Maura West as Diane Jenkins
|The Young and the Restless character|
|First appearance||May 1982|
|Last appearance||August 5, 2011|
|Created by||William J. Bell|
Alex Donnelley as Diane Jenkins
Susan Walters as Diane Jenkins
Diane Jenkins is a fictional character from the American CBS soap opera The Young and the Restless. The role was first portrayed by Alex Donnelley, who debuted in 1982. Diane was initially a two-day bit role, but was developed into a long-term character. Donnelley left the role two years later; returning briefly in 1986 before returning to the role fully in 1996. In 2001, Donnelley left again in what was supposed to be a storyline-dictated departure, however, the role was later recast with Susan Walters. After three years in the role, Walters chose to drop to recurring status in 2004, but wasn't seen again until a brief guest appearance in February 2010. Seven months later, the role was recast a second time with Maura West, who took over in October.
Diane has had relationships with business tycoons Jack Abbott (Peter Bergman) and Victor Newman (Eric Braeden). Diane has a son with Jack, Kyle Abbott (Lachlan Buchanan, Michael Mealor), who was initially supposed to be Victor's son before his sperm sample was switched. Donnelley described Diane as "taking herself much too seriously", while Walters criticized the character for existing solely to advance another character's storyline. Former head writer Maria Arena Bell was heavily criticized for the writing for West; Zap2it said Bell missed an opportunity to focus on Diane's rivalry with Jack. In 2011, within eight months of joining the cast, West was let go and the character was killed off two months later in a whodunit murder storyline. The storyline also was harshly criticized for progressing too slowly, as it was a six-month period before the revelation that Nikki Newman (Melody Thomas Scott) killed Diane in self-defense.
Casting and creation
A guest appearance Donnelley made on Simon & Simon attracted the attention of the series' casting department, and she was eventually cast in the intended short-term role of Diane. The role was later expanded and Donnelley signed a three-year contract. In 1984, Donnelley left the role to pursue a career in episodic television and in feature films, but returned for a brief guest appearance in 1986. In 1996, Donnelley returned to the role fully, remaining for an additional five years until it was announced that she would exit in a storyline dictated departure during the February sweeps period of 2001. After her onscreen departure, Donnelley was officially let go from the soap but was said to possibly return at a later date. Instead, the role was recast with Walters due to the writers wanting to take the character in a different direction. Donnelley commented that it was disappointing not to be returning to the role. In 2004, Walters opted not to renew her contract and was bumped to recurring status. She explained that she wasn't ruling out a possible return in the future. However, she wanted the character to have a storyline of her own rather than existing for the sole purpose of advancing another character's story. After nearly six years off-screen, Walters reprised the role in a two-episode guest appearance in February 2010.
In August, seven months later, it was announced that West would take over the role. West said the character had potential and was interesting. In May 2011, eight months after joining the cast, West was let go from the role and exited onscreen in August as part of a whodunit murder storyline.
Calculating that dating Jack Abbott would help her become a top model at Jabot, Diane Jenkins decided to start sleeping with him and fell in love with him, but Jack left her when he decided to marry Patty Williams as a way to show his father that he is a grown man. Despite that, Jack was late to his own wedding because he was sleeping with Diane. Diane and Jack continued their affair, and she was able to blackmail her way into becoming Jabot's top model. Jack, however, was more interested in having Julia Newman be Jabot's top model. When Diane learned this, she heightened her affair with Jack. Later, Patty miscarried upon seeing Jack and Diane making love in the Jabot headquarters lobby. Nonetheless, Patty wanted to continue her marriage to Jack just out of spite to Diane. After Patty's miscarriage, she wanted to have another baby and to move out of the Abbott Mansion and into their own house. Soon after, Jack spoke with former romance and current stepmother, Jill Abbott, about the real reason why he married Patty. Patty eventually found out and shot Jack. Jack lived, and Patty was sent to a mental facility. They later divorced.
Diane came to the conclusion that Jack isn't worth her time and focused on a new love, a detective named Andy Richards. Andy worked alongside Paul Williams, Patty's brother. The couple married and led an uneventful life, which led Diane to begin another affair with Jack. Later, Diane heard that Jack was going to give her a gift, which she had hoped was an engagement ring. Clearly, Jack had changed, so she asked Andy for a divorce and was looking forward to being with Jack, only to learn, that the gift was a bracelet, which was his way of saying he would be unable to commit to her. Disappointed, Diane left to Europe, but even there she couldn't rest. She figured out that she loved Andy, so she returned to town only to find Andy happy with Farren Connor. She left town again.
