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The Young and Restless Life of William J. Bell: Creator of The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful Hardcover – Jun 15 2012

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks (June 15 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402272111
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402272110
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 15.2 x 3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 590 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #361,878 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"A fabulous introduction . . . perfect for bedtime reading. . . .  The writing is direct and punchy, allowing the myths to shine…the sort of book(s) that you could get completely hooked on and plough straight through, wanting one more story after another. . . .  Highly recommended."  —Bookbag

"Some of the greatest stories ever told have never been more accessible than in these charming and eye-catching books which have an easy-to-understand text accompanied by exciting and high impact illustrations."  —Lancashire Evening Post
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Michael Maloney is a contributing editor at Soaps In Depth magazine. A graduate of Boston University's College of Communication, Michael is a member of the Television Critics Association. He lives in Los Angeles.

Lee Phillip Bell is known to millions of TV viewers as a soap opera creator, co-executive producer, television talk show host and documentarian. She was married to William J. Bell for 50 years. Together, Lee and Bill co-created The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful. Lee lives in Beverly Hills.

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book gives you and inside look at the work involved in writing a continuous serial. The Young and the Restless is the highest viewed daytime soap opera to ever be on television and William Bell is the person responsible for that. I am heartened to know he is not alive today to see what is happening to daytime television. His vision gave us a great show, and provided long-term employment to many in the industry. It is too bad the loyalty shown by so may to Mr. Bell is not even looked at today. I reccomend this book to any fan of the show to understand Mr. Bells motivation to bring a great product to air.
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By Michel F Blais on April 7 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This was part of a birthday gift, that my friend, a longtime fan of this program very much enjoyed
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By Ginette S. Lalonde on May 13 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have this one in paper back and I enjoyed it also
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 30 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
"The Life of Daytime's Most Prolific Writer" June 1 2012
By Terrance Richard - Published on
Format: Hardcover
"The Young and Restless Life of William J. Bell" is the autobiography of the man many belive, myself included, to be the best male writer American daytime soap operas has ever known. The book, which is co-written by Bill's wife Lee Phillip Bell and Michael Maloney, traces Bill's life in Chicago where he got his start working for the mother of serials Irna Philips who would become his mentor. It was through Irna that Bill learned the craft of soap opera story telling, something Agnes Nixon (creator of "All My Children") also experienced.

In the 1950's Bill was Irna's associate writer for CBS's "The Guiding Light" and he went on to write story and dialogue for the blockbuster soap "As the World Turns" upon its debut in 1956. Bill stayed with "World Turns" until 1966 when he received a call from Ted Corday who was trying to keep his soap "Days of Our Lives" from being cancelled. Unknown to Bill at the time Ted (with whom Bill worked with on "World Turns". Ted was a director) was dying and Ted asked if Bill could headwrite the new NBC soap. The next day Bill called Ted and said he would, much to the chagrin of Irna who though Bill would write both soaps, but Bill knew there was many things wrong with "Days" and he wanted to concentrate on it solely.

It was on "Days of Our Lives" that Bill really cut his teeth as a serial writer as almost immediately the actors knew the scripts improved dramatically and the ratings slowly rose. On this show Bill wrote stories with sexual themes and his storylines of brother vs. brother for the affections of a beautiful doctor (Mickey/Bill/Laura) and the battle between two former best friends for the love od a beautiful young man (Julie/Susan/David) saw the ratings go through the roof. Bill was also instrumental in casting on the show as he made stars out of Susan Flannery, Denise Alexander and Susan Seaforth Hayes.

By 1971 "Days of Our Lives" did the impossibe: it replaced "As the World Turns" as the #1 soap opera in the nation, the first time another soap had been #1 since 1958! CBS saw what was happening and contacted Bill about creating a new serial for their schedule.

Every soap writer's dream is to create their own show so Bill jumped at the chance to do his own serial. In 1972 he and his wife Lee went to Los Angeles and for a week stayed at the Beverly Hills Hotel and created a show about beautiful young people living in a town called Genoa City with the title being "The Innocent Years". CBS bought it, but Bill felt the title was proper since by the early seventies there was nothing innocent about that time with race riots and the Vietnam War in full swing. So the title of the new show became "The Young and the Restless" and the rest is history.

NBC would end up suing Bill for leaving "Days", but a contract was made making Bill the writing consultant for the show as he penned his new series. "The Toung and the Restless" became a huge hit for CBS hitting #1 and winning the Emmy as Best Daytime Drama only two years after its debut. Bill and his wife would beasked by CBS to create yet another show for them in 1986 and the outcome was "The Bold and the Beautiful" about the L.A. fashion world. That show went to #2 where it has stayed since and has become the most-watched soapopera in the world today with an estimated 26 million viewers.

An exceptional book. "The Young and Restless Life of Bill Bell" is an insight into a marvelous man who loved his family and loved the art of soap opera who died way too young from alzheimer's disease. Upon his death "The Young and the Restless" has seen a huge drop in ratings although it still manages to be the 31 serial in North America, but the stories are nowhere near as involving or interesting as they once where when Bill led the show.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
More like a love letter than a biography..... July 11 2012
By Eleanor Rigby - Published on
Format: Hardcover
When I realized that Lee Phillip Bell had selected this author to write the book on her husband's impressive career and rise to the top, I knew it would be biased, of course. But what I didn't know until the first chapter in was how this one-sided view of facts and events would paint the entire book with a shallowness and superficiality that was disappointing.

