William J. Bell, 78, Emmy winning daytime dramatist who wrote for and/or developed a laundry-list of big name soaps, including top sudser CBS' The Young & The Restless (Y&R), died April 29 of complications from Alzheimer's, a CBS spokesman said Friday.
Bell began as a writer for Guiding Light, but would eventually add As the World Turns, Days of Our Lives (head writer), Another World (co-creator), and others to his resume before creating, with wife Lee Phillip Bell, The Young & the Restless for CBS in 1973 and later The Bold & the Beautiful.
Y&R ("Malcolm and Neil clash, as Dru fears the conflict will bring the secret of Lily's paternity to the surface") has dominated daytime for the past 16 years, in the process collecting six Emmys.
"Bill Bell is one of the true pioneers of daytime television, and his genius helped make CBS number one in this daypart for over 16 years," said CBS Chairman Leslie Moonves in a statement, "We are incredibly saddened by his passing, for the daytime community has lost a true legend and the CBS family has lost a friend."
Bell's survivors include Lauralee Bell, who first appeared on Y&R as a nine-year-old and became a cast regular (Christine "Cricket" Williams) in 1986.
Furneral arrangements were still being made at press time, but donations in lieu of flowers can be made to the Alzheimer's Association.
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Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.