Ten years later and now working as an architect, Diane returned to Genoa City a free woman. She began working for Jack again, leaving their families to worry that they might hook up again. Diane and Jack admitted their feelings for each other and got engaged. Jack's nemesis Victor Newman hatched a plan to steal Diane away from Jack as a way of getting revenge, but he fell for Diane. The couple got married and started living a good life until Diane decided to have a baby. She was bitterly disappointed to learn that Victor had a vasectomy suggested by his former wife, Nikki Newman. Nikki was shot by her husband's ex-wife, Veronica Landers, and was on her deathbed, so Victor divorced Diane in order to marry Nikki before she died. A twist of fate kept Nikki alive, while Diane was hoping that Victor would be able to remarry her. Victor and Nikki realized they still loved each other and decided to get married — because their quick marriage in the hospital wasn't legal. Diane didn't take this easily and decided to get revenge. At their divorce settlement in February 1999, Diane got a permanent board seat at Newman Enterprises.
Diane was taken by surprise when she learned Victor had his sperm frozen at Robertson Labs, so she arranged to get it in order to be artificially inseminated and carry Victor's child. Several people found out about it, and the sperm was stolen and transferred various times. When Diane finally got her hands on it again, she rushed to the doctor to be inseminated. Diane gave birth to a boy and named him Christian Victor Newman. She told Victor that the baby was his child. A DNA test proved that the baby wasn't Victor's, and Diane left town not long after. What Diane didn't know was that Nikki asked to switch Victor's sample with another, and she was shocked to learn that it was Jack’s. Keen on finding out if Diane was a good mother, Nikki tracked her down in Milan and went to see her. She decided to keep quiet about the baby's paternity.
Diane returned to town not long after that trying to find out why Nikki went to see her. She renamed the baby Kyle and eventually found out that Jack was the father. Jack, who at the time was married to Phyllis Abbott, sued for sole custody of the child but didn't get it after Phyllis ruined her testimony on the stand. Diane got custody of the baby but refused to stop there — she wanted Jack back. She moved into the Abbott pool house and started playing games with Phyllis. Jack made an agreement to let Diane stay at the pool house but forbade her to go near the main house. One night, the pool house was burned down with Diane barely surviving. Phyllis was the main suspect for arson, but she was able to eventually prove that Diane set it up to look like Phyllis wanted her dead. Jack and Phyllis were able to get custody of Kyle. Diane's life got a bit better when Andy returned to Genoa City, and they started dating again, but he left not long after he arrived. Diane broke any attachment to Jabot, and Jack decided to give her Kyle back. She started working on a project for Newman with Drucilla Winters, but the project didn't last long. Diane then left to live in Chicago with her son.
In late February 2010, Diane returned to town to visit Jack with their son Kyle Jenkins Abbott as a surprise arranged by Jack's new wife Dr. Emily Peterson (Stacy Haiduk) as a wedding gift. In the process of her return, Diane had a run-in with her longtime nemesis Phyllis and unknown to Diane, as well as everyone, she also came face to face with Jack's first wife Patty Williams (Haiduk), who was posing as Emily, after causing her to be hospitalized and unconscious.
Diane returned to Genoa City in October 2010, admitted to Jack that she returned to town because of their son, Kyle (Garrett Ryan). Diane admitted that she hoped that Jack and Kyle could connect as father and son, revealing her intentions of moving back to town, leaving Toronto permanently. After sleeping with Tucker McCall (Stephen Nichols), McCall refuses to hire Diane due to an article published by Restless Style Magazine, owned by her rival Phyllis. Diane soon begins a romantic relationship with Nicholas Newman (Joshua Morrow), which is cut short due to Victor's jealousy. After being hired by Victor to do some work on The Newman Ranch, the pair in a mutually beneficial relationship.
The marriage fails to last when Victor rediscovers his love for Nikki, ending the marriage in an annulment. Consumed with robbing Victor of all he's worth, Diane schemes up a plan with Victor's son Adam Newman (Michael Muhney) to fake a pregnancy. However, when Victor discovers the scheme is a sham, he throws Diane out of the ambulance. Diane turns her attentions back to Jack for help, but after a night of passion, Jack refuses to let Diane back into his life in a romantic capacity. Determined to escape town, Diane purchases Kyle a fake passport to send him to Switzerland under the alias Timothy Bilton and with the help of Adam would escape town and join him there.
On the night she was expected to leave, Diane tried extorting Victor into giving her money for a tape that showed Abby Newman (Marcy Rylan) responsible for an accident which caused Tucker to land in the hospital for several months in a coma. When her attempt to extort Victor failed, she took her efforts to Ashley. Diane then confessed to having slept with Tucker, leading Ashley to slap her straight across the face. Diane then sends a mass text message to everyone who had wronged her: Abby, Ashley, Jack, Nicholas, Phyllis, Tucker and Victor. The morning after, Diane's dead body is discovered in the lake in the park by Patrick Murphy (Michael Fairman). Diane's death leads to a prolonged investigation.
In January 2012, more evidence is brought to the attention of Ronan Malloy (Jeff Branson), indicating Nikki Newman killed Diane Jenkins in self-defense. However, further video evidence shows that it was Nikki's then-husband Deacon Sharpe (Sean Kanan) who delivered the fatal blow from a rock to Diane's head, finally resolving the death investigation of Diane Jenkins.
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