Kate Linder-Actress-The Young and the Restless-Episode #238

Mar 21, 2023 | 0 comments

Kate Linder was cast as Esther Valentine on The Young and the Restless 40 years ago, where she remains a key member of the top-rated daytime drama’s cast.

Kate’s feature film credits include: Hysteria, Erased, Miss Meadows, Garry Marshall’s Mother’s Day, Charlie Matthau’s The Book of Leah, and various others.

Kate enjoys the best of two worlds — on the air and in the air – because she never quit her pre-Young and the Restless weekend job as a United Airlines flight attendant, which she says keeps her grounded.

Born in Pasadena, California, Kate entered dance classes at 3. By the time she finished high school, she’d appeared in major singing and dancing roles in Promises, Promises, Threepenny Opera, L’il Abner, Jesus Christ Superstar, and many more.

Following graduation from San Francisco State University with a degree in Theater Arts, Kate worked part-time at the University, which is where she met her husband, Professor Dr. Ronald Linder, who subsequently joined the Public Health and Medicine faculty at UCLA. After settling in Los Angeles, Kate broke into TV with sitcom and drama guest-starring roles, including starring in Cotillion ’65 as a dance teacher with a dual life that won multiple film festival awards.

Kate became the celebrity spokesperson for the ALS Association following her brother-in-law’s diagnosis. She spends most holidays serving food at the L.A. Mission. And she was on many USO tours with the late Johnny Grant, spending Thanksgivings visiting troops in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Korea, Guantanamo Bay and Fort Hood.

Kate and Robin Wyss debuted Kate’s charity OpportuniTea in 1998 in Vancouver, featuring her Young and Restless castmates. Kate’s teas also benefit the March of Dimes Canada’s Conductive Education® program in Toronto and Calgary.

Kate was elected to two terms as the Television Academy’s Governor of Daytime Programming Peer Group and was elected to multiple terms as a SAG-AFTRA board member.

In April 2008, Kate received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.



Read the Podcast Transcript

Steve Cuden: On today’s StoryBeat.

Kate Linder: I’d played the same role for a lot of years. So that’s why I like to do different things. I will take roles in independent films or smaller things because I think it’s really good to play someone else because I know how Esther would think, but I don’t know how maybe this other character would think. Steve, I don’t take it for granted. I mean, I could go upstairs one day and never come down is how I feel. So I just keep it fresh and keep going to class and go to my voice lessons and my dance lessons and acting class.

Narrator: This is StoryBeat with Steve Cuden, a podcast for the creative mind. StoryBeat explores how masters of creativity develop and produce brilliant works that people everywhere love and admire. So join us as we discover how talented creators find success in the worlds of imagination and entertainment. Here now is your host, Steve Cuden.

Steve Cuden: Thanks for joining us on StoryBeat. We’re coming to you from the Steel City, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Well, we have a really special show today. My guest, Kate Linder, was cast as Esther Valentine on the Young and the Restless 40 years ago, where she remains a key member of the top-rated daytime drama’s cast. Kate’s feature film credits include Hysteria, Erased, Miss Meadows, Gary Marshall’s, Mother’s Day, Charlie Mathis’ the Book of Leah, and various others. Kate enjoys the best of two worlds on the air and in the air because she never quit her pre-Young and The Restless weekend job as a United Airlines flight attendant, which she says keeps her grounded. Born in Pasadena, California, Kate entered dance classes at three.

By the time she finished high school, she’d appeared in major singing and dancing roles in Promises, Promises, Threepenny Opera, Little Abner, Jesus Christ Superstar, and many more. Following graduation from San Francisco State University with a degree in theater arts, Kate worked part-time at the university, which is where she met her husband, professor Dr. Ronald Linder, who subsequently joined the Public Health and Medicine faculty at UCLA. After settling in Los Angeles, Kate broke into TV with sitcom and drama guest starring roles, including starring in Cotillion ’65 as a dance teacher with a dual life that won multiple film festival awards. Kate became the celebrity spokesperson for the ALS Association following her brother-in-law’s diagnosis.

She spends most holidays serving food at the LA Mission, and she was on many USO tours with the late Johnny Grant, spending Thanksgivings visiting troops in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Korea, Guantanamo Bay, and Fort Hood. Kate and Robin Wiss debuted Kate’s charity, Opportunity, in 1998 in Vancouver, featuring her Young and Restless castmates. Kate’s teas also benefits the March of Dimes, Canada’s conductive education program in Toronto and Calgary. Kate was elected to two terms as the television academy’s governor of daytime programming peer group and was elected to multiple terms as a SAG actor board member. In April 2008, Kate received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. So for all those reasons and many more, I’m deeply honored to have the one and only Kate Linder as my guest on StoryBeat today. Kate, welcome to the show.

Kate Linder: Thank you, Steve. Oh my goodness, it’s an honor to be here with you.

