When THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS planned a tribute to honor the character of Neil Winters and actor Kristoff St. John’s legacy with the soap, Shemar Moore made sure that he would be a part of it. “CBS is doing such a beautiful thing by the audience, because Kristoff has been there for 33-plus years. He’s an icon,” he told Soaps In Depth. “So I hope the fans can appreciate this tribute. It was not even a question, I told the show that I am on now, SWAT, I said, ‘Nothing is more important to me right now than being a part of this tribute. Whatever they ask me to do, big or small…’ And SWAT and CBS understood the importance of it and let me out.”
Moore also confided that it was St. John himself who stepped up and urged the show’s casting agent and producers to hire that nervous young actor who’d auditioned opposite him that fateful day. “That’s why I will always say I have a life, but I don’t have this life and I don’t have this career, because if Kristoff didn’t pick me, I would never have a chance at it,” he admitted. “And if he didn’t embrace me, I would never have grown and got the confidence to explore and become what I’ve become.”
When the Y&R alum returned to the set and read his script pages, the emotional scenes touched his heart deeply. “I told the headwriter when I got to CBS, I don’t know who wrote [Malcolm’s eulogy], but whoever wrote this must have been hiding in my house, in my closet, and listened to the way I talk, the way I think, and how I felt about Kristoff, because every page felt and read like something I would say,” Moore revealed. “The words were so close to home, and what’s interesting to stand up on set with cameras aimed at you, with makeup on, with the crew there, and the cast sitting there… It wasn’t acting, it wasn’t performing. I just hope that people will see me, and hear the words coming out of my mouth and the emotion coming out of my body and know the only thin gI had to remember when I was saying the eulogy was to call him Neil and not Kristoff, because to me I didn’t really feel like I was talking to Neil. I felt I was talking directly to Kristoff. I hope people will feel that.
“I’m so grateful and so humbled to be a part of it,” Moore added of his role in the special episodes. “I’m so proud of the cast of Y&R, because everybody on that day was there to show love and honor to Kristoff St. John. And I hope everybody appreciates the tribute, and I hope months and years later, the people who really know him do not let this man ever be forgotten.”
For more on Y&R’s special tribute to St. John’s legacy, be sure to pick up the new CBS issue of Soaps In Depth magazine, going on sale Monday, April 29.