Brad on THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS may look familiar to some soap fans who recognize his portrayer, Don Diamont, from his later work as Bill on THE BOLD & THE BEAUTIFUL. But the actor got his big break on Y&R playing Brad beginning in 1985. Aside from a brief temporary recast with Russell Todd in 1993, Diamont played Brad until the character’s tragic death in 2009.
Brad Carlton was introduced as the gardener for the Abbotts and he quickly caught the eye of Traci Abbott. John Abbott put Brad to work at Jabot Cosmetics where he proved he could do more than tend the grounds. He married Traci, but while she was off at graduate school, Brad began an affair with Lauren Fenmore. Concerned about his sister, Jack Abbott asked Paul to dig up dirt and prove Brad was a gold-digger. Although they discovered he had previously worked for the wealthy Mansfield family and married their young daughter, Lisa, Ashley Abbott pressured them into not ruining Traci’s happiness. Brad reluctantly agreed to try for a baby with Traci to keep her from leaving him for her professor but when Lisa Mansfield showed up in Genoa City her various schemes to steal Brad away eventually caused the expectant mother to miscarry.
Lisa kidnapped Brad and locked him in a cage, but when he became ill, she had to go to the drug store where she was spotted by Lauren, who soon found herself trapped alongside Brad. Jack rescued them from Lisa’s death trap, but in the meantime, Traci had filed for divorce. To try and win her back, Brad convinced Ashley to flirt with him to make her jealous, but once Traci changed her mind, Brad had already fallen for Ashley for real and divorce was inevitable. Brad proposed to Ashley but she would up marrying Victor so a furious Brad decided to go work for Cassandra Rawlins. He also agreed to go on a skiing trip to Aspen with the blonde but she drugged him and took him to Vegas where he woke up married to her!
Naturally, the marriage didn’t last very long, but before they could file divorce papers, Cassandra died after being hit by a truck and Brad inherited her sizable fortune. He also reconnected with Traci, and although he considered leaving her for Ashley, he changed his mind when Traci got pregnant and they were remarried. But even the birth of their daughter, Colleen Carlton, couldn’t keep them together, and Traci left him for Steve Connolly, moving to New York with the baby. Brad rekindled things with Lauren, then moved on to Nikki Newman. They even planned to marry, but when Victor was shot on their wedding day and the bride rushed to his side, Brad threw in the towel and left Genoa City.
Jack lured Brad back to town to join him in a hostile takeover of Newman Enterprises but that naturally failed. He had affairs with Diane and Nikki but remained infatuated with Ashley and even stepped in to claim he fathered her baby. When she gave birth on their wedding day they moved the ceremony to the hospital after welcoming a baby girl, Abby (who turned out to be Victor’s). Traci came home to try with Brad again but eventually left Colleen with him as she returned to New York. When Ashley feared she was dying of breast cancer, she pushed Brad to be with her best friend, Olivia Winters, but while he wasn’t interested, Liv definitely was. After learning the truth about Abby’s paternity, Olivia and her sister, Dru, forced Ashley to tell Brad the truth. Devastated, he sought comfort from Olivia and they made love. However, after Ashley found she was carrying Brad’s baby, he quickly returned to her.
Badly injured in a car accident, Ashley was rushed to the hospital where the baby, Robert Carlton, died. Brad blamed Victor and the animosity only increased when Abby’s paternity came out and Victor insisted on shared custody. Ashley divorced Brad, who grew closer to Sharon Newman while working with her at Newman. But when she decided to work on her marriage to Nick, Brad shifted his affections to Victoria Newman and they eventually tied the knot. It was then revealed that Brad was really George Kaplan, who had taken Brad Carlton’s identity after the real Brad had been killed while they were hiding from Nazis. This led to an adventure involving a reliquary and Brad confronting the man who had killed his mother.
Although expecting a baby with Victoria, Brad was still drawn to Sharon. Learning of the affair caused Victoria to miscarry and she filed for divorce. After some more corporate intrigue between Jabot and Newman, Brad pursued Sharon once more. He found her at the Abbott cabin to try and profess his love, but she rebuffed him, still stinging from her divorce from Jack. On the way home, Brad heard Noah Newman screaming having fallen through the ice while skating. Brad saved Noah’s life but then fell through the ice himself and drowned. Brad’s family and loved ones came together to mourn his death and his estate was split among them.
Brad did make one final appearance when Colleen later drowned herself and his spirit appeared to her as she passed, but since then he’s only lived on as a memory for those who knew and loved him.