Steve Cuden: Thank you. Oh, the honor is all mine, believe me. Alright, so let’s go back in time a little bit. You’ve been at this game since you were a little girl, like a really little girl. So what attracted you to performing in the first place when you were just a tot?

Kate Linder: It’s interesting because that’s all I ever wanted to do. I mean, I didn’t want to be anything else that little girls want to be like. A teacher, a flight attendant, a mother, I mean a nurse. I didn’t want to be any of those things. I always told my parents I wanted to be an actress, and they went, oh, no. They were hoping I would grow out of it. I mean, they were so supportive, and they gave me all the lessons and piano lessons and dance lessons and everything, but they didn’t have a clue. Back then it was so different, and they didn’t have a clue. There wasn’t anyone in my family that was in the business.

Steve Cuden: Well, how even if you were in the business, you still wouldn’t really have a clue at that age, at the age of three.

Kate Linder: Well, no, but I mean, they didn’t have a clue how to help. They didn’t know how to help me either.

Steve Cuden: No connections. They didn’t know anybody in the business.

Kate Linder: Right. So they figured if I wanted it badly enough, I would figure it out myself.

Steve Cuden: So when you got that taste as a little girl, it was that it was in your blood and that was the end of it.

Kate Linder: Yeah, because I had the dance lessons, and I did recitals and shows and that kind of thing. That was it. Actually started doing plays in junior high school. It was interesting because this is really funny. I had this teacher in junior high that he would assign all these book report-like history-type things we would have to do. We have to do all these reports and there were a lot of them. I thought, well, this is boring to just stand up there and recite this. We came up with these skits and these little plays we put together to put those on.

Steve Cuden: This was when you were a teenager? This is high school?

Kate Linder: Junior high school, yes. Junior high. Actually, the first play I did was Antic Spring. I played the character Blossom. After that, that was it.

Steve Cuden: Sure. It was that way for me too when I was a kid. Once it got in my bloodstream, that was it. That was all I ever wanted to do. I’m wondering, from back in those days, were there any lessons that you learned all the way back then that you still follow today?

Kate Linder: Well, I think it came mainly from my parents. They always said, if you want something bad enough you just keep going. You work really hard, and you don’t give up. I think that was a lesson even back then. Because of course I would try out for things and not get them at times and that was upsetting to me. You just have to say, okay, well, didn’t get that one and maybe the next one.

Steve Cuden: So what did you know now that you wish you knew back then to calm you down from those anxieties?

Kate Linder: It’s interesting. I wish I knew back then that I would see my glass is half full rather than half empty and say that there will be something else that will come along. Because back then you think, well, oh, no, that’s it. That’s over for me. It’s never going to happen.

Steve Cuden: I think lots of people think that, and it’s always something around the corner, isn’t it?

Kate Linder: Absolutely. Just when you least expect it too. It’s when you’re not pushing so hard, I think is when it comes to you.

Steve Cuden: I find that very interesting. I’ve seen and read, I’ve talked to a number of people and I’ve read any number of stories in which just when people go into audition and don’t care, that’s when they get the part.

Kate Linder: Right. Yeah. It’s interesting.

Steve Cuden: It is interesting. Who did you most admire when you were growing up? Who did you look at and say, wow, look at that career. I’d like to have something like what they have.

Kate Linder: Well, Shirley MacLaine. I loved her. I don’t know if it was back then, but Meryl Streep, I’ve always loved her. She’s totally amazing. My parents took me to plays and went to theater and stuff when I was little and going to films. I think it was any actor on screen, whatever up there. I want to do that. I want to be that.

Steve Cuden: So you’ve worked a huge amount of your career in front of a camera, but you’ve also done going back then, you’ve done quite a bit of stage work as well. You’re not doing as much stage work these days, I assume, correct?

Kate Linder: Well, I do. I mean, I love doing plays as well. I did one well way before the pandemic, few years ago. So I will still. When one comes along, I definitely would take it if it was a good role. I don’t have time to really do like really small role in a play, but I still love doing theater because you know right then where the audience loves you or doesn’t. You know exactly where. In TV and film, you don’t really know. I mean, the only way I know is that thank goodness I’m still there, so I must be doing something right.

Steve Cuden: Exactly. Well, it’s the same with a show, like what we’re doing today. I mean, I have no idea what people are thinking when they’re listening to this show. They’re listening to it on a phone or on a computer, and I have no idea what they think. So it’s really hard to make those judgements. Do you miss the stage when you’re not on the stage? Do you prefer the theater to camera work? Or are they equivalent to you?

Kate Linder: Well, they’re very different. Film, it’s interesting. Well, first of all, TV, my show in particular, Young and the Restless, is very, very fast. You get one take and you better be on your game. You better know your lines. With film, we do 60 to 80 pages a day, and in film they’ll maybe do two or three pages a day.

Steve Cuden: Right. Big difference.

