder has kept her job with United on weekends while appearing on Y&R during the week.

According to Jeanne Cooper who has played Katherine Chancellor on Y&R for 34 years, the role of Esther came about because Cooper decided, “I was answering my own door in a three-story mansion and it didn’t look right.  Katherine Chancellor needed a maid.”

 Jeanne Cooper, Kate Linder (Kay, Esther, Y&R) The two characters have bonded over the years and their relationship has evolved from one of employer/employee to trusted friends - though Esther still wears her maid’s uniform and answers the door at the Chancellor mansion!  The characters were once even kidnapped together, and Katherine was forced to deliver Esther’s child (named Kate, coincidentally enough) during a thunderstorm.  The characters’ friendship was tested when Esther’s estranged husband murdered Katherine’s husband during an attempted robbery, but the women managed to get past it, and continue to rely on one another to this day.

As a valued friend and colleague through the years, Cooper was asked to say a few words at Linder’s star ceremony.  “If you ever decide to run for president of the United States,” she teased, turning to Mayor Villaraigosa, “talk to me first, and get Kate to work for you.  She is one of the finest human beings I know, and I love her.”

Lee Philip Bell, Kate Linder (Esther, Y&R) Lee Phillip Bell, Y&R’s co-creator along with her late husband, William, attested, “I first met Kate 26 years ago when she auditioned for Bill to be on the show.  Bill knew back then that she was a true star.”

Even though Linder began dance lessons at age 3 1/2, her star potential didn’t become evident until seventh grade history class when the teacher assigned reports to be delivered in the form of dramatic skits.  By the time she finished high school, Linder appeared in major singing and dancing roles in “Promises, Promises,” “Three Penny Opera,” “L’il Abner,” and “Jesus Christ Superstar,” among others.

Jim Wood, Linder’s childhood friend from Arcadia, California, recalled, “I was friends with her brother, Randy, and I had a crush on Kate.  Kate never threw hissy fits, and she was not dramatic in her everyday life.  She never put herself out in the limelight for the sake of calling attention to herself like some people, which is probably why she’s so involved in charity work today.”

Kate Linder greets fans Linder’s desire upon high school graduation was to attend the American Academy in New York to study theatre.  Her father had other ideas.  If she’d agree to attend two years of liberal arts college, he’d support her in New York.

As a result, Linder enrolled at San Francisco State University and majored in drama.  Between school productions and stock and repertory theaters in the Bay Area, Linder was so busy that she never got around to taking up her father’s offer to help her move to New York.  When she wasn’t acting, she got her first taste of world travel as a flight attendant for Transamerica, a charter airline which flew exclusive flights to Monaco, Tahiti and various other destinations of the rich and famous.

Upon graduation, Linder worked in San Francisco State’s activities office where she met her soon-to-be-husband, Ronald Linder, then a professor at the school, and one of the world’s leading experts and authors on drug abuse.

The Linders Married on Valentine’s Day 1976 (thus the Y&R character’s name, Esther Valentine), the couple settled in Los Angeles.  Linder broke into TV with featured roles in “Bay City Blues,” “Archie Bunker’s Place,” and “Dream Girl,” before the infamous Y&R audition that changed her life.

At Linder’s star studded ceremony, which many of her Y&R cast mates attended, Cooper quipped, “Now I know what my maid does on her days off!  For all the maids and chauffeurs out there and there are so many of you, I thank you for honoring Kate.”

After dedicating her star to “William J. Bell and Johnny Grant [the late honorary mayor of Hollywood], without whom I would not be here today,” Linder recounted the story of how she learned she was a recipient of a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  “Before Johnny passed away, I was waiting for passengers in Portland, Oregon to board the plane, and I decided to check my home messages.  When I called in, there was a message from Johnny saying, ‘Congratulations.’”

Kate Linder (Esther, Young and the Restless) Linder recalled with a smile, “I thought Y&R must have won the Emmy for Best Show and how nice it was of Johnny to call me.  Then he said, ‘Kate Linder you have been nominated - I take that back - you are receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.’  Well, I just about lost it.  When I got on the plane, the other flight attendants wanted to know why I looked so shaken.  When I told them, they were so excited, they told the pilot, and he announced it over the loudspeaker to the entire plane.  Needless to say, it was quite a flight!”

Linder concluded her emotional speech by saying, “I’m the luckiest woman in the world, and today ranks up there with the other two best days of my life.  The first was when I married Ron, and the second was when I received my first contract on The Young and the Restless.”

As Nadia’s Theme (the theme music from Y&R) played, a beaming Linder clad in an elegant navy blue and white pantsuit, posed with her star and a feather duster.

Lee Philip Bell, Kate Linder, Jeanne Cooper (Y&R) After all the photographs were taken, Linder hosted a luncheon for invited guests in the Blossom Room of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, site of the first Academy Awards in 1929.

About 400 people gathered to nosh on Chef’s Salad while a harpist played.  During the main course of salmon, Carol Conners, who wrote the theme music for the movie, “Rocky,” performed an original tune, “To Know Kate is to Love Kate.”  Over dessert of cinnamon doughnuts and caramel ice-cream, the crowd was treated to the vocal styling of David Johnson.  Johnson is a former soap opera reporter turned celebrity crooner.  Johnson sang the classic Jerome Kern song, “The Way You Look Tonight,” which won the Academy Award for Best Song in 1936.  Check out the video of his performance.

“This song is my gift to you,” Johnson told Linder right before he serenaded her.  Renowned actress Constance Towers (Helena Cassadine on General Hospital), who was among the guests, said, “David Johnson was the highlight of the luncheon with his romantic voice.”  Towers, who has known Linder for ten years went on to say, “I can’t think of anyone who deserves a star more than Kate.  I’ve always liked the fact that she gives so much of herself - for the right reasons - to every cause.  Everyone loves her.”

Linder and castmates of Y&R Linder’s Y&R co-star, Daniel Goddard (Cane) echoed Towers’ praise.  “Kate Linder is a living example of someone who’s dedicated themselves to their craft.  She’s generous to anyone and everyone, and it has been a real pleasure and honor to know her and to work with her.”

Like Cinderella at the ball, the festivities for Linder came to a close at a designated hour.  Ever the professional, Linder was scheduled to tape new scenes for Y&R later that afternoon.


In addition to her role on Y&R, Linder was elected for a second term as Governor of Daytime Programming Peer Group for the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.  She serves on the board of AFTRA and is a founding board member of TV Cares, the Television Academy’s AIDS awareness and fundraising charity.  She’s involved in the charities Make-a-Wish-Los Angeles, the Salvation Army and the Los Angeles Mission.  She is also the celebrity spokesperson for the ALS Association, the pre-eminent leader in the fight against Lou Gehrig’s Disease, following her brother-in-law, Scott Buzzell’s, diagnosis.  Linder has traveled to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Korea, and Guantanamo Bay with the USO to boost troop morale.


LesleyAnn Coker Lesleyann Coker is a reporter and monthly opinion columnist for Soapdom.com.  She is also the co-author of Boob Tube, a forthcoming novel that goes behind the scenes of the soap opera industry.  She was previously a reporter for Soap Opera Weekly Magazine.


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