Bryton James as Devon Hamilton
|The Young and the Restless character|
|Portrayed by||Bryton James|
|First appearance||June 1, 2004|
|Created by||John F. Smith
|Introduced by||William J. Bell
John F. Smith
|Residence||342 South Oak Street
Genoa City, Wisconsin
The character was introduced in 2004, under executive producer and show creator, William J. Bell, and co-executive producers, David Shaughnessy and John F. Smith. Created by then head writers, Smith, Kay Alden and Trent Jones, Devon was introduced as a troubled teenager, from a broken home. Devon is taken in as the foster child of Neil and Drucilla Winters who eventually adopt him. Devon is no stranger to struggles. Growing up without a stable family unit leads to him becoming a bit over protective of his adoptive family. In his late teen years, Devon is stricken with meningitis and nearly dies. Though he survives, Devon is left completely deaf. From 2007 to 2013, Devon has an enduring romance with Roxanne. The relationship even withstands his affair with Tyra Hamilton. Though he works in the business world, Devon's first love will always be music. His love for music eventually leads to him discovering his true heritage when he is revealed to be the biological son of billionaire Tucker McCall, and the grandson of longtime family friend, and Genoa City's matriarch, the late Katherine Chancellor.
- 1 Casting
- 2 Development
- 3 Storylines
- 4 Reception
- 5 References
- 6 External links
In April 2004, Bryton was cast in the role of Devon and made his first appearance on June 1, 2004. Just before completing high school, James took up acting once again and one of his first auditions was for The Young and the Restless. After almost five years with the series, rumors spread in the spring of 2009 that James had been dropped to recurring status due to his lack of story. Nelson Branco commented on the rumors and said Bryton had indeed been taken off contract. However, Bryton immediately denied the rumors. In September 2009, James once again confirmed on Twitter that he was still under contract with the show. With the arrival of new executive producer, Jill Farren Phelps, rumors began circulating that the role of Devon was to be recast. The show's casting call for a brand new character very similar to Devon fed into fan speculation. However, Phelps later confirmed that Bryton was secure and the casting call was indeed for a new character. In 2013, onscreen events hinted at Bryton's potential exit once again. James revealed that he signed a new contract with the show in July 2013 during an interview at the 40th Daytime Emmy Awards. James told Soaps In Depth that he would have been worried just like fans had he not already signed a new contract with the series. Bryton revealed that even when he was not getting much story development, he never considered leaving the series because he felt a sense of loyalty to the series.
From 2006 to 2007, James who had been asking for the writers to challenge him with a great storyline got the chance to show off his acting chops when his character contracts meningitis and the disease nearly kills him. When Devon starts college, he refuses the recommended immunization shots for the infection. However, the most significant part of the storyline is Devon losing his hearing. Devon who already has to make his own way in the world due to his chaotic childhood, is forced to re-learn to communicate with his family and friends while starting college.
After learning from doctors that surgery is his only option, Devon gets the Cochlear Implant surgery on November 26, 2006. At the time of Devon's meningitis scare, Neil and Dru are on the verge of divorce and it is his illness that brings the Winters family back together. Devon's illness helps them to realize that there a lot more important things to deal with then their "trivial problems." James did a lot of online research to prepare for the storyline about the different levels of severity in meningitis cases, to how much hearing one could lose, to how much of their hearing a person could get back. James also reached out to some of his own real life friends who are deaf to get a feel for what Devon would feel. James compared it to Devon's foster care storyline: "[Y]ou can't completely understand unless you have been through it. Losing any of your senses is difficult. You can act it all you want but to do the best job, it is something you need to explore with someone who really has been through it." James admitted that he was worried about the storyline not knowing if he could completely grasp the situation because he had not experienced it. James had to "wing it." However, Devon is not completely hopeless; he believes anything is possible because of he's already survived so much. Devon does not just accept that he will always be deaf. However, James said it was difficult to ignore his co-stars in scenes as if he could not hear them. Bryton and his co-stars immediately had to learn sign language from an onset coach. Fortunately, Devon can still speak, so James does not have to use sign language that often. The Young and the Restless worked in conjunction with Advanced Bionics for the storyline.