With admiration and awe dripping from every word, the author misses opportunities to delve more deeply into conflicts and behind-the-scenes insights that would have enriched the story-telling for the reader.

As a long-time fan of both Y&R and B&B, I did find the book overall enjoyable, but it left me wanting more. There is very little, if anything, in this book that one couldn't find on the Internet, and that is unfortunate.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Loved it!! July 21 2012
By BrodyIan - Published on
Format: Hardcover
What a great read. An amazing story of a man and his show written as well as anything in this genre I've ever read.
I highly recommend this to anyone. If you loved Y&R, B&B, or any daytime drama, for that matter, it's a must read.
Well written and tough to put down. I can't say enough good things about it.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A Modern Day William Shakespeare! The Master Story Teller of Our Time! June 4 2012
By Sylviastel - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you don't know William J. Bell, then you don't watch soaps. In fact, William J. Bell and his beloved wife, Lee Phillip, developed and created "The Young and The Restless" and "The Bold and the Beautiful" which are both ranked number one and two in soap opera ratings even before the extinction of American soaps.

William J. Bell was mentored by Chicago soap mother,creator, writer, and visionary producer Irna Phillips, who wasn't an easy woman but an incredible genius who mentored William J. Bell and Agnes Nixon (creator and head writer of All My Children and One Life To Live). They were her proteges and a reminder of the old triumvirate of daytime dramatic television.

William J. Bell married the lovely Lee Phillip, a Chicago television personality for thirty years before Oprah Winfrey. They are the parents of William J. Bell Jr., Lauralee Bell, and Bradey Bell.

Their partnership onscreen and offscreen have created two soaps, "The Young and The Restless" and "The Bold and the Beautiful." After years of writing for Irna, Bill finally got a chance to write and create his own soap.

"The Young and the Restless" debuted in 1973 and took only a few years before becoming the first in the soap opera ratings. Unlike the other soaps, "The Young and The Restless" was definitely different drama in terms of storytelling, characters, and style. His show had a different feel that was largely masculine, cold, dark, and distant at times but his characters were realistic, appealing, and very identifiable to audiences for years.

His stories were written carefully and character driven. Some story lines even took years to develop and unfold for audiences but they were well worth the wait in gold to finally see fruition. Like an onion, Bell peeled off the characters and storylines layer by layer.

Unlike General Hospital with it's Luke and Laura, Bell created and developed his characters to be realistic. Unlike it's competition, Bell never relied on superstar couples, outlandish storylines, and back from the dead. Once Jeanne Cooper stated that their characters stayed dead on their show. Times have changed since then.

In fact, "The Young and the Restless," was once the soap that others inspired too but now it's about survival. Too bad, William J. Bell and Irna Phillips didn't live to see the destruction of the soap opera genre in American television. They would be appalled and saddened that their genre is dying away as we speak and fighting for survival like an endangered speices.

I still think William J. Bell should have been awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Television with his wife as well. I once wrote a letter to the Kennedy Center for the annual honors ceremony. William J. Bell and Helen Wagner (As The World Turns Actress for 54 years) were whom I suggested that they should be recognized for their contributions and services to television. Of course, I think Bill Bell deserved more accolades like the National Medal of The Arts as well. In retrospect, I wished the book was written before Bell's death.

I still believe William J. Bell deserves a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame even posthumously for television. When I think of writers and visionaries, I think of William J. Bell, Irna Phillups, and Agnes Nixon who were the triumvirate of daytime dramas. Their visionary ideas have produced unforgettable images, characters, and memories that should not be forgotten. I just wished that others would honor and respect them even now.

He also respected his audiences in his writing styles. He wrote to the audiences and not at them. He never alienated the viewers but brought them. His style of writing is sorely missed.

William J. Bell was forced into retirement because of his Alzheimer's disease. He is now interred with celebrities at Westwood Cemetery. I know we'll never have the likes of a William J. Bell again. He was brilliant, kind, genius, compassionate, and understood people in a way that writers should aspire too. Too bad, his shows have turned into an embarrassing mess of failed story lines, poor acting, and lack of vision and direction.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Such an awesome man! Sept. 4 2013
By CathiD - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There aren't all that many soaps on the air any longer. CBS has two - proven winners over the years. Yet even with the others, I don't think you'd be able to tell us who developed them. Except for Y&R and B&B. They are here at the forefront of television and that is because of Bill Bell and his family. I've always been fond of reading biographies, and I've watched Young and the Restless ever since it first came on the air. So then, it fits that I would enjoy reading about the life of Bill Bell. I did. In an age when most people trade wives with the season, it's great to read that this man didn't. He married Lee Phillip, a Chicago television star and together, they created an empire that we may never see again in our lifetime.

He was great with "his people" and a studio's dream. His scripts were edgy and came in like clockwork. Towards the end of his life, he took a stand, chancing that CBS would get rid of his shows at a time when Soaps were a drain on their finances, yet feeling that he and his people deserved more - money, autonomy, nothing that they didn't already deserve. The studio wouldn't touch Bill Bell and it was then that he was able to begin his negotiate from a very powerful position. When this book came, I promised myself I'd finish what I was reading before I read Bell's book, that I'd just take a peek ahead at the photos. I finally put it down about 2:30 a.m. and yes, I read it cover to cover.

Things are different now at Y&R and BB - with him gone and with two of his strongest cast members also out of the picture - Jeanne Cooper and Susan Flannery - but I'll bet that if you stop and listen back there in their offices, you'll hear him, pushing his people and encouraging them as well - all to bring out the best in them. What a wonderful legacy he left behind.