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Heather Tom's Last Day At Y&R

With a call-time of 9:30 a.m., Tom wrapped up her day by 3:30 p.m. She had three scenes with on-screen dad Eric Braeden (Victor), followed by four scenes with on-screen brother Joshua Morrow (Nicholas). Tom's scenes with Braeden were full of emotion -- and not just in terms of script content. The tears you'll see on-screen were real, Tom noted to the crew, and even Braeden got misty-eyed. "She's a wonderful actress," he smiled. "I'm very fond of her, having seen her grow up before my very eyes." Indeed. After the actors finished their material, they shared a long, heartfelt embrace on-set.And just as those scenes reflected the actors' personal relationship, the mood lightened considerably when Morrow walked on-stage. Sharing their sibling camaraderie to the very end, Morrow and Tom continually cracked jokes, like when, on one scene break, Morrow joked, "Hey sis, wanna make out?" Tom countered by saying that Morrow had better get all his harassing in now!When the stage manager finally proclaimed, "And, clear...." the cast and crew erupted into applause. Michelle Stafford (Phyllis), who had come on-set to watch Tom's final taping, cheered her on.Then, a gigantic New York-themed cake was rolled onto the stage, as Y&R staffers -- crew, cast and executives -- gathered for the big send-off. "I told them I didn't want a cake, so they got me the biggest cake they could possibly find," Tom cracked, holding back the tears. "I'm really glad to have the opportunity to say this to all you guys. I am so grateful for all of you. You should all feel so proud of everything you do here every day because I am really proud to have worked with all of you, and I will miss you all so much. You all do such a great job and make such a wonderful product come to life. I've been really blessed to be a part of it, so let's have some cake."As the applause started up again and the cake was cut, well-wishers buzzed about: "We're going to miss her so much," said Executive Producer David Shaughnessy to B&B Executive Producer/Head Writer Bradley Bell, who came over from the B&B set to attend. "Heather, I have one thing to ask you," said Co-Executive Producer/Co-Head Writer Jack Smith. "Don't give away your Lakers season tickets." Tom quipped, "I don't know how I'm going to get behind those Knicks."Several Y&R stars also shared their thoughts: Lauren Woodland (Brittany), who celebrated her birthday the same day, had this to say about her departing co-star: "We didn't work together, but I knew her socially from the show. I have a lot of respect for her. She's smart. She's beautiful. She's confident. She's powerful. It's going to be a great loss. But, at the same time, I think it's great for Heather personally. She can do whatever she wants. She has a big future. Maybe she'll be the next Kelly Ripa [ex-Hayley, ALL MY CHILDREN]."Lyndsy Fonseca (Colleen) added, "We have the same publicist, Thom DeLorenzo, so we know each other outside of the show. She is so talented. They're going to have a hard time recasting her. She is one of the best actresses on this show. I watch her and think, €˜God, I want to be that good,' and that's the greatest gift anyone can give an actress."Shaughnessy elaborated, saying, "It's tough. We started together in the same month in 1991. She was a little 16-year-old, so wonderful and talented, and she has grown so much as an actress. We're going to miss her tremendously. But there are a lot of opportunities for her out there, so I wish her the best.""It's a sad day and a happy day," chimed in Smith. "It's a good opportunity for Heather, who's getting her chance to go to Broadway and explore other possibilities as well as television. We regret losing her, but I'm very philosophical about these things -- things happen the way they're supposed to happen, so this will be good."As the festivities wound down and production resumed, Digest escorted Tom on the final walk to her Y&R dressing room. Once inside, Tom plopped on the couch. "I made it," she declared. "It's so exciting, scary, overwhelming, everything. Things happened so fast. I think it will be great. I'm excited, but I do feel like I'm on a roller coaster. But, my motto is, let's just go with it."And go with it she has. Good luck in the Big Apple, Heather!

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