James' most controversial storyline to date involved Devon's affair with his "aunt" Tyra (Eva Marcille). In May 2009 the writers introduced Devon's great-aunt, Virginia (Della Reese) who reveals that Tyra isn't his biological aunt, but was taken in by his grandmother as an infant. In June 2009, Daytime Confidential published a spoiler article which revealed that Devon would begin to develop romantic feelings for Tyra and Devon even fantasizes about kissing her. At the time, Devon is upset with Tyra for breaking up Neil's marriage to Karen Taylor (Nia Peeples). During an argument on August 12, 2009, an angry Devon brings Tyra to tears and when he comforts her, they end up sleeping together; the two are caught by Devon's girlfriend, Roxanne (Tatyana Ali). Devon can be a bit judgmental, and some view him a hypocrite because he comes down so hard on Harmony (Yolanda) for sleeping with Tucker, and destroying his marriage. Bryton defends Devon by reminding fans that Devon was only 19 years old when he slept with Tyra, and Devon that is the only big mistake Devon had made in his romantic life. Devon has grown up a bit since his tryst with Tyra.
When James first appeared in the role, all that is known of past is that his mother is a drug addict and he is left to fend for himself; Devon's father is unidentified. Devon is initially led to believe his biological father is actually deceased. Devon admits to his adopted sister Lily (Christel Khalil), that he'd only seen his father once hanging out in front of a local convenience store. The story of Devon's paternity was revisited quite a few times since the character's debut. While in Genoa City, Virginia gives Devon a letter written by his mother, to his father, and Virginia believes the letter was never mailed. Devon realizes that his father was not the man he thought he was, and that his father never knew about him which renews his hope in eventually finding this man. Before the storyline was written, James had already considered Michael Baldwin (Christian LeBlanc) as Devon's biological father.
Months before the storyline began to play ou onscreen, speculation started when it was revealed that Tucker (Stephen Nichols) had a long lost son, whom he had been searching for. With the casting of Debbi Morgan, Yahoo! TV proposed several storylines for her character including being the mother of Tucker's child, "or" Devon's own mother. It is eventually confirmed that both potential characters are one in the same when Morgan is revealed to be a recast of Devon's biological mother, Yolanda, originally played by Chene Lawson. In May 2011, Daytime Confidential confirmed that the character of Devon would be involved in two major storylines, "Devon: Look for two major stories involving Dru and Neil's adopted son. We hear he's going to fall for a damsel who lives in distress, around the same time he learns his surprise bio father is her mortal enemy..." The first part of the spoiler may have referred to Devon's new found step-sister, Abby Newman (Marcy Rylan), but that part of the story was dropped due to Rylan's maternity leave. Though the characters were never paired romantically, Devon and Abby form a friendship and bond as stepsiblings. When Tucker is in a coma, his mother, Katherine (Jeanne Cooper) picks up the search for his son. At the same time, Tucker fires Devon from his record label and Katherine launches her own label for Devon to run. In the meantime, Katherine learns that Devon is Tucker's son and after a fight with Tucker, thinking he would be better off without Tucker in his life, Katherine keeps the secret. Katherine also starts her own record label, and puts her grandson in charge after Tucker fires Devon from his label. When Katherine is hospitalized after a stroke, Tucker overhears a conversation between Jill and Katherine's attorney, Mitchell Sherman. Though Jill denies it, Tucker realizes that Devon is his son after remembering that they share the same blood type, AB negative. Devon rejects both Katherine and Tucker and decides to keep the news to himself, until it is leaked in the press. Though Devon wants nothing to do with his new bio relatives, advice from his younger sister, Ana Hamilton (Jamia Simone Nash) convinces him to give his new family a chance. James found out about the plans for the storyline just as was about to marry his wife Ashley. James requested time off and the producers were forced to tell him about the storyline ahead of time. James admitted that he hoped Devon's father would be an already established character, but he made the exception for Tucker because it made Devon Katherine's grandson. According to an interview with Soap Opera Digest, James had spoken with then executive producer Maria Arena Bell about Devon's paternity but he was very surprised when the story led to Devon being related to Katherine. James also said that the revelation has a profound affect on Devon's relationship with Neil. Despite Devon connecting with his biological father, James said that Devon "always will be" Neil's son. According to James, it is Devon's connection to Neil that keeps Devon on the right track even when suddenly comes into such wealth. While most people would allow money to change them, "Nothing can make [Devon] turn against Neil."
As a unit, the Winters family are given several storylines, but none of which allowed the family to intermingle with the non African American characters within the series. Devon being the grandson of one of the show's most iconic characters, Katherine, did just that and removed the family from the proverbial, "Black Box" in which the characters only interact with other African American characters. As Tucker's son, Devon is the first biracial character in the history of the series, much like his adoptive secon cousin, Marcus Forrester (Texas Battle) on The Bold and the Beautiful. The storyline also mirrored James's own ethnicity.
