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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

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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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 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #376,711 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.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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 Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x98659ef4) out of 5 stars 31 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x987441f8) out of 5 stars "The Life of Daytime's Most Prolific Writer" June 1 2012
By Terrance Richard - Published on Amazon.com
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
HASH(0x98487174) out of 5 stars More like a love letter than a biography..... July 11 2012
By Eleanor Rigby - Published on Amazon.com
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
HASH(0x98475a98) out of 5 stars Loved it!! July 21 2012
By BrodyIan - Published on Amazon.com
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.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x983f369c) out of 5 stars A Heartfelt and Engaging Tribute To A Soap Opera Legend--Bill Bell Dec 25 2015
By Buck Winthrop - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Lee Phillip Bell, the wife of The Young & The Restless creator writes in the preface.."I wanted this book to be written so that our grandchildren will know the contributions their grandfather and their parents made to television and daytime drama." And, so begins this captivating story of the life of Bill Bell--arguably Daytime television's most iconic producer and writer. As a die hard fan of CBS Y&R for more years than I can even remember I was immediately drawn into the genesis of this great real life drama. Lee Philip was a huge star in Chicago when the pair met and wed. Bill worked his way up in advertising and then found himself the willing pupil of the grandmother of soaps--Irna Phillips. He worked long and hard and showed an early skill for the medium making his mark of the mighty (At That Time) Days of Our Lives and, ultimately on what would become the most successful Daytime Soap Opera of all time--The Young & The Restless. (which, as of this date has been #1 in the ratings for 27 years)

Michael Maloney is an excellent writer and the perfect person to tell his tale. He paints the picture with careful, respectful strokes much in the way the Bell's have lived their lives, "with that midwest loveliness and elegance" Readers who are looking for a more dishy, Kitty Kelly-esque expose will be disappointed here. These pages are a glowing tribute with dozens and dozens of quotes from those who knew him best.

The final quarter of the book, (I wanted it to go on forever) wrap things up perhaps a bit too quick, with many summary paragraphs spanning long periods of time, leading to the heartbreaking final years of Bill Bell and his sad passing with his loving wife by his side to the very end.

"The Young & Restless Life of Bill Bell" is a must read for long-time Y&R fans and every budding writer to learn not only how The Master of The Game ruled television, but, even more importantly--especially in Hollywood--How to do so with grace, elegance and compassion for people.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x98645258) out of 5 stars A Modern Day William Shakespeare! The Master Story Teller of Our Time! June 4 2012
By Sylviastel - Published on Amazon.com
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.