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Actress and Advocate Kate Linder Of "The Young & the Restless"

Kate Linder - Photo: Ed McGowan

Kate Linder is completely fascinating -- both as an actress and a person. She was hired to play a "one-day, one-line role" on the popular daytime drama "The Young & The Restless."

The actress remained on recurring until 1985, when she was offered a contract. In the beginning, the character remained unnamed. Jeanne Cooper who portrayed Katherine, coined the name "Esther" when she began calling the character that "out of the blue". Linder said: "Then other people started calling me that and the writers picked up on it. That's how Esther was born." A national contest was held to give Esther a surname, the options picked by the public were: "Valentine" and "Diamond", with Kate picking Valentine.

It's hard to believe that Kate Linder was cast on the daytime soap opera The Young & The Restless nearly forty years ago. Kate remains a crucial member of the top-rated daytime drama today. Her character, Esther Valentine, is combination of loyalty and mischief, who Kate plays beautifully. Kate is also a working flight attendant for United Airlines. Linder has managed to do both jobs simultaneously for the 40 years she has been on the #1 rated soap opera (that's #1 for three decades). Kate enjoys the best of both worlds -- on air and in the air. Kate never quit her pre "Y & R" weekend job as a United Airlines flight attendant because it keeps her grounded. "Acting is my life and my creative satisfaction," says Linder.


Kate earned her degree in Theatre Arts from San Francisco State University. While she attended the University, she kept busy in school productions and Bay area stock and repertory theaters. Linder remained in San Francisco following graduation, and between stage roles, Kate worked part-time at the University, where she met her husband. She and her husband ended up settling in Los Angeles. Kate soon broke into TV with sitcom and drama guest-starring roles. Kate also has many feature film credits, including Hysteria, Erased, Miss Meadows, and Garry Marshall's Mother's Day. It is Esther Valentine where Kate Linder made her mark on the daytime drama The Young & The Restless. Everyone loves Esther Valentine and her mischievious ways.

Hollywood Walk of Fame

Kate Linder received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on April 10, 2008, where the then-LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Y&R co-creator Lee Phillip Bell, and her late castmate Jeanne Cooper spoke at her well-attended ceremony. Kate actually found out that she was getting a star when she was preparing to take off on a flight. The late Johnny Grant called to inform her that she would be receiving one. To celebrate her 40th year on The Young and The Restless, she currently has an exhibit commemorating the occasion at the Hollywood Museum.

Kate Linder receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame - Photo: Bob Freeman

Kate Linder and Antonio Villaraigosa - Photo: Orly Halevy


Kate is also incredible in the time and energy she gives her charity work. She is an eternal optimist. She is the celebrity spokesperson for the ALS Association following her brother-in-law's diagnosis and is mainly active in the ALS Association's Golden West Chapter. Kate has traveled around the country to participate in and encourage other volunteers at the ALS association's fundraising dinners for local chapters, especially California's Golden West Chapter. Linder is also active with many Aid's charities, Habitat for Humanity and the Los Angeles Mission. In addition, Linder has hosted three annual charity teas with a rotating group of her castmates, one for Canucks for Kids each July in Vancouver until 2020 and another two in Toronto and Calgary for the March of Dimes Canada's Conductive Education program for children and adults with near-motor disabilities. Kate is the Celebrity Ambassador for the latter program.

Kate Linder(Celebrity Spokesperson) and Molly for ALS

Kate Linder at a DC Event for ALS

Kate took a moment to speak with Gemma Magazine about her role as Esther Valentine, her passion for advocacy and giving back, and her inspiration for her craft. So let's get started.

Who inspired you to become an actress?

I have always wanted to become an actress. That's all I ever wanted to do. I did not want to be a nurse or a schoolteacher -- occupations that many little girls wanted to be at the time. My parents were not thrilled about the acting but remained supportive. However, it was up to me to figure out how to make it happen. I was cast in plays in junior high and high school. My parents were always there to support me. Even if they did not have the resources for me to become an actress or knew how to break into the business, they definitely knew how to support.

Kate Linder - Photo: Charles Bush

Amazingly, Esther is still a part of the cast. How does this make you feel?

First of all, I'm so honored and genuinely so grateful. I was literally hired for one day, and here I am forty years later. I love playing Esther and am thankful to be part of the cast still.

What do you feel Esther adds to the show?

In the beginning, she added a lot of comic relief to the show because she hardly had any lines. She also represents the "underdog" of the show, which makes her relatable. She was not wearing glamorous clothes similar to the rest of the cast because she's a housekeeper However, the audience likes relatability. They tend to gravitate towards that and that is something the audience is drawn to.

What motivates you to keep playing Esther Valentine

I’ve enjoyed playing the role of Esther since day one. It’s much like real life. You never know what’s going to end up happening when you wake up in the morning. I also don’t know what Esther is going to be doing until I read the script. I’m always excited to find that out.

You are still a flight attendant, correct?

I am! I do not plan to give that up because if I can do both jobs well, why not? A part of me is also superstitious. Having juggled both roles for so long, I want to keep that going. Most importantly, you must remember who you are. It keeps me grounded. Therefore, the two provide an outstanding balance.

Why do you think the Young & The Restless is as successful as it is?

When you tune in, you will see the characters you grew up with. Therefore the characters are familiar. Also, our writers are so talented, and we deal with character-centered storylines. We conquer real-life issues that these characters might be going through.

I know soap stars work very hard. How do you like the set of daytime drama compared to the film?

Soap stars work very hard with lots of lines to memorize. A film set moves at a much slower pace. We do 60-80 pages per day in daytime drama with one take. That doesn't happen in the film industry. You are allowed many takes. So, yes, I enjoy both, but they are entirely different mediums.

It is incredible how much you volunteer. Please expand upon that.

I highly enjoy it, and giving back means so much to me. I mean, "How can I not?"

I am the celebrity spokesperson for the ALS Association following my brother-in-law's diagnosis and am active in the ALS Association's Golden West Chapter. I also host a charity tea featuring many of my Y& R castmates. One takes place in Vancouver for various charities, and the other in Toronto and Calgary to benefit the March of Dimes Conductive Education Program. I tend to believe that everyone can give back and can you imagine the progress we would make, if everyone did a little something.

What do you have upcoming

I have a film upcoming called "The Little White Lies," that I'm super excited about. It stars Michael Shannon, Kate Hudson, and Don Johnson.

If someone asked you for advice on how to get into the industry, what would you advise? I would suggest to keep training and be in class. I still study to this day. It’s also a good way to network. Acting is just one part of the industry, but it's still a business and you have to remain prepared and professional at all times.

To keep up with Kate Linder, you can follow her on the following social media platforms:

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