Kate Linder: It’s a huge difference. Then of course, in a play you’ve got all those lines. I’m carrying around that script with me all the time because I’m so used to having… It’s like studying or cramming for a test. You have to learn all this material and then I dump it to make room for the next day’s material. So doing a play, it’s like, oh my gosh, I’m so afraid I’m going to not remember my lines.

Steve Cuden: Do you have any particular techniques for how you memorize? Is it literally brute force? You just jam it all in? Or is there a technique you use?

Kate Linder: I just keep repeating it, going over and over. With a play, what I’ve started doing when you have a whole lot of dialogue is I will record it. Record the other person’s lines on my phone or something and leave room for me to say my part. Then I’ll listen to that in the car. I spend a lot of time in the car in LA. So I will then go over it in the car. Like learning a song, it’s the same kind of thing. I don’t want to forget the lyrics. Of course, some of it will go with the music. So I’ve had to perform a song and go, oh my gosh, I don’t want to forget the words.

Steve Cuden: But at this point you have memorized probably hundreds of thousands of lines of dialogue. So the question is, you are able to sort of purge it out and forget about it.

Kate Linder: Well, it’s interesting because this doesn’t usually happen. But let’s say they wanted to do a scene over again at the end of the day. I would have to go back and look at the script again, because I’ve already gone on to the next scene and then it’s sort of erased. Thankfully, that doesn’t usually happen.

Steve Cuden: It would be, I would think, a huge burden. I mean, I’ve heard of Marilu Henner having this perfect memory and she remembers everything. So she would remember everything. Well, to me, that would be burdensome, I would think.

Kate Linder: Well, that’s interesting. I did her show, Marilu Henner Show. I danced on her show years ago. She’s great. Wow. Well, I wish I had the perfect memory. That would be great. I don’t know.

Steve Cuden: But you have it. I find that interesting. I think the listeners will find that interesting too, that you sort of have a rolling, I memorize it, I have it in my head, and as soon as I’m done with it, out it goes, and I don’t know what it was.

Kate Linder: Yeah. Pretty much. That happens.

Steve Cuden: That’s got to be very useful in your particular career.

Kate Linder: Yeah, hopefully. Except it’s like your short-term memory. It’s like, where is it? You remember things from long ago.

Steve Cuden: Do you ever watch episodes that were already produced and then go I don’t remember saying those words?

Kate Linder: I do. That’s very interesting, Steve, because actually the 50th anniversary of our show is coming up. So there’s been stuff out there from way back when, and people have been posting stuff from way, and I’ll look at these scenes. First of all, I’ve been on there over 40 years and counting. So I’m looking at these scenes from 40 years ago, which is scary in itself. Then I go, wow, I didn’t remember that. I don’t remember saying those words. Yeah.

Steve Cuden: As I mentioned to you earlier, I’ve had Melody Thomas Scott on the show as well, and she’s also been on the show 40 plus years. I’m just curious, what is your secret for endurance? That’s a long haul to keep doing the same thing over and over again? What do you do? Is it exercise? Is it some sort of mental attitude that you take? How do you keep at it?

Kate Linder: Well, it’s really much like real life. You don’t know. When you wake up in the morning, you think you know what’s going to transpire that day, but you really don’t know. I mean, I knew this morning I was going to be speaking with you and I have other things that I know or think I’m going to be doing during the day. But you really don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s much like that with this, because I don’t know what I’m going to be doing till I get that script and look at and see what my character’s going to do. I go, wow. In fact, for instance, they just made my character now, she is the receptionist, Chancellor Winters, which is great. I was so excited when I read that.

I didn’t know that. I’m reading this script going, what? This is great. So for me, since I don’t know exactly what I’m going to be doing, like real life, it’s new and fresh for me. Plus, I love, love, love the show, and I’m honored to be part of it. It’s the number one show, and I’m thrilled to be there.

Steve Cuden: I can’t imagine that it would be any fun at all if you didn’t like going to work.

Kate Linder: Yeah. That would not be good. That would not be good. No. Well, for everyone. See, I feel that I’m really lucky because I don’t have to press the snooze alarm. I go, yay, I get to go to work today. I get to play. I get to be Esther today. Have fun.

Steve Cuden: So the writers, like you just said, will give you something new to do. But in all these years, are you seeking new things in Esther?

Kate Linder: Well, actually, going back to the very beginning. In the beginning, I didn’t have very many lines. So I thought I have to do something here to do something with this character, or I’m going to be gone. Because how many times can you say, Mr. So-And-So’s here to see you, or would you like some tea? How many times can you say that? I thought, well, I’ve got to do something. So I thought, if I do something and they don’t like it, I’m going to be gone. But if I don’t do anything, I’m going to be gone. So I’ve got to try. So I started making her man crazy. So every time whoever was at the door, whether it was the plumber or Victor Newman who was played by Eric Bradner. Whoever it was, I would just go gaga and not say anything because it wasn’t in the script.