Devon spends the next several months trying to reconnect with his biological family while trying pursuing a career in music. Despite the implant giving the aspiring musician renewed hope, Devon's implants cause trouble when he launches own record label. Harmony and Tucker team up to get him an experimental surgery that could completely restore his hearing. With the support of his family, Devon gets another surgery, though experimental that can potentially restore his hearing, fully. On April 11, 2012, Devon has his new implants turned on, his hearing is fully repaired. James revealed that Devon's most recent surgery to restore his hearing was actually inspired by real life advances in cochlear implants. His co-star, Eileen Davidson, whom at the time played his stepmother, Ashley Abbott, brought the information to James's attention, who presented the information to Maria Arena Bell. The advances were eventually incorporated into the show. Of the decision to incorporate the real life medical advancements into the story James said, "For it come to fruition and for me to play someone going through is very humbling."
Upon Jeanne Cooper's death in May 2013, and the announcement that the beloved Katherine Chancellor's death would also be acknowledge onscreen, many wondered who would benefit from Katherine's vast empire. Deanna Barnert concluded that Devon, would be the biggest winner considering that he is the only blood relative of Katherine's who is still a part of the canvas at the time of her death. With Katherine's sons, Brock and Tucker, and her granddaughter, Mackenzie off canvas, James admitted that most people over looked Devon upon Katherine's impending demise because it his connection to Katherine was still so new. Despite being unaware of any specific plans, James put his faith in the writers. In the September 23 issue of Soaps In Depth, James previewed that, with regards to Devon, there was quite a bit in store for the character and that fans wouldn't be disappointed. The magazine hinted that a gold digger intent on stealing Devon's inheritance could be in the character's future. However, James would not confirm or deny anything, but said he was open to the possibilities. Though Devon has no problem showering Roxanne with expensive gifts, he is caught off guard when she suddenly wants him to get a bigger place so they can move in together. However the money brings a new dynamic to the relationship, and also makes Devon question his girlfriend's motives. James told CBS Soaps In Depth that Devon feels guilty for accusing her and he doesn't believe Roxy is trying to take advantage of him, but he would have rather made such a big decision as a couple. James also revealed that Devon would face more obstacles then his romantic troubles. Devon has always been "down to earth," and some speculated that the money could change him. James revealed that because Devon is accustomed to dealing with huge life changes, the money would not change him too much. At the same time, Devon struggles to keep with the sudden changes, from Victor Newman (Eric Braeden) suddenly taking an interest in him, to Roxy wanting to move in, and Mason's schemes to suck up to Devon. James revealed that Devon's biggest challenge would be finding out what his passion is. The money brings so many possibilities for Devon, and he is a bit overwhelmed.
Relationship with Hilary
Actress Mishael Morgan who played the recently reformed Hilary Curtis revealed in the January 27, 2014 issue of CBS Soaps In Depth that Devon's interactions with Hilary would bring some excitement to his life.
Devon and Hilary grow closer after she exposes that Mason Wilder (Lamon Archey) –– Hilary's former accomplice in her plan to destroy the Winters family –– has stolen his identity. But, Hilary's impulsive kiss on her boss, Jack Abbott (Peter Bergman) sends Devon into the arms of model, Esmeralda (Briana Nicole Henry). According to head writer Jean Passanante, "Esmeralda is unabashedly attracted to Devon's money, perhaps as much as she is to Devon himself." However, after witnessing her kiss with Jack, Devon sees any potential future with Hilary as a "missed opportunity." Head writer, Shelly Altman maintained that even though it seems they're moving apart, they do share a mutual and "definite attraction," despite the fact that they're both in "denial." If Devon and Hilary are to have any future, "they'll need to get around a very surprising obstacle!" said Altman.
Devon is born on February 7, 1988 in Genoa City, Wisconsin to Yolanda Hamilton. Yolanda who is very young when she gets pregnant is barely able to care for Devon. Yolanda turns to drugs and when Devon is six years old, she suffers an overdose and Devon is taken away to live his grandmother. At the time, Devon's grandmother is the only one he can depend on and he has fond memories of her up until her death. Devon later reconnects with Yolanda but due to her addiction, he is forced to take care of himself. Devon begins acting out and is even arrested for assaulting a guy who teases him about his mother being a drug addict. Devon grows up believing his father is some random guy from the neighborhood who gets Yolanda pregnant and later rejects her. The man who Devon thinks is his father later dies and Devon never gets the chance to actually meet him.
