Marla Adams, ‘The Young and the Restless’ Emmy Winner, Dies at 85

The actress memorably played Dina Abbott Mergeron on the soap opera

Marla Adams attends a CBS Daytime Emmy after party in 2017
Marla Adams attends a CBS Daytime Emmy after party in 2017 (Credit: Earl Gibson III/WireImage)

Marla Adams, the longtime actress and Emmy winner known for playing matriarch Dina Abbott Mergeron on “The Young and the Restless,” has died. She was 85.

Matt Kane, director of media and talent for “Y&R,” confirmed the news Friday, announcing that the actress died Thursday in Los Angeles. A cause of death was not disclosed.

Adams joined the cast of the CBS soap in 1982 as Dina, who returned to Genoa City to reunite with her estranged family, including ex-husband John Abbott (Jerry Douglas), daughter Ashley Abbott (Eileen Davidson), Traci Abbott (Beth Maitland) and Jack Abbott (Peter Bergman).

“On behalf of the entire company of ‘The Young and the Restless,’ we send our deepest sympathies to Marla’s family. We’re so grateful and in awe of Marla’s incredible performance as Dina Mergeron as both Marla and Dina made an unforgettable mark on ‘Y&R,’” Josh Griffith, executive producer and head writer on the long-running soap, said in a statement.

Adams appeared on and off in the role though the years, returning full time in 2017, when it was revealed that the character was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. In 2021, she won a Daytime Emmy Award for her performance in this storyline, having been previously nominated in 2018.

Prior to “The Young and the Restless,” she played Belle Clemens on the CBS daytime drama “The Secret Storm” from 1968-74. Adams also appeared on other soaps including “The Bold and the Beautiful,” “Days of Our Lives,” “Generations” and “Capitol.”

She also guest starred in more than 40 TV series, including “The Golden Girls,” “Hart to Hart,” “The Love Boat” and “Nash Bridges.””

Adams made her big-screen debut in Elia Kazan’s 1961 feature “Splendor in the Grass.” Her final film was 2019’s “Beneath the Leaves” with Paul Sorvino.

Adams was born in Ocean City, N.J., on Aug. 28, 1938, where she became a pageant star before taking up acting. She won the Miss Ocean City and Miss Cape May titles and finished as a runner-up in the Miss New Jersey pageant.

As a student at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Adams appeared on Broadway in the 1958 production of “The Visit” at the Morosco Theatre with theater luminaries Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne.

Adams is survived by her daughter, Pam Oates, son, Gunnar Garat, grandchildren, Gefjon and Stone, and her great grandson, Remi.

The Hollywood Reporter first broke the news.


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