Jess Walton (born February 18, 1949) is an Emmy Award-winning American actress.
Born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Walton left home at the age of 17, and joined a Toronto theater company. In 1969, she moved to Hollywood, and became part of the music and arts crowd there.
Walton briefly dated one of the managers for Joni Mitchell and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, and for a time, she associated with them and other musicians, including Laura Nyro and Neil Young.
In the 1970s, after signing with Universal Studios, she guest-starred on Kojak as a high-priced call girl. She also appeared on The FBI and in the motorcycle movie The Peace Killers.
In 1980, Walton entered rehabilitation after coming to terms with a drug and alcohol addiction.
After her recovery, she portrayed the role of Kelly Harper on the soap opera Capitol, until the show was canceled in 1987.
Walton is best known for her portrayal of Jill Foster Abbott on The Young and the Restless. She assumed the role in 1987, after prior portrayer Brenda Dickson left after an acrimonious fallout with producers.
She is the fourth actress to play the part on a contract basis. Walton has been lauded for her portrayal of Jill, and is the only actress to win an Emmy Award for her work as Jill Foster Abbott. To date Walton has won two Emmys for her work on The Young and the Restless.
Walton is married to John James, a renowned author and grief counselor.
In an interview, Walton admitted that "before (James), I had always gone for bohemian, rock and roll types. John didn't fit the image; he was straighter." The couple have a son born in 1981.