But started doing that, and then started doing little… One day I asked for props for a wooden spoon with melted chocolate on it. They went, what? Okay. They got it for me. When in the script it said Esther goes to the door and answers the door. I went to the drawer, but I had this wooden spoon. I had chocolate all over. I was trying not to get it on me, trying not to get it on the door, that kind of thing. Then one other day I see in the script Esther goes and gets the mail. So I went out, got the mail, opened it up, held up an envelope. I look around, see if anyone’s watching, hold it up to the light to see if I could see in it. Don’t say anything and stick it in my pocket and walk back into the house.

Steve Cuden: That wasn’t in the script.

Kate Linder: They didn’t say anything. So I would do things like that, and I would always do it during blocking, which as you know which means they would block the scene for the camera so the cameras knew what we were going to do. So whatever I was going to do, I always did. I didn’t surprise them. So they would be going, okay, that’s it. So if they didn’t say anything and it was okay, then I would just keep going.

Steve Cuden: Nobody ever objected.

Kate Linder: They didn’t, except one day I was dusting, and I sneezed, and they didn’t say anything. So when we went to tape, I did the same thing and they said, cut. I go, what? Why? You guys did the same thing? They said, because we thought you really sneezed. So don’t sneeze. I said, okay.

Steve Cuden: Did they keep the sneeze?

Kate Linder: No, they didn’t want me to sneeze.

Steve Cuden: They didn’t want you to sneeze. So my assumption is, is that as you were adding these little bits and pieces of Esther that you thought were helpful, at least certainly to you, that writers must have picked up on that and then started to add things as well.

Kate Linder: Right. They started to add. Well, like in the beginning, I didn’t even have a name. Jeanne Cooper, who played my boss, Mrs. Chancellor all these years, who was incredible, incredible actress and amazing friend. One day, we were rehearsing our scenes like they were written. But then when we went to tape, she started calling me Esther. Fortunately I responded and go, what? She would tell other actors that were in the same other characters, yeah, call her Esther. So they started calling me Esther, and then the writers started writing it.

Steve Cuden: Well, how bizarre would it have been had she called you Esther, but then it turned out that your name was something else?

Kate Linder: Yeah. Well, I didn’t have a name, so you could’ve called me anything. It was kind of interesting because Esther was my grandmother’s name, so that was wild.

Steve Cuden: That was pure serendipity. That was not intentional.

Kate Linder: Absolutely.

Steve Cuden: How fun. So let’s talk about the process a little bit. When you receive your script, whatever script you’re getting for the day, how far in advance is it? Just the day before?

Kate Linder: We get our scripts about a week ahead of time.

Steve Cuden: A week ahead of time.

Kate Linder: They give you cuts and changes the night before. So I can’t really wait to learn it the night before, unless it’s not a whole lot, then I can wait. But I’ll have to start learning it. If I have a lot, then I have to start learning it before.

Steve Cuden: Do you find that once you’ve learned it, it’s relatively easy to make those changes?

Kate Linder: Yeah, pretty much. It is relatively easy because I’ll usually cut something out and go, wow, I just spent all that time learning it. But that’s okay.

Steve Cuden: Do you ever find that frustrating or do you just shine it on?

Kate Linder: No, it’s all part of the process.

Steve Cuden: Part of the process. Aside from reading the script for the first time, which is obviously what you need to do, what is the first thing that you work on? What do you look to do? Is it, do you just start to memorize, or do you start to think about how you’re going to play the scene?

Kate Linder: I like to read the entire script. A lot of people just read their own scenes, but I don’t. I like to read the script. I watch all the shows, and a lot of people don’t do that. I really want to know what’s going on in the show, even though I might not be in those scenes or not have anything to do with the character. Because when I’m out doing appearances and viewers will ask me something and if I don’t watch the show, I’m not going to know the answer. I like to do that.

Steve Cuden: So that’s the opposite of when famously, William Shatner would tell people to get a life. That’s not you. You have information available because you actually are a fan of the show at the same time.

Kate Linder: You are absolutely right. I just saw him last night. I was at this Legends of Aviation event. Yes, it’s definitely not like him.

Steve Cuden: I’ve had the good fortune to interview him live on stage.

Kate Linder: Oh, wow.

Steve Cuden: A very interesting man in person, that I can tell you for sure.

Kate Linder: I agree.

Steve Cuden: So have the writers ever thrown you a curve ball and you didn’t know how to handle it?

Kate Linder: There was one that I was really worried about was when they decided when my character gave birth in the middle of a storm on the stairs of the mansion. Since I’ve never done that in real life, I thought, oh my gosh, this is going to be something.

Steve Cuden: Well, how many people have given birth on the stairs in a mansion?

Kate Linder: Yeah. I don’t know. Too many

Steve Cuden: So how did you solve it? What did you do? What was your process to get there?

Kate Linder: I’m still in class and in acting class I sort of went to my coach and said, okay, what do I do about this? We worked it out in class.

