Mary Williams on THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS was a recurring character who appeared over many years, but infrequently, so it’s understandable if even longtime fans of the soap aren’t completely familiar with all the drama in her life. The character first appeared in 1980 and was played by the late Carolyn Conwell. The actress passed away in 2012, and Y&R mentioned her character’s death in 2014.
Mary was the wife of Genoa City police officer Carl Williams, and they had three sons, Todd, Steven, and Paul Williams, and one daughter, Patty Williams. Although the matriarch could appear overbearing, Mary was the glue that held the Williams family together. When Patty fell in love with Jack Abbott, Mary disapproved and it created a rift between mother and daughter. Mary also didn’t approve of Paul’s love interests, especially when he got April Stevens pregnant and wanted nothing to do with the baby.
After Paul joined the New World Commune with Nikki Newman, Mary was at the end of her rope. Thankfully, this is when Carl got his son involved in law enforcement which proved a positive influence on Paul’s life going forward. Still, Mary continued to disapprove of every woman that Paul tried to date, even his future wife, Christine Blair. When Carl went missing and was presumed dead, Paul used his newfound skills as a private detective to try and locate his father, but to no avail. Years later, Mary accepted her husband was gone forever and fell in love with Charlie Ottwell. He proposed marriage, but of course, that’s when Carl turned up alive!
Christine found Carl living in another town with amnesia and brought “Jim” back to Genoa City. Mary was stunned to see her husband again and broke off her engagement with Carlie, but Carl never regained his memory and left town again, forcing Mary to mourn him all over again. Mary ran into some legal trouble of her own when she was arrested for breaking into Michael Baldwin‘s office with Lynne Bassett.
When Paul and Christine divorced, Mary became determined to break up his new relationship with Isabella Braña, who she did not like at all, even though she’d given her a grandson, Ricky. She enlisted Christine’s help in breaking up Paul’s marriage, but they couldn’t convince him to leave Isabella… at least not until his dangerous wife showed her true colors! In 2004, Mary left Genoa City, but she returned in 2009 with Todd (although never seen on-camera) for Paul’s marriage to Nikki. When the wedding was called off, Mary returned to Washington D.C. and wasn’t mentioned again until 2014 when Paul mentioned his mother had passed away.