Jess Walton (born February 18, 1949, Grand Rapids, Michigan) is an American actress, best known for her role as Jill Foster Abbott Fenmore on the American soap opera, The Young and the Restless.
Born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, she attended the prestigious Loretto Abbey Catholic Secondary School in Toronto. Walton left home at the age of 17 and joined a Toronto theater company. In 1969, aged 20, she moved to Hollywood.
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.
In the 1970s, after signing with Universal Studios, she guest-starred on Kojak as the ex-heroin addict widow of a TV investigative journalist masquerading as a high-priced call girl. She also appeared on Gunsmoke, The F.B.I., Cannon, The Rockford Files and in the motorcycle movie The Peace Killers.
Walton portrayed the role of Kelly Harper on the soap opera Capitol, from 1984 until the show was cancelled in 1987.
Walton is perhaps best known for her portrayal of Jill Foster Abbott on the soap opera The Young and the Restless. She assumed the role in 1987, after prior portrayer Brenda Dickson left after an acrimonious fallout with producers. She is the fourth actress to play the part on a contract basis. Walton has been lauded for her portrayal of Jill, and is the only actress to win a Daytime Emmy Award for her work as Jill Foster Abbott. To date Walton has won two Daytime Emmy Awards for her work on The Young and the Restless.
Walton is married to John James, an author and founder of The Grief Recovery Institute. In an interview, Walton stated that "Before [John James], I had always gone for bohemian, rock and roll types. John didn't fit the image; he was straighter." The couple have a son, Cole (b. 1981) and daughter, Allison and reside in Oregon.
Full Name at Birth
Date of Birth
Claim to Fame
Capitol, The Young and the Restless
1970 - present
1969 - present
Stone Manners Salners Agency