Steve Cuden: You’ve just said something that truly fascinates me. You’ve been a performer for many years and you’re still taking classes.

Kate Linder: I am.

Steve Cuden: What is your purpose in that? What are you looking for?

Kate Linder: Because it’s a craft. It’s a business. I played the same role for a lot of years. So that’s why I like to do different things. I will take roles in independent films or smaller things because I think it’s really good to play someone else because I know how Esther would think, but I don’t know how maybe this other character would think. Steve, I don’t take it for granted. I mean, I could go upstairs one day and never come down is how I feel. So I just keep it fresh and keep going to class and go to my voice lessons and my dance lessons and acting class.

Steve Cuden: I think that that’s such a valuable lesson for the listeners out there who may think to themselves once they’ve learned it and crossed the bridge into some form of professional work that they don’t need to worry about continuing to learn. I think what you’re saying is a really great example for anybody who’s coming up in the business. That you always need to keep fresh and learn.

Kate Linder: Definitely. I definitely believe that. I know it’s true. I’ve watched a lot of people come and go, and I don’t want one of those people to be going. So I definitely believe that.

Steve Cuden: So soap operas notoriously, and Young and the Restless in particular, explore characters deeply and plot lines deeply over long periods of time. You don’t have to be specific in any particular story, although you’re welcome to be. What, for you, makes a good storyline good for you? What is more intriguing than something else? Is it something that is explosive and full of conflict, or is it something more personal and interior? What, for you makes a good storyline work

Kate Linder: For me, I just want to be part of it. Our show, we have incredible writers. When you think about what they do, here we are coming up on the 50th anniversary of our show. That’s half a century. These writers write every day. I mean, they have five shows a week and to keep it going and different and fresh. I’m in complete awe of them. So whatever they come up with for me to play, I can’t wait, and I look forward to doing it. So of course some are more than others. When I think back of all the things in the 50 years. I’ve been kidnapped twice, giving birth on the stairs, having my daughter and then there’s grandchildren and all the things, how Esther has grown and keeps going through all these years.

Steve Cuden: Young and the Restless storylines tend, unlike some other soap operas, to be a little closer to reality. They’re more realistic. They’re not as fantastical. But they still have to be filled with conflict, because that’s the basis of great storytelling, I think, is that conflict is there. So that’s what makes the drama sell. Do you ever have difficulty buying into a conflict-filled storyline that you’re involved in? Or is it just fun for you?

Kate Linder: No, I don’t because I don’t have trouble buying into it. If I did, I would say to them, well, I don’t know if Esther would think like that. I will say this, I can always tell when someone who’s writing, who doesn’t normally write the dialogue part for my character is writing. I’ll look and say, oh, this person doesn’t usually, because say, certain words that Esther wouldn’t say it that way.

Steve Cuden: Do you tell them?

Kate Linder: I will. Then I will go to them and say, can I say this word instead of that because I don’t believe that Esther would talk like that, or she wouldn’t say that word. She would use this particular word instead.

Steve Cuden: Well, no one would know better than you at this point.

Kate Linder: Right. I know how she thinks and how she feels and what word she would use. So that’s the only thing where I would say, other than that it’s my job. Like I said, they’re amazing what they do. It’s my job to bring their words to life. It is not my job to rewrite the script and rewrite my role. So I won’t ever do that.

Steve Cuden: But I’m correct to assume that you feel deeply personal about Esther Valentine and that you’re protecting her and to make sure that that character remains true to who she is.

Kate Linder: Oh, definitely. You’re definitely right about that. I feel very protective of her and the viewers because I know they’re going to go, what? Esther wouldn’t do that. Esther wouldn’t say that. So I am very protective. It’s just like the characters too, like Mrs. Chancellor and then the character of Jill, who’s played by Jess Walton, who’s amazing. I know that Jess feels that way too because there’ll be things like a scene between she and I. That character Jill is always nasty to Esther. If in the script, if she’s too nice, she’ll say, no. She would never be that nice to Esther. No, there’s no way. She has to say something else.

Steve Cuden: Are any of the writers still from back when you started, or any of them still on the show? Or is it all different writers now?

Kate Linder: No, actually some of the writers, I’m trying to think. Well, from when I started.

Steve Cuden: That’s 40 years on the show is a long time to be a writer.

Kate Linder: No, yeah. But there have been people that I’ve been associated with on the show for years and years and over 20 years and so forth are still—

Steve Cuden: They’re not likely to be the ones writing the dialogue that doesn’t fit. They’ll know.

Kate Linder: Exactly. But there are different writers. That’s true.

Steve Cuden: So any kind of set, whether it’s a motion picture set, a TV set, even a stage set, are notoriously distracting places. There’s a lot going on. There’s hubbub and there’s stuff that’s happening. Do you have any techniques for eliminating distractions so that you’re in the right mind frame as you’re doing a scene?

