William J Bell (William Joseph Bell)

William J Bell

William J Bell

American screenwriter and television producer, best known as the creator of the soap operas Another World, The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful.

In 1972, CBS executives wanted a new daytime serial that was youth oriented. William along with his wife Lee Phillip Bell created The Young and the Restless for the network under the working title, The Innocent Years. However before the show went into production, he had to rename the series as Bell mentioned…“We were confronted with the very disturbing reality that young America had lost much of its innocence,”. “Innocence as we had known and lived it all our lives had, in so many respects, ceased to exist.” They renamed the series to The Young and the Restless because they felt it “reflected the youth and mood of the early seventies.” He spent between ten to sixteen hours a day writing stories.

The Young and the Restless debuted on March 26, 1973. Although slow to rise in the ratings (he got very frustrated and asked head of CBS Daytime Bud Grant to cancel the serial), CBS had faith in the show and gave it a chance. Y&R was credited for breathing new life into the daytime serial, with its brightness, humor and cutting-edge storylines.[citation needed] As he did on Days of our Lives, Bell saw to sexuality also playing a major role in the stories. Bell guided Y&R as head writer from 1973 until stepping down in 1998, the longest tenure of any head writer in soap opera history. Y&R has been the highest-rated soap on the air since 1988 in households, and 1989 among viewers.

Bell was married to former talk show host Lee Phillip Bell, who co-created The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful with him. Their three children, Bill Jr., Bradley, and Lauralee, and daughter-in-law Maria Arena Bell are all involved in their parents’ soaps in some capacity.

Brenda Dickson, an original cast member of The Young and The Restless, claims that Bell blacklisted her after 15 years on the show after they partook in a secret love affair. He then went on to wreak havoc on her personal and professional life by hiring “Mafia cartel judges and attorneys” to “ruin” her life. As a result, she ended up “broke and homeless” and has been blocked from working ever since.

On April 29, 2005, Bell died from complications of Alzheimer’s disease. He is buried at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles.

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  • March, 06, 1927
  • Chicago, Illinois


  • April, 29, 2005
  • Los Angeles, California

Cause of Death

  • Alzheimer's disease


  • Westwood Memorial Park
  • Los Angeles, California

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