Introduced as a juvenile delinquent, a homeless Devon is taken in and is officially adopted by the Winters family in December 2006. Dru sympathizes with Devon because as she was one a teenage runaway. Devon develops unrequited feelings for Lily, unaware that her friend, Sierra Hoffman (Asia Smith) has a crush on him. Devon nearly dies from meningitis and is left completely deaf. He later gets a cochlear implant. In 2006, Devon is arrested for Carmen Mesta (Marisa Ramirez)'s murder. Fortunately, he is exonerated when the real killer is revealed. Devon's happiness short lived when Dru is presumed dead in 2007. He later begins dating Lily's friend, Roxanne. In 2008, he meets Tyra for the first time and learns that Tyra's daughter, Ana is actually his biological half-sister, also abandoned by Yolanda (Chene Lawson). In May 2009, Devon reunites with his great aunt Virginia who reveals that his biological father never knew he existed, and that Tyra is adopted. After Neil's affair with Tyra destroys his most recent marriage, Devon begins to hate Tyra. However, Devon realizes he is attracted to her, and they end up sleeping together after a fight. Roxanne initially breaks up with him, but they eventually reconcile. Though Devon goes to college for music, he and Neil clash over his career path when he takes a job as photographer's assistant to support his career.
In 2010, Devon and Noah Newman (Luke Kleintank) get a record deal with Resurrection Music. However, Noah abandons the project for another gig. When Devon's second chance with Resurrection ends in Tucker firing him, Katherine launches her own label, and puts Devon in charge. Devon is furious to discover that Katherine had been hiding their connection to hurt Tucker. Though he initially wants nothing to do with Tucker or Katherine, they eventually reconcile. Tucker and Harmony (Yolanda) help Devon get surgery to restore his hearing completely. Meanwhile, Abby Newman funds Devon's label, and he later signs Angelina Veneziano (Diana DeGarmo). However, Devon's success is short lived because Angelina leaves town. Devon goes to work at Jabot Cosmetics. Devon later takes a marketing job with Resurrection, but he quits because he does not want to relocate to London. When Lily steps down at Jabot, Devon takes her place and clashes with Tyler Michaelson (Redaric Williams) due to his romantic feelings for Lily. Devon is devastated when Katherine passes and regrets how long he stayed with her, but is shocked when he inherits half of her estate, amounting in nearly 2.5 billion dollars. Devon is temporarily forced into hiding due to the media, and later offers a million dollar reward for Cordelia Abbott's killer. Devon struggles with his new fortune, and his paranoia leads to Roxy leaving him. Devon suddenly befriends Mason Wilder (Lamon Archey) and soon lets his guard down with Hilary Curtis (Mishael Morgan), despite their recent schemes to hurt his family. However, Hilary constantly warns Devon that Mason is trouble, though he refuses to believe her. In December 2013, Devon is arrested in connection with a crime in Las Vegas and he realizes someone has stolen his identity. Neil's girlfriend, Leslie Michaelson (Angell Conwell) arranges for his release, and Hilary defends him against a ruthless photographer. Devon and Hilary spend Christmas Eve together when he is unable to attend the candle light ceremony at Chancellor Park due to paparazzi. Devon later confronts Mason after Hilary tips him off about Mason stealing his identity. Devon later buys The Genoa City Athletic Club when it goes up for sale and hires Cane and Lily to help him run it. When it is revealed that Adam Newman (Michael Muhney), the founder of The Delia Project was behind Delia's hit and run, Devon returns Adam's donation, and doubles the initial donation to make her mother, Chloe Mitchell (Elizabeth Hendrickson) more comfortable. Despite Hilary claiming she just wants to be friends, she gets jealous when Devon hooks up with model, Esmeralda (Briana Nicole Henry) after they just meet at a the Valentine's Day gala. When the guest are taken hostage at the gala during a diamond heist, Devon trips the silent alarm. Fortunately the hostages are released, and Hilary and Devon grow closer after the ordeal.
Devon is often criticized for being so overprotective, and Soap Opera Digest said that at times it is "uncomfortable" to watch. Bryton James on the other hand been received praise for his portrayal of Devon overall. Bryton was nominated for the Daytime Emmy in the Outstanding Younger Actor category 5 times from 2006 to 2009, and once again in 2013. For his 2009 Emmy nomination, James submitted the scenes of Devon's reaction to losing his little sister, Ana to the foster care system, after interference from his biological mother. Bryton's portrayal of Devon has also garnered him several NAACP Image Award nominations for Outstanding Actor in a Daytime Drama Series, from 2005 to 2009. James won the award in 2009. Jillian Bowe described Bryton as "woefully-underused" when the actor was cast in the prime time series, The Vampire Diaries due to his lack of storyline on Y&R.