Kate Linder: Well, if that’s going on, the stage manager will, I mean, they’ll cut that out because you can’t have people talking and everything when—

Steve Cuden: Well, I guess what I’m saying, Kate, is that prior to a scene rolling, there’s a certain amount of activity going on. I assume you’re trying to get into the right head space in order to do the scene. Are you able to do that without the distractions bothering you?

Kate Linder: Well, I just have to go off to the side and tell myself. I don’t talk, I just concentrate and really concentrate on what is happening. In fact, there was this one scene where I thought my daughter had died in the show. I thought she was gone. Then there was this scene where she wasn’t dead. Of course I didn’t know that. Then she comes into the room, and I see her for the first time, that she’s alive. I had to really, really believe that. I had to really believe that she was gone. It had to be happening for the first time for me. I went off to the side and just tried to not, well, I didn’t want to look at her or I didn’t want to see her at all. Then I turn around and there she is. That was wonderful. It turned out to be really great.

Steve Cuden: So is that typical of the way that you prepare? Do you prepare by yourself and get into that mind space?

Kate Linder: Yeah. A lot of times we’ll be running lines and in that particular instance we didn’t. But yeah, usually I like running lines. A lot of people don’t. I love running with the other person so that when you get on set it has to be just part of you. Well, I can only speak for myself, but part of me. I don’t want to think about what the next word is. You don’t want to think about what you’re going to say next because then you’re in your head. It’s not coming from a place of—

Steve Cuden: You’re no longer in the moment at that point.

Kate Linder: In the moment. Absolutely. You’re not. I want to be in that moment.

Steve Cuden: That is everyone I’ve ever talked to, ever in the business of acting. It’s about being in the moment.

Kate Linder: You’re absolutely right. That is it.

Steve Cuden: I want to ask you about fame and celebrity. You have a certain amount of fame and celebrity. Goodness, you’ve got a star in the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and you’re known for being very gracious to the fans. Do you have any tricks for handling all of that attention when it comes your way?

Kate Linder: I’m just so honored to be part of it and to be there. So I give back as much as I can. I’m out just about every night on a carpet and giving back and doing a celebrity spokesperson for ALS Association, Golden West Chapter for ALS and do things for the LA Mission, that’s serving Thanksgiving and Christmas and Easter and all that and doing teas. I bring up Young and the Restless cast members to Canada. In fact, we’ve got one coming up in June in Toronto.

Steve Cuden: Tell us about the teas. What do you do? What happens during the teas?

Kate Linder: Well, for the last few years, because of the pandemic, we have had to be virtual, and we’re hopefully to be back in person now. I bring up several castmates and we have meet and greets and there’s questions from the audience, and we have auction items as it’s for their conductive ed program for March of Dimes, Canada. I’ve been doing the teas actually for well over 22 years in Vancouver, Victoria, and Vancouver. Then we also did Toronto and Calgary. It is just great because we’re able to have a lot of fun and raise money to help people. I’ve raised so much money through the years, and it makes me feel really good that I’m able to because of this. You talk about the celebrity because of that, I’m able to give back and to help.

It’s fine for me. I look around, if it wasn’t for all the people and people coming up to me, no matter what, if it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be there. I wouldn’t be talking to you right now. I wouldn’t be on set. I wouldn’t be able to do all the things I love doing. So they’re a huge part of it and I’m honored that they watch, that they love it, that they love Esther or that they want to talk to me or her, or whoever I happen to be that day. It makes me very, very happy.

Steve Cuden: Well, you are obviously very gracious and generous with your time. You have done a lot of charity work and put a lot of energy out into that. Is there any issue for you in terms of how you balance your professional life and doing all of those events?

Kate Linder: No. I mean, I’m happiest when I’m working. A lot of people would say I’m not balanced. I don’t know. That makes me happy. It makes me happy giving back. Maybe I’m not as balanced as a lot of people, I don’t know. But for me, it’s totally fine.

Steve Cuden: You apparently have endless energy to do it or you wouldn’t do it.

Kate Linder: Right. Yeah, this makes me happy. We think about things and things that have happened because I’ve been in the position to help someone. Well, this tells you how long ago it was. I received a letter. This woman said, could I send a picture to her sister who was her birthday, and she was ill. By the time I got the letter, I thought, well, I’m never going to get this in time. So I looked at, well, I called information. This is years and years ago.

Steve Cuden: Wow.

Kate Linder: Looking for this woman. I was able to get her number. I called her and said, this is Esther on Young and the Restless because I thought, she’s never going to know who Kate Linder is. I said, I know it’s your birthday. I just want to say happy birthday. She went, wow, I’m really sick. I said, I know. We talked and talked for a long time. Then unfortunately, she eventually passed away. But before that her sister contacted me and said, oh my God, after she talked to you, she got a lot better. The doctors were amazed. I was actually in contact with that family for years and years and watched how the kids grew up and went to school. It just made me so happy I could make this person feel good for a few minutes or whatever it was, and to help her. If I have the opportunity or I’m in the position to do that and not do it. I mean, I can’t imagine. So I was thrilled that that worked out.

