Terry Lester (April 13, 1950 – November 28, 2003) was an American Actor. He was best known to soap opera audiences as the original Jack Abbott on the CBS soap The Young and The Restless from 1980-1989. He appeared as a frequent celebrity guest on both The (New) $25,000 Pyramid and The $100,000 Pyramid.
Lester was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. He graduated from high school at Southport High School and soon began pursuing an acting career while at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana in musical theater, concert performances, along with numerous primetime TV guest roles. He starred in the 1976 children's series Ark II, followed with roles in Airport 1975 and the 1978 Kiss movie Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park.
It wasn't until 1980 when he landed his big break. He joined the CBS daytime soap The Young and the Restless, originating the role of Jack Abbott, a scoundrel who never met a woman (including his own father's wife) he didn't want to take to bed. Lester became so popular with soap opera audiences that Y&R creator William J. Bell wrote an entire family for him. The series was going through a transition period which many fans believed his star quality helped the show build more viewership rising to #1 in daytime soap ratings.
In spite of his popularity and numerous Daytime Emmy nominations, by the end of the decade, Lester felt his role on the show was steadily declining. In 1989, he not only walked off the show but he also took the rare step of going to the daytime press and publicly singling out Bill Bell's young daughter, Lauralee Bell (who plays Christine Blair Williams), for his dwindling role. He felt the excess airtime given to her came at the expense of both himself and other actors. Lester was replaced by Peter Bergman, who continues in the role of Jack Abbott to this date.
Terry switched over to NBC to take over the role of Mason Capwell on Santa Barbara for one year. In November 1992, he jumped back to CBS as he joined As the World Turns, playing the role of charming Royce Keller, who was soon revealed to be suffering from multiple personalities which caused him to kill his own sister in the series. The role was complex, causing raves for Lester, but the headwriter behind the story, Douglas Marland, died suddenly in 1993 and Lester once again found his screentime diminishing, leaving the series in May 1994.
The remainder of his professional life consisted of appearances in primetime shows such as Walker, Texas Ranger and Star Trek: Voyager along with various tours in musicals and plays.
A 2003 LA Magazine article reported that Lester, Thom Bierdz and Michael Corbett- three stars of The Young and the Restless in the 1980s, were gay. Later that year, he died in his home of multiple heart attacks.