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Soap Star Marks 'Y&R' Milestone

Anyone who's watched "The Young & The Restless" knows Nikki will always find a way to triumph. The same goes for the actress who plays her. Melody Thomas Scott has a stunning quarter of a century on the show, The Early Show national correspondent Hattie Kauffman reports.

She gets top billing because there couldn't be a Genoa City without Melody Thomas Scott as Nikki.

You think your life is tough? Over the years, Nikki's been rich and poor. She's been a stripper, the target of a psycho killer, a cult member, and of course - bride. In fact, she's been a bride nine times.

Thomas Scott says, "I believe that was the last Nikki-Victor wedding last year." Nikki has been married three times to Victor.

She says, "The first wedding gown actually was so promoted, that the gown itself went on a, a tour across the country. And it was in a museum."

Nikki's on-again, off-again love for Victor has stretched over two decades.

The actress explains, "With Victor, of course, she always thinks with her heart, instead of her head. Which is a good thing, because it's great for the story, and it's created the Victor-Niki super couple."

Actor Eric Braeden, who plays Victor Newman, says people stop him on the street to discuss it.

He says, "They want me to get back with her. I would say that happens rather frequently: When are you going to get back with Nikki?"

As for her injuries, even Thomas Scott does not even know how many times Nikki has had amnesia. She has been in the hospital several times. The actress jokes, "Comas are great because you don't have any lines. You just lie there."

When the hours get long, Thomas Scott lives in her dressing room.

As she gives a tour, she says, "It used to be Cher's dressing room, back in the early days of CBS. Got a lot of magazine covers up on the wall. People like to see those. It's kind of a cavalcade of hairdos through the years."

In her downtime, she watches "I Love Lucy."

Continuing her dressing room tour, she notes, "My favorite area is, of course, my Lucy room. I'm quite a fan. I'm just a horrible, obnoxious fan."

"Y & R" is a family affair. Thomas Scott is married to the show's executive producer, Edward Scott.

Showing a photograph, she says with a smile, "Here's one of my favorite pictures of my two husbands, my real husband and my screen husband."

Rehearse it; shoot it. It's said soaps can be a grind for actors, but Thomas Scott loves the routine.

Fellow actor Peter Bergman, who plays Jack Abbott in the show, says, "It's hard to get one of these jobs, it's harder still to maintain the job. To keep a character interesting and creative and clever, Melody's an ace at that."

An actress from the age of 3, Thomas Scott has worked with many Hollywood legends. Over the years, she's had small parts in a number of films but has always come home to the set of "The Young & The Restless."

As she walks through the set of her house of 23 years, she says, "I notice if something's out of place, I say,'Hey, where's my porcelain pigs?' It's very strange, you really do start to think it's yours."

Looking back, she says she never imagined she would be standing there 25 years later. "Never in a million years. Never."

As long as Nikki is tough as nails, Melody Thomas Scott may be around for another quarter century.

Twenty-five years ago, the same week Thomas Scott landed her job on "The Young & The Restless," she also was offered a part in a sitcom pilot. It was a tough decision, but the soap star went with "Y&R" and never looked back. The sitcom? It didn't sell.