Steve Cuden: Well. I think that makes you exceptional.

Kate Linder: Well, I don’t know. It’s just, I feel like you see going back to the very beginning when we were talking today how I started and when I was a little girl. Like I said, I had no one in this business. I mean, I knew no one. To be in a position to help and to give back, how can I not do that? That’s what it is for me.

Steve Cuden: I’ll say it again. I think you’re exceptional because I think there are a lot of people in the industry who are known, who don’t. So I think that that makes you exceptional.

Kate Linder: Well, I appreciate that.

Steve Cuden: I’m curious. One of the most fascinating things to me about your life is the fact that you stayed all those years as a United Airlines flight attendant even though you were on TV and well known. So how did that work when you get on a plane working as an attendant? People would recognize you I assume.

Kate Linder: Oh, I had great, amazing stories. It’s like doing a personal appearance on the airplane.

Steve Cuden: Did they think it’s a stunt?

Kate Linder: Well, no. Different stories, like this couple got on. I usually fly purser, who’s in charge. So I’m usually at the front and I like to see who’s getting on the airplane. Who’s getting on. So anyway, this couple got on and the woman said, Esther. The husband pulled me aside and he said, I’ll pay you 50 bucks if you say it’s not you. I went, what? He said, well, she saw you as we were getting on. She said, oh my God, that’s Esther on Young and the Restless. I told her, no way. What is Esther doing here as a flight? There’s no way. She said, it is. It is. He said, I’ll pay. He said, I bet her a hundred dollars. I said, great. You’re only paying me 50 so I’m telling.

Yeah, just great stories. A lot of times people won’t say anything till they’re getting off and they’ll go, I watched you on the show. I say, oh my gosh, why didn’t you say anything? But I’ve just had people’s comments. I love it. Because the show is all over the world, I had this group from Turkey on the airplane. This gentleman said to me, you’re my mother. I said, okay. I can’t remember a lot of things, but I think I would know that. I don’t think so. No, no. My mother does your voice in Turkey. I said, wow.

Steve Cuden: Wow.

Kate Linder: That was really great. So I’ve had interesting stories.

Steve Cuden: So you say it keeps you grounded even though you’re in the air. So I love that line. It keeps you grounded while you’re in the air. But how does it keep you grounded because you’re dealing with the public?

Kate Linder: Well, no, it keeps me grounded because like I said, one day I am playing Esther, I’m on set. The next day I’m talking to you. The day after that, I am serving coffee at 35,000 feet. You cannot forget who you are that way. Like I said, I’ve seen a lot of people come and go. I’ve seen a lot of people believe they’re unimpressed. So it’s really hard to do that when you are on the airplane like that.

Steve Cuden: Well, you’re working. You’re really a working person. I think a lot of people forget that people who are in the business of acting, actors, actresses, they forget that they are actually working. It sometimes looks so effortless and fun. But it is a job, and you actually go to work. But you work at three major kinds of things. You work at your job at the Young and the Restless, you work at United Airlines and you work at the various charities that you do. So that’s a lot of working.

Kate Linder: But I like that. I like working.

Steve Cuden: To you, it’s not work.

Kate Linder: Right. It’s not. Like I said, I’m excited to go to work. So it’s not work. The bad connotation of work. Oh no, I have to go to work today. That’s not how it is for me.

Steve Cuden: Well, I have been speaking to the just divine Kate Linder for almost an hour now on StoryBeat. I’m just curious. You’ve told us some fantastic stories, including this one about working on United Airlines. I’m wondering if you’re able to share with us any particular story that’s weird, quirky, offbeat, strange, or just plain funny beyond what you’ve already told us?

Kate Linder: Okay, this is kind of a weird story, and this happened on the airplane. There was some crazy thing where they found out… We hadn’t taken off yet, but they had found out that these people were transporting drugs or something on the plane.

Steve Cuden: Wow.

Kate Linder: This goes back. So anyway, they were going to take them off. We went back to the gate. They were taking them off the airplane. As they’re taking them off and I’m standing, we’re all going, what is going on? Because we weren’t really sure. I said, we’re going off the airplane. This woman turned to me, and she said, aren’t you Esther on Young and the Restless? That got me. The first time I didn’t even respond. I was like, yeah. I was so strained.

Steve Cuden: Was she in cuffs?

Kate Linder: No, they didn’t do that part. I guess they somehow were walking them off the airplane. She wasn’t in cuffs, but there were authorities taking them off the airplane.

Steve Cuden: That’s almost a scene out of a movie.

Kate Linder: I know. It was very, very, very strange. It was a while ago, that’s for sure.

Steve Cuden: I imagine that you’ve had all kinds of crazy things happen in your years on the air.

Kate Linder: Yes. On the air.

Steve Cuden: Well, I mean, I should say in the air.

