Who did Marla Adams play in 'The Young and Restless'? Character discussed as Daytime Emmy winner dies aged 85

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Actress Marla Adams dies at the age of 85 (Image via Getty)

American actress Marla Adams, best remembered for playing Dina Abbott on the CBS daily soap, The Young and the Restless, died on Thursday, April 25, 2024, at the age of 85. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the news was announced by Matt Kane, the director of media and talent for the show.

Josh Griffith, executive producer and head writer of The Young and the Restless, shared in an official statement:

"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 (the show)."

Marla Adams played the role of Dina Abbott (later Dina Mergeron) on Y&R on and off since 1983. She was associated with the show for 37 years collectively. Her work on the show won her a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series in 2021.

"The most astonishing, amazing part I’ve had the privilege to play": Marla Adams about her role as Dina Abbott

Marla Adams was on The Young and the Restless from 1983-1986 but left when her three-year contract was up. She returned again in 1991, 1996, and 2008 for brief stints, and later from 2017-2020 at head writer-producer Sally Sussman's request. The actress appeared in a total of 235 episodes.

In a 2020 interview with Michael Fairman TV, she recalled -

"I remember when Sally Sussman told me a few years ago, 'I’m going to bring you back on The Young and the Restless, but you’ve got Alzheimer’s,' and I said, ‘What!? You’re bringing me back so you can kill me off?’ and she said, 'Oh no, it’ll be about a year.' That dissolved into four years, and now five decades had passed and I was still on Y&R. I am beyond grateful."

Her character, Dina Abbott, was once married to John Abbott, her high school sweetheart. She is the mother to Eric, Jack, Ashley, and Traci Abbott. Prior to the events of the show, she left John because she felt there was more to life than marriage and kids.

Dina came to the fictional Y&R city of Genoa as the widow of a wealthy cosmetics baron named Marcel Mergeron to buy Jabot Cosmetics (founded by John). During the course of her stay, it was revealed that she cheated on John, and Ashley's real father is Genoa City Country Club tennis pro Brent Davis.

At the end of the arc, Marla Adams' character was gradually faded out of the story to return to Paris (where she runs Mergeron Cosmetics) following her jealousy over John's friendship with Joanna Manning.

She returned to The Young and the Restless in 1991, when her daughter Traci remarries Brad Carlton, briefly rekindling her romance with John. She returned again in 1996 at her friend Katherine's request, and later in 2008 for Katherine's funeral.


In 2017, Marla Adams reprised her role as Dina, appearing recurringly. She had developed Alzheimer’s disease and was the main plotline for the Abbott family. Eventually, Dina died, surrounded by her family. Talking about her final appearance on the show, she told CBS Miami in 2020:

"From all the characters I’ve played, from The Secret Storm to Broadway, this has been the most astonishing, amazing part I’ve had the privilege to play."

Her role as Dina earned her a Daytime Emmy nomination in 2018 and a win in 2021. In her interview with Michael Fairman TV, Marla revealed that she loved the "kindness and respect that she really did have for her whole family."

Marla Adams is survived by her children, Pam Oates and Gunnar Garat, her grandchildren, and her great-grandson.

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