The Young and the Restless: why Billy Miller has been the best Billy Abbott

 Billy Miller playing Billy Abbott in The Young and the Restless.
Billy Miller playing Billy Abbott in The Young and the Restless.

Soap fans everywhere were disheartened to hear over the weekend that Billy Miller passed away at the age of 43. The actor was a gem of daytime television, having played Billy Abbott in The Young and the Restless (2008-1014) and Drew Cain in General Hospital (2014-2019).

Looking specifically at his time on The Young and the Restless, the actor instantly won over viewers and critics portraying the complicated Billy Abbott, winning three Daytime Emmys for his work — and with good reason. Miller's Billy Abbott is without question our favorite version of the character. We'd argue he left an imprint on the role that makes it nearly impossible for anyone to truly surpass.

Here's why.

When Miller's Billy Abbott surfaced in Genoa City, he was an adult who was back in town after previously being sent to Hong Kong by Jack (Peter Bergman) following a gambling addiction. The character was no longer just this spoiled brat of the late John Abbott, but he was more layered and complex. He was on a quest to prove himself as an adult, but somehow, always went about it the wrong way. Not to mention, he made his fair share of reckless decisions.

To refresh your memory, Billy was expecting a baby with Chloe (Elizabeth Hendrickson), was at war was his thought-to-be half-brother Cane (Daniel Goddard), was angry with his mother Jill (Jess Walton) and had an affair with Jack's then-wife Sharon (Sharon Case). Playing such a chaotic character yet making him endearing to fans is no easy feat. It required a talent that Miller clearly had, and The Young and The Restless was better off for it.

We haven't even touched on the dynamic between Miller and soap legend, Eric Braeden, who plays the iconic Victor. Every time Victor uttered "Billy boy Abbott," viewers knew they would get a verbal duel between Billy and The Mustache that almost rivaled the sparring between Jack and Victor. Not many people could say they've held their own with Braeden in a scene in The Young and the Restless.

With all that said, perhaps the best aspect of Miller's time on the soap was the on-screen chemistry he shared with Amelia Heinle. The duo's pairing as Billy and Victoria made many longtime viewers believe in the two as a power couple, despite the characters' initial dislike of each other.

She helped anchor Billy's impulsive desires (in many respects) and he helped thaw out the notorious ice queen. Even with their families, really the Newmans, trying to tear them apart, Billy and Victoria always found themselves drawn to each other, captured in the magic of Miller's acting opposite Heinle. Take a look at a brief highlight reel of what we'd now call a legacy couple.

As soap fans continue to mourn the loss of Miller, we hope they will also join us in celebrating his amazing contributions to daytime TV.