‘The Young and the Restless’: Mary Williams Was One of the Funniest, Most Annoying Characters Fans Can’t Get Enough Of

Moms have a way of turning a relationship on its head, and no TV mom could do it as well as Mary Williams. Played by Carolyn Conwell on The Young and the Restless for nearly two decades, she was an unforgettable character who always spoke her mind. 

That was never more clear than when she crashed Christine Blair’s wedding shower. Fans both new and old were in for a treat when CBS replayed this episode. Soon after, Twitter lit up with fans reacting to the show.

Michael Damian and Carolyn Conwell smiling looking away from the camera
Michael Damian and Carolyn Conwell | Ron Galella/Getty Images

Who is the notorious Mary Williams?

Mary Williams created waves everywhere she went. She was probably best known as bad-boy Paul Williams’ mother. Mary had a way of snooping into Paul’s relationships, and making his girlfriends miserable. 

According to Soaps in Depth, Mary tended to float in and out of the show. She was more of a recurring character than a series regular, but she was quick to make her presence known. Whether it was lecturing everyone within hearing or trying to wreck her son’s marriage, Mary was definitely remembered everywhere she went.

What happened at the wedding shower?

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Things start off well enough, until Christine ignores Paul’s warning not to invite his mother. Paul questions if it’s a good idea since it’s a lingerie party, and Christine said, “Come on, Paul, your mother’s not that big of a prude.” Clearly she should have spent some more time with Mary, because she didn’t know her well at all.

Thankfully, Mary wasn’t planning to come. That was what she said, at least. Everyone at the shower was horrified when Mary showed up and they were unsure of how to act. Mary pursed her lips as she watched her future daughter-in-law opening lingerie, and some of Christine’s panicked friends pleaded with her not to open their gifts in front of Mary. 

Rather than leave as was suggested, Mary assured everyone that she was just fine with the party, and to keep going. That’s when Lauren, who had no idea Mary was there, came down the stairs modeling some lingerie. When Lauren realized who was amongst her audience, she fled back up the stairs.

Paul later asked Christine about how the party went, and more importantly, how his mother took it. Christine assured him that while Mary displayed her icy disapproval, she didn’t cause a scene. While that might be true, the look on her face said more than her words ever could.

Fans still love Mary Williams

Tragically Carolyn Conwell passed away on October 22, 2012 according to Soap Central. Conwell hadn’t played Mary Williams since 2004, but she left a lasting impression, and fans are still crazy about the character she played.

The wedding shower episode brought back a lot of fond memories for long-standing viewers of The Young and the Restless. For newer fans who had heard Mary’s name mentioned, but never had a face to put with it finally got to see first hand what all the talk was about.

The reactions seemed to range from eye rolls to laughing about Mary’s reaction. One fan on Twitter stated, “Got too naughty for Mary LOL!!” Someone else commented, “I haven’t seen this woman’s face in 3 decades and my first reaction was STILL to roll my eyes. (those were the days)”

Another fan said, “Oh I just loved the look on Mary Williams face when she walked in on a bunch of raunchy women at Christine’s bridal shower and especially when Lauren came down the stairs half naked wearing skimpy lingerie.”

Even 30 plus years later, Mary Williams is still entertaining fans. Her son Paul is probably still cringing at the memory of things she’s done, but her fans miss her.