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James Hyde On His Y&R Exit

Jeremy Stark met his maker at the hands of his new bride, Phyllis, which means his portrayer, James Hyde, has finished his run on the show. “In the very beginning, I was guaranteed just one show,” the actor recalls of his October 2022 debut. “I was told they had no idea what would happen after that. Since it was a brand-new character, I said I would take the job. Any time I can play a new character, I’m all over it. At first, I came in just to shoot some flashback scenes with Susan [Walters], when Diane was living in L.A. After that, they brought me back for some more shows. I guess [Executive Producer/Head Writer] Josh Griffith saw something that he liked and continued to write for me. My goal was to do something to make this character memorable, scary but also very mysterious, so people didn’t know what he’s capable of and what he’ll do next.”

In fact, Hyde did such a good job making Jeremy menacing and smarmy that a relative became concerned. “My cousin called me and asked, ‘What did they do to your eyebrows?’ ” he chuckles. “I told her nothing, that it was just me having a reason to furrow my eyebrows because I finally had material where I could add a little physicality.”

As Jeremy’s future became more fluid, “I knew that he was gonna dig in and stick around Genoa City for a while,” Hyde shares. “Working with just Susan and then Peter [Bergman, Jack] was amazing. And when they introduced Michelle [Stafford, Phyllis] into the mix, Jeremy’s story was gaining momentum.”

As the cad’s orbit expanded, Hyde found himself interacting with even more co-stars. “There was Michael [Mealor, Kyle] and Allison [Lanier, Summer], who are lovely, and I even had one scene with Eric [Braeden, Victor], which was great,” he details. “I had a chance to work with Melody [Thomas Scott, Nikki] and also with Josh [Morrow, Nick], which was really special. You see, I knew Josh back in the day when I was on PASSIONS [as Sam] and we played on the same basketball team.”

The more Jeremy was woven into the fabric of Genoa City, the more Hyde became attached to his new dynamic. “I was getting to know everybody and it really felt like I was part of the family,” he relays. “From the actors to the production to the people in the office, everybody has been so professional, generous and kind. It became very bittersweet knowing that I wouldn’t be coming in anymore.”

As Jeremy’s finale approached, the actor found he had to manage his feelings about it. “I was just kind of bummed that this was coming to an end and it hit me hard,” he admits. “So I came in one day feeling off-kilter and I had scenes with Michelle. We got together to run lines and we ended up really talking. She was so sweet and helped me to get back on track again. From that day forward, I understood and accepted what was happening and everything was fine. By the time I got that last script, I was really excited because the Jeremy/Phyllis scenes were going to be electric.”

So were the scenes after the gala when Jeremy dropped the bombshell that Phyllis was his wife. “I had an opportunity to be around pretty much all of the cast at that time,” Hyde recalls. “It was amazing to just say hello to people I never met and get to know them. Jeremy had a lot to say.”

Hyde then got to work one-on-one with Stafford as Phyllis and Jeremy played the fallout of her faux demise in their hideout. “It was almost like two psychos in the same room,” observes Hyde. “It went from a threat, to lying, to almost a sexual encounter, to absolute craziness when Phyllis tried to run for the door and Jeremy stopped her. That was his biggest mistake because when you get between a mother and her children, she becomes practically superhuman. It was a real psychological and robust show to the very end. It was a total enjoyment to shoot and now it’s RIP, Jeremy Stark.”

Hyde calls working with Stafford, Bergman and Walters “an absolute delight. As an actress, Michelle forces you to get into the moment. She’s amazing. And I love Peter. He’s an icon in the soap world, and he was very gracious and welcoming to me from day one. And whenever I was on set with Susan, I would just have to glance at her and we’d have this inner dialogue going on. My entire experience with Y&R will be wonderfully unforgettable.”