J. Eddie Peck returns to The Young and the Restless after a decades-long absence

Posted Monday, November 27, 2023 6:21:02 PM
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J. Eddie Peck is back as The Young and the Restless' Cole Howard more than two decades after exiting the role - even though he had just dispelled a rumor about his return to the CBS soap!

Last week, The Young and the Restless fans saw J. Eddie Peck reprise his role as Cole Howard after he exited the show in 1999. However, the rumors of the actor's return began to swirl even before he was approached by the show with an offer. When the unsubstantiated rumors first surfaced on social media, Peck was forced to clarify to his fans that they weren't true, but he thanked his fans for their support. "It's just a rumor," Peck assured everyone at the time.

Fast-forward a little over a week later, and Peck was enjoying a coffee on the patio with his wife Sonya Zaza when his phone rang. One glance at the number, and he realized that it was Y&R's office, so he answered the call. He quickly learned from casting that an email had been sent to him the previous day, asking if he would be interested in returning as Cole Howard, but the email had ended up in his spam folder. Peck didn't hesitate to accept the offer, but he admitted that the irony of the inquiry had left him laughing and crying at the same time. "Here I had been discounting the rumors and now I was being asked to come back!" Peck told Digest.

Admittedly, Peck knew very little of the storyline details, but he was elated by the opportunity. "I love the daytime medium," he said. Peck explained that he loves soaps because of the family atmosphere with the cast and crew, but also with the audience. "Even though I've been gone for all of these years, I still watch the show just to see my old friends working and thriving, whether they're actors or directors, writers, producers or cameramen. I'm just so happy that they've been able to have these long careers in the best medium there is," the actor shared.

According to Peck, his wife asked if he would be able to memorize the heavy loads of dialogue, but he assured her that it wasn't a deterrent for him. "I was a corporate executive in my 50s and I have no doubt that my brain is sharper now than it's ever been in my life, even my college years, because I created a company that had a lot of moving parts and you just really have to be on your game mentally. As a matter of fact, I think that I'm a more well-rounded person in my later years," he said.

Cole Howard wasn't Peck's only daytime role. After exiting Y&R, he was cast as Dr. Jake Martin on All My Children in 2000, and he remained in the role until June 2003. He went on to appear in the television series Kyle XY and two movies: Mexican Gold and Divorce Texas Style. Despite his daytime career, his sons Austin, 33, and Dalton, 29, were not allowed to watch their father's work on Y&R and AMC, so they are both excited to see their dad in action now. "I'm a little surprised how excited they are," Peck revealed.

Peck's return to the Y&R set was well received but a bit of a shock. Eric Braeden (Victor Newman) was so surprised that his mouth dropped open when he saw Peck, but Braeden had nothing but kind words. Peck was equally touched by Melody Thomas Scott's (Nikki Newman) reaction because she had always been "such a wonderful, warm-hearted person and friend" to him. The actor also reunited with Amelia Heinle (Victoria Newman) whom he first met on the set of AMC when she played Mia Saunders, Jake Martin's ex-fiancée. "We had an instant chemistry and friendship. I really look forward to working with Amelia again," Peck said.

As for Cole, Peck explained that despite being away for years, Cole was the same as he always was. "He's still a good guy with a very soft spot for the people who he cares about in his life," Peck explained. The actor revealed that he hadn't been given a lot of backstory about Cole's time away from Genoa City, but Peck's own vision of Cole's life appears to be in line with what he is discovering about his character as the story unfolds. Peck explains that Cole is a very deep, sensitive sort of person, but he has a lot of backbone.

Peck shared that Bill Bell (Co-Creator/Former Head Writer) saw Cole as a salt-of-the-earth guy, which aligned with Peck's vision of Cole. Whatever the writers have in store for Cole, the actor was ready for the ride. "I guarantee I'm having more fun than probably anyone else," the actor concluded.

Would you like for J. Eddie Peck to stick around as Cole Howard? We want to hear from you -- so drop your comments in the Comments section below, tweet about it on Twitter, share it on Facebook, or chat about it on our Message Boards.

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