Kate Linder: In the air. Yeah.

Steve Cuden: Well you’ve been both on the air and in the air.

Kate Linder: Yeah, exactly.

Steve Cuden: I’m sure your experience is especially being exposed like that to the public all the time. I’m sure that it’s got to be lots of fun for you. So last question for you today, Kate. You’ve already given us a ton of great advice as well. I’m just wondering, do you have a solid piece of advice or a tip that you like to give to people who are coming up in the business or maybe they’re in a little bit and trying to get to that next level?

Kate Linder: Well, Steve, for me, I call it working the program. I think you just have to work really hard, still study, which I do. It’s called Show Business for a reason. It’s a business. It’s a business of show and you have to treat it as such. For instance, receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame was just, I still can’t believe it. I mean, I have to go there periodically and make sure it’s still there because it’s such a huge honor for me. But when I started in this business, I didn’t say, okay, I’m going to get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. I didn’t look at it that way. I just looked at it as doing the best work I can and keep studying so that it can keep getting better and keep going. That’s why I call it working the program and not push too hard for those outside things. Because when you don’t, I think they come to you.

Steve Cuden: You call the program. I love that word. The program being the professional world.

Kate Linder: Right. Working the program for me is the profession.

Steve Cuden: How helpful was it for you to have been a little girl coming up through the ranks to understand what the program is? Do you think you understood it better because you had so much experience before you got to the “professional part” of it?

Kate Linder: Of course I understand it a lot more now and then I don’t understand it as well because you go, well wait a minute. I want to move into this level. For instance, I would love to do Broadway. I’ve always wanted to do Broadway. I’m not giving up on that. I just keep working really hard. Hopefully someday that happens or not.

Steve Cuden: All you Broadway producers out there, listen to this.

Kate Linder: Yeah, I would love that.

Steve Cuden: Do you want to do a musical or do you want to do straight play?

Kate Linder: Yes, definitely a musical.

Steve Cuden: Musical.

Kate Linder: But I wouldn’t turn down—

Steve Cuden: A Straight play or a comedy.

Kate Linder: Oh, definitely comedy. I love comedy. Esther basically started out as a comic relief because of the fact that I didn’t have any lines. Hardly any. So she became the comic relief because there’s no other way to do it.

Steve Cuden: Well, you made that happen.

Kate Linder: Yeah.

Steve Cuden: That’s very instructional for people who are listening to this show that you made that happen. That transition from sort of an ordinary plain, probably not too interesting character into someone of interest.

Kate Linder: Well, back then too, there wasn’t comedy. There was not comedy on soaps. My boss, Bill Bell, who was the creator and owner and the head writer, and an incredibly talented, amazing man, he didn’t really like comedy and he came to me one day and he said, I know what you’re doing and it’s okay, but don’t you go too far. He said, do not. Okay. He said, not too much.

Steve Cuden: Wouldn’t he have pulled you back if you’d gone too far?

Kate Linder: He wouldn’t have been on set to pull me back right then. It might have been by the time it was taped and might’ve been not able to do that. Jeanie, who played Mrs. Chancellor, we would always run our lines and she said, okay, don’t do too much. She knew too. She said, don’t do too much. Don’t, because you can’t make it unbelievable. I mean, she had to be believable, but Esther was kind of quirky.

Steve Cuden: You can’t be wacky on that show. Right?

Kate Linder: No.

Steve Cuden: It can be funny but not wacky.

Kate Linder: Right. A lot of things that people will say to me is when they meet me, you make me smile. That is great. If I can make someone smile, in this day and age too, how fabulous.

Steve Cuden: It’s incredibly fabulous. In talking to you for this hour, I truly believe in my heart of hearts, you would be fantastic in something that really was a little bit offbeat and oddball in terms of comedy. Really out there, comedy. I think you’d be great.

Kate Linder: Yeah, that’d be great. Steve, you need to write that.

Steve Cuden: Yeah. I’m going to have to give that some thought. Kate Linder, this has been just so much fun for me and such a terrific hour on StoryBeat. I cannot thank you enough for spending your time with me. It’s very gracious of you.

Kate Linder: Well, I so enjoyed it. I enjoyed speaking with you. I think you’re terrific. So thank you for having me.

Steve Cuden: So we’ve come to the end of today’s StoryBeat. If you like this episode, won’t you please take a moment to give us a comment, rating, or review on whatever app or platform you are listening to. Your support helps us bring more great StoryBeat episodes to you. StoryBeat is available on all major podcast apps and platforms, including Apple Podcasts, YouTube, Spotify, iHeartRadio, Stitcher, Tune In, and many others. Until next time, I’m Steve Cuden. May all your stories be unforgettable.


Executive Producer: Steve Cuden, Producer: Casey Georgi, Announcer: Javier Grajeda
Social Media: Mina Hoffman, Design & Marketing: Holly Reed, Reed Creative Group


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