He won his first and only Emmy Award in 2007 for his portrayal of Devon during the hearing loss storyline. Despite some thinking the characters picked up sign language too quickly, Bionic Ear experts praised the storyline and James for his portrayal. The storyline also led to increased interests in cochlear implants and provided hope for those dealing with hearing loss. James also thanks and praise from viewers thanking him for his portrayal of Devon's situation. James earned his fifth Emmy nomination in the Outstanding Young Actor category in 2013, for his portrayal of Devon during the scenes where Devon's hearing is completely restored after a new cochlear implant.
Affair with Tyra
Despite fans being very vocal about their disapproval two months before Devon and Tyra's one-night-stand, the storyline progressed. The storyline was compared to fellow CBS soap, Guiding Light's incest storyline in which first cousins, Tammy Winslow (Stephanie Gatschet) and Jonathan Randall (Tom Pelphrey) fall in love and marry. Ironically, Tammy is killed off just days after their wedding. TV Guide listed Devon and Tyra's one-night-stand as the "WORST AFFAIR" of 2009. Naomi Rabinowitz of Soap Opera Digest also disapproved of the storyline and described the dynamic between Tyra and Devon as "creepy." At the time of the affair, Tyra and Devon are so interconnected, as she is the adoptive mother of his sister, and his father's girlfriend. Despite no biological connection, Devon had only ever known her as his aunt. On the other hand, while Lauren Flynn agreed that the plot was a turn off to viewers due to their relation, Flynn argued that the tryst was a "welcome twist" to an otherwise lackluster storyline. However, Flynn liked that the storyline gave Devon something to do instead of serve as a talk to for his adoptive sister, Lily. Jamey Giddens who immediately disapproved of the storyline agreed to wait until after the storyline played out and said the plot was "ridiculous," due to their attraction coming out of nowhere. Bryton also wished he could change that storyline because it made Devon look like a hypocrite when he comes down on his biological parents for having an affair, despite Tucker being married. Fans tend to hold Devon's affair with Tyra against the character because of how judgmental he is.
The series was applauded for catching up with the "current times" by making Devon the biracial grandson of one the show's core character. Yahoo! TV ranks the storyline as the best reveal of 2011 as it provides Stephen Nichols with a front burner storyline, which he hadn't had since his shocking introduction as Katherine's long-lost son in early 2010. Wordwiley compliments the series for writing Devon, a character the audience already knows quite well, as Tucker's son as apposed to bringing in a new actor. The article also notes the dynamic between Katherine, Tucker, Devon and Harmony was rich with potential story. Yahoo! TV included the character of Devon, along with the other young characters as the future of The Young and the Restless. Carolyn Hinsey said Nichols's Tucker was not a strong enough character to hang such a heavy story one. Naomi Rabinowitz appreciated that the plot cemented both Tucker and Devon to the canvas, and that it made for an interesting dynamic pitting Neil vs. Tucker, but disapproved of the constant rewriting of Katherine's history. Sara Bibel praised the storyline because it allowed James to showcase his talent, and it provided the very underused character with a storyline, and described the plot twist as a "juicy way of defining" the character. However, Bibel did not appreciate how the twist was executed.
Sara Bibel described referred to the plot twist as a "doozy." Bibel praised the twist because "trasforming" Devon without having to make him act "out of character." Boone of Soap Central said "I'm kind of curious to know what Devon's role will be in the future." However, the column also said that Devon has never been a leading character. Others were completely dumbfounded by the twist and said it didn't make any sense. Sara Bibel appreciated that the storyline was the most upbeat of the storylines on the series, but disapproved of Devon's need to maintain his normal way of life; "God forbid we should get to see someone having fun even though aspirational, wish-fulfillment storylines are a daytime staple," Bibel said. Bibel later criticized how instead of having some fun, pursuing his own dreams, or a new business venture, Devon reacts to his inheritance "by feeling guilty about unearned wealth despite being surrounded by people with trust funds." CBS Soaps In Depth also criticized the writing for Devon's reaction due to the money bringing him more misery then happiness. ABC Soaps In Depth said of Devon becoming the go-to-guy for money, "Why are the numerous rich folks of Genoa City treating The Young and the Restless' Devon like their own personal piggybank?"
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- About Y&R: Who's Who in Genoa City. "Devon Hamilton". Soap Central.