“The Young and the Restless” paid tribute to long-time cast member Kristoff St. John Friday, in a short segment that left many viewers feeling short-changed.
St. John was pronounced dead at a home in Woodland Hills on Sunday. He was 52. His cause of death has been deferred “pending additional investigation” after an autopsy was completed Monday, according to the coroner’s official website.
The tribute, at the end of Friday’s airing, began with the footage of St. John, who had played Neil Winters since 1991, speaking to the significance of the long-running soap.
“It feels like a real accomplishment,” St. John said. “I’ve been a part of something that will somehow be in a time capsule… and I’m part of that? Yeah, I’m one of the brothas on ‘The Young and the Restless,’ I’m one of the sons. I’m one of the family members. I was there. Yeah, man, Neil Winters was an integral part.”
After a brief montage of St. John’s time on the show, the actor returned to the screen.
“Thank you for sharing in this adventure,” he said, “this mighty ship that has sailed for so long. I love you.”
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The tribute, which lasted about a minute, ended with an image of St. John with text that read: “In loving memory of our dear friend.”
Some on Twitter were confused, expecting more of the show to be devoted to St. John.
The official Twitter account for “Y&R” had tweeted Tuesday: “To honor Kristoff St. John, #YR will air a special tribute to him during the show on Friday, Feb. 8.”
“I thought this was a #KristoffStJohn tribute episode… Or did I miss it….” a member of the Twitterverse shared.
“I thought #YR was doing a tribute to Kristoff St. John today?” another confused user asked.
Others felt more enraged than perplexed.
“This tribute was 1min 30 secs long,” a user vented. “You all are disrespectful and disgusting. I can’t wait for this show to get canned!!!”
“Wait. After 20 years that’s all the tribute CBS could muster up?” a person wondered. “That’s (sic) was just as sad as his death. RIP Kristoff St. John”
“1 minute of Kristoff after a whole episode of Rosales drama,” a user tweeted. “#YR you’re trying me TODAY!”
“Not impressed at all,” another post read. “They didn’t even have him in the opening montage! Hopefully they’ll give him a proper memorial on the show!”
“Idk what @CBSDaytime time was thinking,” remarked a user. “That tribute to Kristoff St. John (Neil Winters) sucked. I was expecting a lot more than that. Very disappointed.”
However, not all were offended by the segment.
“I love the tribute they just did for Kristoff St. John aka Neil,” a user wrote. “Rest Easy now ur bk with ur son” (St. John’s son Julian died of an apparent suicide in 2014.)
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“That tribute to #KristoffStJohn on @YandR_CBS was heartbreaking,” another commented. “He will be so missed.”
“#YR wow that was an awesome way to end the show, bittersweet, fitting, whatever you want to call it,” a person complimented. “Goodbye #KristoffStJohn #NeilWinters Rest in Peace”
“Thank You @YandR_CBS for that nice mini-tribute to #KristoffStJohn, Neal (sic),” a user expressed. “So sweet for such a sad ending. Hopefully, now, he will find peace in passing. He will be missed by his fans.”
“@YandR_CBS your closing tribute to #KristoffStJohn AKA #NeilWinters has me in tears,” another revealed. “Wow!”
St. John’s last episode of “Y&R” aired Wednesday and depicted him as as a family man supporting his adopted son, Devon Hamilton Winters played by Bryton James. A representative for CBS told USA TODAY that “Y&R will feature a storyline that pays tribute to both Kristoff and his character” beginning in late April.
“It’s your big night. I wouldn’t miss it, man,” Winters told his music executive son promoting an exclusive performance Wednesday.
“I’m proud of you, and I’m really glad I’m here to witness this next triumph in your life,” he said.
The episode gutted many viewers who took their pain to Twitter.
“So heartbreaking and sad to know that this is going to be the last time that Neil and Kristoff St. John is on the show,” one fan wrote. “I still can’t believe it.”
CBS announced late Thursday that the show isn’t done honoring St. John’s character.
” ‘The Young and the Restless’ will forever value the legacy of Kristoff St. John,” a representative for CBS told USA TODAY, adding that “Y&R will feature a storyline that pays tribute to both Kristoff and his character” beginning in late April.
Following his death, St. John’s co-stars and fellow celebs also mourned him on social media.
In a since-deleted Instagram post, his fiancee Kseniya Mikhaleva shared a photo of the two and all of the questions swirling in her mind.
“How did it happen ??? How ??? Why did you leave so early ???? and left me alone …..” she captioned the image. “I can’t believe 💔💔💔💔 you were everything to me …. you were a loving father, a loving man,…..how 😢😢😢😭😭😭😭💔💔💔💔 love??we should doing a lot of things in future……”
Contributing: Anika Reed, Leora Arnowitz and Julia Thompson
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